Fried: Surviving Two Centuries in Restaurants

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Minnesota Historical Society, Oct 14, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 189 pages
For two hundred years, a rogues' gallery of chefs, line cooks, and dishwashers have slaved away, largely unseen, to serve the dining public. Their pedigrees reach back to the first restaurants during the reign of France's Louis XVI and extend to the Delmonico brothers in New York, Escoffier in Paris, and, in "Fried: Surviving Two Centuries in Restaurants, "a renegade cook in Minneapolis walking like a duck with a whole, raw salmon on his head.
Author and professional chef Steve Lerach first stepped through the swinging kitchen doors when he was in high school, starting as a dishwasher, and he never left. He introduces us to an old potwasher who did time for bootlegging, a stuttering Irish chef who collected funds for the bomb throwers of the IRA, and a gay Vietnam vet who found a measure of acceptance only in restaurants.
Lerach humorously and poignantly interweaves restaurant legend and lore with his own experiences, exposing similarities not only of profession but of the diverse characters who work the back of the house. Though funny and simply fun to read, these tales often end in tragedy, as various actors succumb to their excesses. Lerach serves up glimpses of the hard work, camaraderie, and satisfaction that distinguish careers in what may arguably be called the world's second-oldest profession.
Steve Lerach worked for over thirty years in the food industry, eventually running twelve kitchens at the University of Minnesota. He now teaches aspiring chefs at the Art Institutes International Minnesota.

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Selected pages


Le Menu
Your Island in the Sun
LAffaire Boulanger
The Restaurant Is Born
NotsoQuick Bread
Crime Doesnt Pay Unless Its Play
Phone Call No 1 1982
Saloons Restaurants and Reformers
Phone Call No 32 Autumn 1991
Preference Pretense and Prohibition
Phone Call No 47 1993
Alley Sustainability

Among the Cooks
Michael Tells His Story
Michael Continues His Story
Dining in the Shadow of the Guillotine
Miss Del Lays into Logan
The Incas Revenge
Chef Logans Kingdom
The Triumph
Haute Cuisine Crosses the Atlantic
Fish Eye
Debacle at Dawn
The Milieu
Tequila Turkey
A Few Words from Michael
Nutritionists to the Rescue
Vending Vernacular Victuals
The Dry Desert
A Belated Renaissance
Michaels Turn
The Happy Hour War of 1984
Executive Chef
Notable Dishwashers
Retreat and Advance
Phone Call No 81 2004
Logans Bowl of Soup
Michael Demands Yet Another Hearing
An Empty Stool at the Gay 90s

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