Accidental Chef: An Insider's View of Professional Cooking

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AuthorHouse, Jul 27, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
Accidental Chef is a sobering account of what it's really like to be a professional chef, not the glamorized, sugar-coated depictions we see on cable television. This book offers a glimpse of what it really like to work in a hotel patry shop and a busy restaurant. When you read Accidental Chef you can't help feeling that you right there with Charles in the kitchen. Through his vivid descriptions you'll be able to imagine the sights, sounds and smells of a real kitchen. Accidental Chef puts a real face on the hospitality industry in America. Charles reveals many of the unsavory aspects of the hotel and restaurant business. For example, he relates true life stories about how our food supply isn't always as sanitary as we might believe. You'll get an idea of just how prevalent drug abuse and sex are in the food world. Through Accidental Chef, Charles also shares some of stories of the colorful characters he's worked with thoughout his long career. He illusrtates how professioanl cooking attracts a variety of characters. Charles introduces you to some of the bizarre people he's worked with. In his own words, Charles gives us the captivating story of how he abandoned a prosperous career in hospital adminstration to become a chef in New Orleans. It's an inspiring story for those who are disenchanted with their career, but are afraid of the risks of a career transition. Above all, Charles reveals the irrepressable determination and genuine love of cooking that made his success possible.

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Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Selected Bibliography

The Restaurant World According to America

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About the author (2011)

Charles Oppman was born in 1949 in Gary, Indiana, essentially a Chicago suburb. Charles is convinced that that his culinary education began as a boy when he was introduced to a variety of ethnic cuisines and cultures in his home town. Few chefs take the route to become a chef that Charles Oppman did. Most chefs begin their careers right out of high school, but not Charles. He didn't begin his culinary odessy until he was in his early 30s. Charles embarked on a cooking career in the mecca of American cuisine, New Orleans. It was in the Big Easy where he discovered the exhilarating world of gastronomy. He completed a culinary arts program while working at some of New Orleans' finest pastry shops, restaurants and hotels. That was over thirty years ago. Charles has never looked back. He went on to become Pastry Sous Chef at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. then he opened his own restaurant, Cafe Marianna, in Alexandria, Virginia. Long before Charles entered the culinary world, he enjoyed successful careers in public health and the health care industry. Chef Charles holds degrees from Indiana State University and the University of Minnesota where he studied occupational and environmental health and food safety. His academic and professional pursuits and experience as a chef make him uniquely qualified to author a book about the culinary world, the prevention of foodborne disease and eco-gastronomy issues such as seafood sustainability. Charles Oppman is a free-lance food journalist currently living in Alexandria, Virginia.

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