Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen
In the tradition of Kitchen Confidential, a revealing and entertaining insider's tour through top restaurant kitchens, told from the unique perspective of a critically acclaimed pastry chef.
Spicedis Dalia Jurgensen's memoir of leaving her office job and pursuing her dream of becoming a chef. Eventually landing the job of pastry chef for a three-star New York restaurant, she recounts with endearing candor the dry cakes and burned pots of her early internships, and the sweat, sheer determination, and finely tuned taste buds-as well as resilient ego and sense of humor-that won her spots in world-class restaurant kitchens. With wit and an appreciation for raunchy insults, she reveals the secrets to holding your own in male-dominated kitchens, surviving after-hours staff parties, and turning out perfect plates when you know you're cooking for a poorly disguised restaurant critic. She even confesses to a clandestine romance with her chef and boss-not to mention what it's like to work in Martha Stewart's TV kitchen-and the ugly truth behind the much-mythologized "family meal."
Following Dalia's personal trajectory from nervous newbie to unflappable professional, Spicedis a clever, surprisingly frank, and affectionate glimpse at the sweet and sour of following your passion.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This is a book I kept setting aside. True stories of a pastry chef? I love sweets, but how interesting could this be? But something about the author’s mischievous smile on the cover kept drawing me back to the book. Dalia Jurgensen gave up an office job to work in restaurants in various cooking jobs and finally as a pastry chef. She explains “Kitchen law demands that cooks blindly obey their chef like unquestioning recruits, but as long as the food gets made the way the boss demands, there is enormous personal freedom.” Jurgensen loves the freedom, and she loves the hard work that has garnered her kudos from top restaurant critics. The path to success was a struggle, however, and she doesn’t hesitate to dish the dirt: the sexism, the ego clashes, the burns and scars (complaining not allowed), the pranks, the co-worker hook-ups, and the after hours drinking and even violence (just letting off some steam, so to speak). This book is more like a slice of Key Lime pie than a thick Russian babka, but now and then everyone needs something light and sweet with just a bit of a tartness. While the story won’t keep you up at night reading, it will give you a new appreciation for restaurant kitchen workers, and it may even give you a craving for a panne cotta with honey and raspberry sauce, or perhaps a caramel-laden banana tart Tatin. Jurgensen has a website (largely promotional), and there is talk of turning her story into a movie or a television series. I recommend this book to anyone who eats in restaurants, loves to cook, or just wants to read a book about food that isn’t too weighty.
Review: Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the KitchenUser Review - Goodreads
Here's the thing, there are a lot better chef memoirs on the book shelves; this one's okay. Dalia Jergensen up and leaves her day job to trail a pastry chef at Nubo. Having already signed up for ...
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