Wednesday, January 12, 2005

1 Down, 47 to go.

I just completed reading The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman. Having already read The Soul of A Chef (which was written after this book), I had some idea what to expect both from the quality of writing and the material he would cover. I enjoyed The Soul Of A Chef and wanted more.

In the Making of a Chef, Michael Ruhlman attends the Culinary Institute of America and writes about his experiences there, starting from Skills class all the way through to his final block at the American Bounty Restaurant.

Michael Ruhlman has a passion for food and cooking. This enthusiasm carries over into his writing. Throughout the book he ponders whether passion for food and cooking can be taught. Even if it cannot, his certainly carries us along with him. It was an easy read that held my attention and encouraged me to read more. His exuberance for the material not only encouraged me to continue reading, but made me want to be a better cook.

However, the book is not without is share of flaws. His writing is a bit jumpy at different points and sometimes I wish he explained some cooking terms more fully, especially for those of us that are not professional chefs. Also, because he condensed his stay, skipping over some classes and the required externships he was unable to follow one class all the way through their first two years. This leaves him to introduce new characters about midway through his experience. So while we get a taste of life at CIA, and some of the students and instructors that populated its campus in the mid '90s, I kept thinking how much more interesting the book would be if he had followed the same students. In the end, Ruhlman is forced to insert himself into the storyline more than I would ordinarily like for a book of this type.

Overall -- if you have a passing interest in food and cooking, this is a worthwhile read.

-- Szg

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Blogger mickeyg said...

If you are interested in various food writings, try Coming Home to Eat - the story of a man who vows to eat food only grown, fished or raised within 500 miles of his home. He lives in New Mexico (I think, it's been a while)!


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