Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen

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9780399155611: Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen

In the tradition of Kitchen Confidential, a revealing and entertaining insider's tour through top restaurant kitchens, told from the unique perspective of a critically acclaimed pastry chef.

Spiced is Dalia Jurgensen's memoir of leaving her office job and pursuing her dream of becoming a chef. Eventually landing the job of pastry chef for a three-star New York restaurant, she recounts with endearing candor the dry cakes and burned pots of her early internships, and the sweat, sheer determination, and finely tuned taste buds-as well as resilient ego and sense of humor-that won her spots in world-class restaurant kitchens. With wit and an appreciation for raunchy insults, she reveals the secrets to holding your own in male-dominated kitchens, surviving after-hours staff parties, and turning out perfect plates when you know you're cooking for a poorly disguised restaurant critic. She even confesses to a clandestine romance with her chef and boss-not to mention what it's like to work in Martha Stewart's TV kitchen-and the ugly truth behind the much-mythologized "family meal."

Following Dalia's personal trajectory from nervous newbie to unflappable professional, Spiced is a clever, surprisingly frank, and affectionate glimpse at the sweet and sour of following your passion.

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About the Author:

Dalia Jurgensen is executive pastry chef for the highly regarded Williamsburg, Brooklyn, restaurant Dressler. Formerly pastry chef for the three-star Manhattan restaurant Veritas, she has worked in the kitchens of acclaimed restaurants such as Nobu, Layla, and La Cote Basque. Her pastry and cooking have been widely reviewed and featured in publications including The New York Times, New York, the New York Daily News, and USA Today. Her website, www.myspicedlife.com, offers insights into restaurant kitchens, recipes, food experiences, and reviews. Jurgensen lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York.

Review:

"Great insider stuff and a valuable addition to the annals of first-person culinary history."
-Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential

"This is a personal memoir of a young chef's experience in restaurant kitchens. It is funny, interesting and - for me, as a chef and owner of a restaurant - an illuminating insight into how other kitchens work. I loved reading it and plan to give this book to all my chefs."
-Ruth Rogers, Chef Owner, The River Café, London

"Never anything less than entertaining.... In this amiable narrative, Jurgensen 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."
-Publishers Weekly

"Everything you always wanted to know about working in a high-powered restaurant kitchen. She has experienced nearly everything in and out of a high-end kitchen: on-the- job romance, getting freaked out by a visit from New York Times review goddess Ruth Reichl and, of course, being privy to some brilliant food. Despite the up-and- down wackiness of the restaurant world, Jurgensen loves her lot in life, and her debut memoir reflects great affection for the professional kitchen. Jurgensen does a nice job with the female perspective in the testosterone-centric kitchen culture. She gently dishes on former part-time employer Martha Stewart, and her experience as a pastry chef puts a slightly different slant on the proceedings."
-Kirkus

"Jurgensen's book takes readers on a culinary adventure through her rise as a pastry chef at New York's best restaurants. A quick read, this book will appeal to those interested in chef stories and what happens behind the scenes in the kitchen."
-Library Journal

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