The Reach of a Chef: Professional Cooks in the Age of Celebrity
The author of The Soul of a Chef looks at the new role of the chef in contemporary culture
For his previous explorations into the restaurant kitchen and the men and women who call it home, Michael Ruhlman has been described by Anthony Bourdain as ?the greatest living writer on the subject of chefs?and on the business of preparing food.? In The Reach of a Chef, Ruhlman examines the profound shift in American culture that has raised restaurant cooking to the level of performance art and the status of the chef to celebrity CEO. Bibliophiles and foodies alike will savor this intimate meeting with some of the most famous chefs in the kitchens of the hottest restaurants in the world.
Great Book..FIVE stars
By Anthony Bourdain - June 27, 2006
Yet another impeccably researched and insightful exploration of the world of chefs from Ruhlman, one of the very very few non-chef writers who "get it". His look at previously written about subjects--and what's happened to them in the strange new world of "chef branding" and multi-unit expansion--and the terrible lure of Vegas is thoughtful and on target. Chefs who famously never open up to ordinary journalists are remarkably candid with Ruhlman.
While thoroughly entertaining for anyone interested in food, cooks and restaurants, this book should also be a standard text in Culinary schools. This is the world that well known and respected chefs who "made it" on the strength of their cooking abilities will live in the future.
My only criticism is the dismaying lack of profanity and bile. Ruhlman in person is a viciously funny bagful of venomous snakes. Had he allowed a little more of his infamous Dark Side to leak into the text I, for one, would have been happier... read more
A nice chronicle of the American food revolution
By J. V. Lewis - June 2, 2006
We are in the midst of deep upheaval in American cooking. The Food Network, the explosion of cookbook publishing, the overnight blossoming of the culinary travel genre, and the celebrity chef phenomenon all mark our new interest in the culture of restaurant food, if not in food per se. The extent of this food-culture is startling. No longer is French cooking the domain of a few big-city Europeanized gourmands. It's everywhere. Heck, even some of the ten-year-old girls on the soccer team I coach spend water breaks yacking about their favorite food shows. My nine-year-old, when I asked what she wanted for supper recently, answered "Grand Aioli". It's downright nutty.
So we should gratefully welcome cook/food-writer Michael Ruhlman's excellent new attempt to make sense of it all. He is almost uniquely situated in the celebrity-food world to give us a clear snapshot of what's going on. This book is a series of vignettes of the hectic lives and workplaces of an... read more
Fame, money and identity in the land of famous chefs
By Rebecca Huston "telynor" - October 4, 2007
This summer I finally got around to reading Michael Ruhlman's books on the art of cooking, and those who seek to do it professionally. Now I have reached the third book, which expands upon the idea, and takes a deep look at how the recent culinary boom is affecting how all of us eat today.
Ruhlman looks at the current phenomena that surround cooking, one of the most mundane tasks around. These days, food is very big business indeed. Flip on the television and not only are there instructional shows on nearly every sort of cuisine and course, but competition shows where the content ranges from sublime to just plain stupid, reality shows that have a famous chef or two wandering the world in search of new tastes and cultures, or watching another famous chef come in and revamp a dying restaurant. If that's not enough, visit any retail store or megamart and you have various celebrities pimping -- I mean endorsing -- cutlery, cookware sets, books, spices and even processed foods... read more
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