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Friday, March 28, 2014

Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line

I haven't read the ubiquitous Kitchen Confidential and I haven't yet been sucked in my Top Chef or anything else like that, so I jumped into Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Girney.

What does 24 hours on the line look like when you are a sous chef? Busy and back-breaking, to be precise. This detailed, rapid-fire look at what it takes to make a restaurant kitchen run is fast-paced, honest, and raw to the bone. If you think you can cut it, give it a try--only time will tell.

I loved this book, more so than I thought I would. As I said, I haven't picked up any of the previous kitchen tomes and I am not even a huge fan of Food Network (I need fiction in my telly stories), but I do love a well-written, fast-paced book. I learned so much from this short book that I felt as though I was there in the kitchen. {In truth, it's not terribly short, but for something that read as though I was in the kitchen with him, it felt woefully short. That's a sincere compliment.}

I have to say, before I read this book I really didn't have any idea how seriously so many people take what they do in the kitchens of my favorite restaurants. I had always just assumed it was another job, one that you go to and do what you are supposed to do to the best of your ability, but reading this really opened up my eyes to the seriousness taken by those who prepare my meal. The job of the kitchen staff is to provide nourishment to their clientele; it is a relationship of the highest order and is taken seriously every time the chef puts on his or her uniform. It is more than a job; it is a pleasure and an honor.

I have a higher level of respect for those who serve me in restaurants more than ever before, from the underwaiters to the prep cooks. Each has a job that he or she takes seriously, and it is all in the name of the basic need to be nourished, to be cared for. I loved the frenetic pace that this wild room took me on, and I also loved that I was led to appreciate a way of life that is so different from my own.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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