Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Butcher in Tuscany

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9780099464433: Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Butcher in Tuscany

Bill Buford, an enthusiastic, if rather chaotic, home cook, was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali, a Falstaffian figure of voracious appetites who runs one of New York's most successful three-star restaurants. Buford accepted the commission, on the condition Batali allow him to work in his kitchen, as his slave. He worked his way up to 'line cook' and then left New York to learn from the very teachers who had taught his teacher: preparing game with Marco Pierre White, making pasta in a hillside trattoria, finally becoming apprentice to a Dante-spouting butcher in Chianti. Heat is a marvellous hybrid: a memoir of Buford's kitchen adventures, the story of Batali's amazing rise to culinary fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters. It is a book to delight in, and to savour.

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Review:

Bill Buford's funny and engaging book Heat offers readers a rare glimpse behind the scenes in Mario Batali's kitchen. Who better to review the book for Amazon.com, than Anthony Bourdain, the man who first introduced readers to the wide array of lusty and colorful characters in the restaurant business? We asked Anthony Bourdain to read Heat and give us his take. We loved it. So did he. Check out his review below. --Daphne Durham Guest Reviewer: Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is host of the Discovery Channel's No Reservations, executive chef at Les Halles in Manhattan, and author of the bestselling and groundbreaking Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, A Cook's Tour, Bone in the Throat, and many others. His latest book, The Nasty Bits will be released on May 16, 2006.

Heat is a remarkable work on a number of fronts--and for a number of reasons. First, watching the author, an untrained, inexperienced and middle-aged desk jockey slowly transform into not just a useful line cook--but an extraordinarily knowledgable one is pure pleasure. That he chooses to do so primarily in the notoriously difficult, cramped kitchens of New York's three star Babbo provides further sado-masochistic fun. Buford not only accurately and hilariously describes the painfully acquired techniques of the professional cook (and his own humiations), but chronicles as well the mental changes--the "kitchen awareness" and peculiar world view necessary to the kitchen dweller. By end of book, he's even talking like a line cook.

Secondly, the book is a long overdue portrait of the real Mario Batali and of the real Marco Pierre White--two complicated and brilliant chefs whose coverage in the press--while appropriately fawning--has never described them in their fully debauched, delightful glory. Buford has--for the first time--managed to explain White's peculiar--almost freakish brilliance--while humanizing a man known for terrorizing cooks, customers (and Batali). As for Mario--he is finally revealed for the Falstaffian, larger than life, mercurial, frighteningly intelligent chef/enterpreneur he really is. No small accomplishment. Other cooks, chefs, butchers, artisans and restaurant lifers are described with similar insight.

Thirdly, Heat reveals a dead-on understanding--rare among non-chef writers--of the pleasures of "making" food; the real human cost, the real requirements and the real adrenelin-rush-inducing pleasures of cranking out hundreds of high quality meals. One is left with a truly unique appreciation of not only what is truly good about food--but as importantly, who cooks--and why. I can't think of another book which takes such an unsparing, uncompromising and ultimately thrilling look at the quest for culinary excellence. Heat brims with fascinating observations on cooking, incredible characters, useful discourse and argument-ending arcania. I read my copy and immediately started reading it again. It's going right in between Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London and Zola's The Belly of Paris on my bookshelf. --Anthony Bourdain


About the Author:

Bill Buford is a staff writer and European correspondent for the New Yorker, where he was previously the fiction editor for eight years. He was the editor-in-chief for Granta magazine for sixteen years and was also the publisher of Granta Books. He is the author of Among the Thugs. He lives in New York City.

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Bill Buford, an enthusiastic, if rather chaotic, home cook, was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali, a Falstaffian figure of voracious appetites who runs one of New York s most successful three-star restaurants. Buford accepted the commission, on the condition Batali allow him to work in his kitchen, as his slave. He worked his way up to line cook and then left New York to learn from the very teachers who had taught his teacher: preparing game with Marco Pierre White, making pasta in a hillside trattoria, finally becoming apprentice to a Dante-spouting butcher in Chianti. Heat is a marvellous hybrid: a memoir of Buford s kitchen adventures, the story of Batali s amazing rise to culinary fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters. It is a book to delight in, and to savour. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099464433

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Bill Buford, an enthusiastic, if rather chaotic, home cook, was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali, a Falstaffian figure of voracious appetites who runs one of New York s most successful three-star restaurants. Buford accepted the commission, on the condition Batali allow him to work in his kitchen, as his slave. He worked his way up to line cook and then left New York to learn from the very teachers who had taught his teacher: preparing game with Marco Pierre White, making pasta in a hillside trattoria, finally becoming apprentice to a Dante-spouting butcher in Chianti. Heat is a marvellous hybrid: a memoir of Buford s kitchen adventures, the story of Batali s amazing rise to culinary fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters. It is a book to delight in, and to savour. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099464433

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2007. 7th. Paperback. The author was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali who runs one of New York's most successful three-star restaurants. Buford accepted the commission, on the condition Batali allow him to work in his kitchen, as his slave. This memoir presents his kitchen adventures, and the story of Batali's rise to culinary fame. Num Pages: 336 pages. BIC Classification: BGA; WB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 137 x 21. Weight in Grams: 242. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099464433

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Book Description Vintage, 2007. Book Condition: New. 2007. 7th. Paperback. The author was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali who runs one of New York's most successful three-star restaurants. Buford accepted the commission, on the condition Batali allow him to work in his kitchen, as his slave. This memoir presents his kitchen adventures, and the story of Batali's rise to culinary fame. Num Pages: 336 pages. BIC Classification: BGA; WB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 137 x 21. Weight in Grams: 242. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099464433

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