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Hotbox

Inside Catering, the Food World's Riskiest Business
Narrated by: Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"As the Lees deftly interview chefs, workers, and clients, their Southern charm enhances their narration.... Even non-foodies will savor lesser known morsels of information and marvel at how the wealthy celebrate." (AudioFile Magazine) 

This program is read by the authors.

Matt Lee and Ted Lee take on the competitive, wild world of high-end catering, exposing the secrets of a food business few home cooks or restaurant chefs ever experience. 

Hotbox reveals the real-life drama behind cavernous event spaces and soaring white tents, where cooking conditions have more in common with a mobile army hospital than a restaurant. Known for their modern take on Southern cooking, the Lee brothers steeped themselves in the catering business for four years, learning the culture from the inside out. It’s a realm where you find eccentric characters, working in extreme conditions, who must produce magical events and instantly adapt when, for instance, the host’s toast runs a half hour too long, a hailstorm erupts, or a rolling rack of hundreds of ice cream desserts goes wheels-up.  

Whether they’re dashing through black-tie fundraisers, celebrity-spotting at a Hamptons cookout, or following a silverware crew at 3:00 a.m. in a warehouse in New Jersey, the Lee brothers guide you on a romp from the inner circle - the elite team of chefs using little more than their wits and Sterno to turn out lamb shanks for 800 - to the outer reaches of the industries that facilitate the most dazzling galas. You’ll never attend a party - or entertain on your own - in the same way after listening to this audiobook.

©2019 Matt Lee and Ted Lee (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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Needs to be a series!

For anyone who works or has ever worked in foodservice, this is a go-to book. And for those who haven’t, this should be an eye-opener. Sometimes, the author as the narrator is a big mistake; not in this cast. Matt and Ted were perfect. Another narrator, might have added too much inflection. These guys were measured and even, reflecting how they had to operate during their gigs.

I would have loved it if they name dropped on big events, but I also want them to: a) write another book in another city (Miami?) and b) do a documentary (like Fyre).

I definitely recommend this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

As a young (30s) NYC event planner who is wanting to make the leap into starting a catering company of my own, I found this book to be incredibly entertaining, insightful and educational. I was taking notes throughout the book, particularly with things such as the hot box and sterno trick, silica gel packs to keep bread dry, where to buy chefs coats (OK uniform in TriBeCa, haha), and what software caterers use and where to buy Kosher catering.

I’m slightly shocked through that S&C pays KAs only $10/hr in the kitchen. Isn’t minimum wage like $15/hr?

Also, my boyfriend and I just dined at Daniel on the UES last week and met Boulud so to hear his name mentioned was just cool. Also I’ve heard of so many of these caterers so to hear about how long they’ve been around and where the industry started in NYC is just beyond cool. Plus the pink elephant trucks. They are ubiquitous in this city....

Did I say I loved everything about this book? Lee brothers: Well done!

Will be re-reading and studying it as I start my catering company!

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Someone's talking about my life!

I couldn't get enough of this book and was thrilled to read about the challenges that are a regular part of my life as the chef and owner of a small catering company. I laughed out loud and nodded my head a lot throughout. Was sad when it ended and will be sharing it with my staff. Thank you for "getting" it!!

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Loved listening to this!

Great audiobook! The Lee brothers are very engaging, and I learned a ton about catering. The Lees made their behind the scenes view of catered events fascinating and appealing. I would listen to and enjoy many more hours of this, and I was sorry when I came to the end.

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real life as a caterer

loved it!

very accurate account of what goes on behind the scenes. it's a must read.

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Great inside look

It’s good to see someone giving our dirty secret industry the credit it deserves. Most people can’t comprehend the insanity that is cooking out of a hot box in the middle of nowhere with limited cooling. Highly recommended this book.