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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen » User review

Very enjoyable

  • Apr 5, 2009
Rating:
+3
This is a book in the same category as Kitchen Confidential, but this time it is from a woman's point of view. It is also lighter-weight than that book, and it moved right along with a breezy, first person style that was very enjoyable.

At some point in their lives, most people who are interested in food and cooking start thinking about working in or owning a restaurant. But, the culture of the kitchen is not appealing to most, particularly if you've outgrown your post-college drinking and clubbing years. The kitchen is noisy, hot, and frantic. The people in it are crude, rude, and (at least after work) drunk. It doesn't have much to do with the actual food, which is the interesting revelation behind this kind of book.

I was a little concerned that it would focus on the pastry because Dalia (or Dolly, as she is often called in the kitchen) starts out as one. I like to cook, but I've never been much for baking. Luckily, she soon moves on to the appetizers, than the grill, and things start really hopping.

I thought she did a great job of getting across the feel of the kitchen, the culture of the restaurant, and the socializing that happens at night, when work is over. It takes a certain kind of personality to make it through those early years, and I can tell you this: it isn't for me!

Sean P. Logue, 2009

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Sean P. Logue ()
Ranked #259
Funny as a stand-up comic, and twice as moody. Highly encouraged by the use of the "review was helpful" button, this denizen of dark computer labs has a propensity toward wire, wildly creative thought, … more
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Wiki

Your lack of experience doesn't bother me, Jurgensen's first boss in a restaurant kitchen told her. It just means... you haven't learned any bad habits yet. From that auspicious beginning, Jurgensen, pastry chef at Dressler in Brooklyn, makes a few mistakes along the way (one time, she managed to burn a hole in the bottom of a pot while trying to melt chocolate), although she steadily improves, landing jobs at several impressive Manhattan restaurants (with an interlude as a chef for Martha Stewart's TV show). In this amiable narrative, she describes various pitfalls: a hookup with one of her bosses eventually settles into a dating relationship; when they break up, it's right back to work for Jurgensen ever the professional. The edgy backstage atmosphere will be instantly familiar to fans of chef memoirs, but Jurgensen's promise of a feminine perspective to the sexist environment is barely fulfilled by the indifferent telling of a few raunchy anecdotes and her insistence that she got over it because she had no other choice. Individually, the stories are never anything less than entertaining, but when they're put together it feels like there's one more ingredient missing—an elusive something that would make a good dish great.(Apr.)
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ISBN-10: 0399155619
ISBN-13: 978-0399155611
Author: Dalia Jurgensen
Publisher: Putnam Adult

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"Very enjoyable"
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