At 26 years old, Brandon Baltzley was poised for his star turn as the opening chef at Chicago's hotspot Tribute. People called him a prodigy - the Salvador Dali of cooking - and foodie blogs followed his every move. Instead, Brandon walked away from it all and entered rehab to deal with the alcohol and cocaine addiction that had enslaved him most of his adult life. Brandon grew up in the South with no father and an addict mother. At nine, he was prepping vegetables in the back of a gay bar. From there, he went on to deep-frying with Paula Deen to cooking in an array of Michelin-starred restaurants, including Grant Achatz's world-renowned Alinea.
In between, he was touring the country with his heavy metal band, Kylesa - and doing his first stint in rehab. Like Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Butter and Bones, Brandon's Nine Lives is about blazing a way out from a rough childhood through talent and an unbridled passion for the craft of cooking. A story that's still being written as Brandon works with Crux, the pop-up culinary collective he founded, and plans for the opening of his own restaurant, Nine Lives serves up a raw and riveting memoir about food, rock-and-roll, and redemption.
Would you listen to Nine Lives again? Why?
No, I couldn't go through the ups and downs of Brandon Baltzley's life again.
What other book might you compare Nine Lives to and why?
Dante's Inferno, it is a never-ending search through someone's personal hell while they seek to find themselves.
What does George Newbern bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
A voice, more so probably a little more optimism than I would have read it with.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
When you take the casino for every last dollar and walk away broke
Any additional comments?
This book is excellent especially for those of you who are in the food industry as well of those of you fighting addiction. As these things are often hand in hand. It will show you the epitome of gluttony and expanse of humility.
I liked this book. as a chef I can identify with the struggles each of us face. I get it, I'm myself only a 24 year old chef and I know all too well the struggles he faced it's just too bad it took him so long to get his life straightened out.
also just a pet peeve about the narrator, he prounounced stage wrong every time and me as a chef it drove me crazy