Yummy Chef Memoirs
I’d have to argue that good chef’s memoirs are about the most thoroughly satisfying reading experience there is: they take us to some of the world’s most beautiful places; they’re loaded with conflict and suspense (no, not only about whether the sauce will break again); the authors are ultra-passionate about their life’s work; they engage all our senses with luscious descriptions of classic and ground-breaking dishes and bustling farmer’s markets and the breakneck pace of a professional kitchen; they touch our hearts with their love for their earliest inspirations; and their years of sacrifice finally pay off.
32 Yolks, by Le Bernardin chef and co-owner Eric Ripert and written with Veronica Chambers, is brilliant and so moving. We know from the start that Ripert catches the golden ring (Le Bernardin has never had less than a four-star review in The New York Times), but his journey on the merry-go-round is harrowing. It is also so vivid, you’ll feel like you’ve just stuck your nose in a bunch of fresh basil at a market in Provence, glowing with triumph at the summit of a mountain in Andorra, or shaking with terror as a commis at La Tour d’Argent. Get the book.
Yes, Chef by The Red Rooster’s Marcus Samuelsson and Veronica Chambers again, turns up the heat considerably when it comes to family drama (his mother carried his sister and him on her back to save their lives), world travel (Ethiopia to Sweden to Switzerland to New York), and the hazing he endures as he rises through the ranks. Get the book.
A few years old now, Blood, Bones, and Butter is the most literary of these three. Gabrielle Hamilton is a beautiful writer. Her story, too, is filled with ambition, pain, love, and success, but she tells the tale in prose that is as succulent as her restaurant Prune’s signature Triscuits and sardines with mustard. Get the book.
These restaurants are right here in Manhattan for your pleasure. Every bite you take will be more delicious for knowing what talent and drive went into it.
Beth Goehring believes, with apologies to Lorelei Lee, that rather than diamonds books are a girl’s best friend…and a boy’s, a man’s and a woman’s. For more than twenty-five years, through Book-of-the-Month Club and its related clubs, she’s sold popular fiction, mysteries, romances, cookbooks, children’s books, play scripts, behind-the-scenes tales of the movies and theatre, and lifestyle books. She lives with her husband and corgi in Manhattan.