The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

Front Cover
Macmillan, Mar 31, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 305 pages
166 Reviews

"Well reported and heartfelt, Ruhlman communicates the passion that draws the acolyte to this precise and frantic profession."--The New York Times Book Review

Just over a decade ago, journalist Michael Ruhlman donned a chef's jacket and houndstooth-check pants to join the students at the Culinary Institute of America, the country's oldest and most influential cooking school. But The Making of a Chef is not just about holding a knife or slicing an onion; it's also about the nature and spirit of being a professional cook and the people who enter the profession. As Ruhlman--now an expert on the fundamentals of cooking--recounts his growing mastery of the skills of his adopted profession, he propels himself and his readers through a score of kitchens and classrooms in search of the elusive, unnameable elements of great food.

Incisively reported, with an insider's passion and attention to detail, The Making of a Chef remains the most vivid and compelling memoir of a professional culinary education on record.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Great introduction to the world of culinary education. - Goodreads
Ruhlman is a truly talented writer. - Goodreads
Ruhlman's prose is perfect. - Goodreads
Only matter of fact, simple story telling here. - Goodreads
Ruhlman is a solid writer who understands his subject. - Goodreads
... but yet an honest writer on an honest quest. - Goodreads

Review: The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

User Review  - Sarah Hoffman - Goodreads

This is a super fun, quick read - perfect for the summer. A writer goes 'undercover' at the CIA and becomes a cook in the process. Ruhlman is a very engaging writer and I'd recommend this book to anyone needing a little kitchen inspiration. Read full review

Review: The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

User Review  - pianogal - Goodreads

I really liked this one for as long as it took me to get through it. Now I want to go to culinary school. Sigh. If only I were independently wealthy... The only thing that's not my favorite about ... Read full review

All 79 reviews »


Skill Development
The Formative Kitchens
Keepers of the Food
Part Second Year
PartV Bounty
The CIA Curriculum

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Michael Ruhlman is the author of twelve books, including The Elements of Cooking and The French Laundry Cookbook. He lives in Cleveland with his wife, daughter, and son and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Gourmet.

Bibliographic information