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Enlightening Kitchen Experience
on March 14, 2018
I am something of a "foodie" and so I like non-fiction books that are professional restaurant centered. This one, depicting just 24 hours on the line in a West Village restaurant in NYC, was particularly informative and captured the controlled frenzy of a fine dining restaurant kitchen. The action is seen through the eyes of one sous chef, second in command to the executive chef. The layout of the kitchen, as prescribed by Escofier more than a century ago, is minutely described; the duties of each station explained; the ingredients and techniques used in this kitchen are detailed. That might be a bit much for the casual cook or diner, but I liked the very visual scene and the work ethic involved. The legendary hard work/hard play of those in the field is apparent in this book too. Finishing work at 1:00 a.m., drinking until 3:00 a.m. and back on the job just a few hours later seems to be the norm. Maybe that's not an admirable lifestyle to some, but the hard work and focus of cooks, to me, is admirable. I'll try to remember that when I dine out. Two issues with this book are because of the Kindle configuration rather than with the author. One is that the kitchen hierarchy tree was so faint as to be unreadable. The other is that the glossary of terms is at the back which would be less of a problem in a print book. With a Kindle, it's very awkward to go back and forth from text to glossary. I kept my Culinary Arts Dictionary at hand instead.