Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney
Publication Date: 2014
The Short Version:
A glimpse into the behind the scenes workings of a restaurant kitchen.
Why I Read It:
I love watching competitive cooking shows on TV and when I heard about this book I thought it might be a good one for my first venture into world of Culinary Arts books.
From the publisher
. . .Chef Michael Gibney uses twenty-four hours to animate the intricate camaraderie and culinary choreography in an upscale New York restaurant kitchen. Here readers will find all the details, in rapid-fire succession, of what it takes to deliver an exceptional plate of food—the journey to excellence by way of exhaustion.
I’m glad I read this. It’s interesting and informative. The second-person narrative feels like an attempt to draw the reader into the events of the day. That’s probably a good choice for this book. I didn’t like that choice at first but later I thought that third–person narrative would have lessened the feeling of urgency and involvement.
I liked the glossary in the back. Most of the terminology I was not already familiar with was included and I think that for the format of this book it made better sense to do the explaining in a glossary rather than in the midst of the narrative.
I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant kitchen. I have a much better understanding about the lifestyle and work environments of the chefs I see competing on shows like Top Chef. I enjoyed learning about the routines and hierarchy of the various kitchen staff members.
I liked the format of the book in taking the reader through a busy Friday in an upscale restaurant. It began with the early morning opening and progressing on through service and after-work socializing to the opening for Saturday brunch. Mostly it made me thankful for my desk job and my weekday work schedule.
While I wouldn’t classify this as a book I’d widely recommend to everyone I found it interesting. I would recommend it to people who have an interest in the workings of the restaurant industry and what it takes to be a chef. I passed it along to The Hubster and he seems to be feeling the same way. I think I made a good choice in selecting this book as my introduction to culinary memoirs and other similar books. I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more of this genre.