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Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

>> Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 214
Source: Library

The Short Version:
A glimpse into the behind the scenes workings of a restaurant kitchen.

Why I Read It:
I love watching competitive cooking shows on TV and when I heard about this book I thought it might be a good one for my first venture into world of Culinary Arts books.

The Book:
From the publisher

. . .Chef Michael Gibney uses twenty-four hours to animate the intricate camaraderie and culinary choreography in an upscale New York restaurant kitchen. Here readers 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.

My Thoughts:
I'm glad I read this. It's interesting and informative. The second-person narrative feels like an attempt to draw the reader into the events of the day. That's probably a good choice for this book. I didn't like that choice at first but later I thought that third--person narrative would have lessened the feeling of urgency and involvement.

I liked the glossary in the back. Most of the terminology I was not already familiar with was included and I think that for the format of this book it made better sense to do the explaining in a glossary rather than in the midst of the narrative.

I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant kitchen. I have a much better understanding about the lifestyle and work environments of the chefs I see competing on shows like Top Chef. I enjoyed learning about the routines and hierarchy of the various kitchen staff members.

I liked the format of the book in taking the reader through a busy Friday in an upscale restaurant. It began with the early morning opening and progressing on through service and after-work socializing to the opening for Saturday brunch. Mostly it made me thankful for my desk job and my weekday work schedule.

While I wouldn't classify this as a book I'd widely recommend to everyone I found it interesting. I would recommend it to people who have an interest in the workings of the restaurant industry and what it takes to be a chef. I passed it along to The Hubster and he seems to be feeling the same way. I think I made a good choice in selecting this book as my introduction to culinary memoirs and other similar books. I'm definitely looking forward to exploring more of this genre.

3 stars Rating 3/5


Beth F 6/17/2014 8:29 AM  

I mostly liked this one too. Every time I read a restaurant book, I'm convinced that I never want to own one! You might want to consider linking this one up to Weekend Cooking this coming saturday.

Jen - Devourer of Books 6/17/2014 3:16 PM  

Hmm, maybe I should get this on audio for my husband to listen to (assuming it is on audio).

Janel Gradowski 6/21/2014 8:46 AM  

This sounds like a book I would love. I have never worked in a restaurant, but in my writing I sometimes need to describe restaurants. This would definitely come in handy for that!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 6/21/2014 11:52 AM  

I, too, am a lover of cooking shows and food/restaurant memoirs. I thought Sous Chef was ok...but a little too nuts and bolts for me. I though Gibney was a good writer and that he shined when he talked about the people in the business and wish he'd done more of that. At times I felt like I was reading a task list...

Carole 6/21/2014 3:05 PM  

Interesting book. thanks Cheers from carole's chatter

Vicki 6/21/2014 7:51 PM  

I've had this on my radar for a while. Maybe I'll get to it soon!

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/22/2014 5:55 AM  

My husband and I owned a fast food restaurant so I think this is one I would enjoy.

SuziQoregon 7/15/2014 9:20 PM  

Beth F: Yes - 'mostly liked' is a good description. I agree - the more I know about restaurants the more I'm glad I don't work in one.

Jen: Oh it could be a good audio for him. I passed it along to The Hubster and he enjoyed it.

Janel: Oh it would be great for that.

Sarah: I actually enjoyed the nuts and bolts stuff and I think that's why I think it was a good entry book into this genre for me.

Carole: Thanks for stopping by.

Vicki: I say give it a try.

Diane: Oh I agree - you would like this with your background.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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