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Publisher's Summary

The back must slave to feed the belly.... In this urgent and unique book, chef Michael Gibney uses 24 hours to animate the intricate camaraderie and culinary choreography in an upscale New York restaurant kitchen. Here listeners will find all the details, in rapid-fire succession, of what it takes to deliver an exceptional plate of food - the journey to excellence by way of exhaustion.

Told in second-person narrative, Sous Chef is an immersive, adrenaline-fueled run that offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective on the food service industry, allowing listeners to briefly inhabit the hidden world behind the kitchen doors, in real time. This exhilarating account provides regular diners and food enthusiasts alike a detailed insider’s perspective, while offering fledgling professional cooks an honest picture of what the future holds, ultimately giving voice to the hard work and dedication around which chefs have built their careers.

In a kitchen where the highest standards are upheld and one misstep can result in disaster, Sous Chef conjures a greater appreciation for the thought, care, and focus that go into creating memorable and delicious fare. With grit, wit, and remarkable prose, Michael Gibney renders a beautiful and raw account of this demanding and sometimes overlooked profession, offering a nuanced perspective on the craft and art of food and service.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Michael Gibney (P)2014 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A terrific nuts-and-bolts account of the real business of cooking as told from the trenches. No nonsense. This is what it takes." (Anthony Bourdain)
"This is excellent writing - excellent! - and it is thrilling to see a debut author who has language and story and craft so well in hand. Though I would never ask my staff to read my own book, I would happily require them to read Michael Gibney’s." (Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones & Butter)
"Sous Chef is a marvelous, superbly written, intelligent, and accomplished book. I know no other book that so vividly renders the experience and complexity of life in a big restaurant kitchen. The sheer amount of knowledge demonstrated here of the particulars of cooking is immense, and the dynamic, seesaw relationship between chef and sous chef is especially well achieved. I was gripped by the author’s culinary passion and literary sophistication. Bravo!" (Phillip Lopate)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Delicious,fast paced, well written and performed

What made the experience of listening to Sous Chef the most enjoyable?

This story was non pretentious and believable. Even thrilling at times.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator. Most of the story is about him. he is an ordinary dude with passion for his extraordinary job.

What about Fred Berman’s performance did you like?

His passion and despair shine through in his voice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Nothing extreme. Just thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Cuisine vérité

What made the experience of listening to Sous Chef the most enjoyable?

For any home cook who has ever fantasized about doing it for a living, for anyone in the profession who enjoys seeing it honored, for anyone who thinks this is the life for them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sous Chef is one of my favorite literary meals

I have listened to this book so many times that my brain actually thinks I lived these 24 hours myself.

The writing is amazing. Michael Gibney has an extraordinary skill of taking the reader and allowing them to become him. One of my favorite passages is preparing the fluke for dinner service. I could feel the fish on my cutting board and part of me knew that if I had the right knife and a fluke in front of me I would portion it perfectly. His writing allows your brain to step into his skin and live a day as a sous chef.

The narration is nothing short of perfect. After initial introductions to each character the listener knows exactly who is speaking without names being needed because Fred Berman's range is incredible and distinct. Male/Female, South America, Bronx,Midwest, etc... he has them down.

Enjoyed this book the first time and still enjoyed it the 23rd time!


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Loved it!

This was a great book that provided a vivid picture of the restaurant world...behind the scenes. The narrator does a great job with this book as well.

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This is the blood and guts of the industry.

As a chef it's a warm comfort to read what happens in the industry a

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As a professional chef, this is spot on...

I am myself a professional chef. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this. It was like almost hearing a story of myself in the life of me. Michael did an amazing job with this book and is a must read for people in the business as well as people not. Would read a Nother book by am

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Awesome Peek Into The Work and Life of a Sous Chef

Well written, engaging journey through a typical day for a Sous Chef. Has the feel of a memoir while purporting to be fictional. Great for anyone interested in the working world of restaurants.

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Not particularly accurate.

Has too many opinions stated as fact, I.e. Japanese knives being the best, the purpose of a Sous Chef, what would actually happen to a cook/chef who shows up drunk for service . While I understand that every Sous is different, and my experiences are unique, I have not written a book purporting to be a great insight.
Do not bother with.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful