Wife of the Chef

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9780609611067: Wife of the Chef

Wife of the Chef is at once a no-holds-barred memoir of restaurant life and a revealing look at married life. For Courtney Febbroriello, the two are intertwined. She and her husband own an American bistro in Connecticut. He's the chef, so naturally he gets all the credit. She has the role of keeping things running, but she's the wife, so she remains anonymous or invisible or both.

Febbroriello comes front and center here, detailing the everyday challenges she faces—taking over dish-washing duty, bailing waiters out of jail, untangling the immigration laws, cajoling lazy suppliers, handling unreasonable customers, and a host of other emergency duties. She pokes fun at people who take food and wine—and the chef—too seriously, with witty comments on everything from "chef envy" to the much-ballyhooed James Beard Awards.

Spiced with a healthy spoonful of feminism and enriched with a cup of humor, Wife of the Chef is the tastiest "dish" of the season.

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Review:

Courtney Febbroriello, the titular Wife of the Chef, tells all with acerbic wit in this exposé of life behind-the-scenes of a small Connecticut restaurant. But only the very secure should delve between the covers. Febbroriello tells how she met her husband, Chris, and shares a day in the life of the restaurant she now runs with him. It's a stressful job--it doesn't pay well, there are no benefits, they never get to spend any time together without talking about work, and no one appreciates her.

If you love to read about the restaurant trade, venture forth, but keep in mind that no one is spared Febbroriello's sharp tongue. If you've read Kitchen Confidential, none of the kitchen dirt will shock you (except maybe for the fact that she doesn't eat her husband's food because she's a vegetarian), but nearly everything else is fair game. According to Febbroriello, waiters don't get the respect they deserve, but then again many of them are slow, sloppy, don't anticipate her needs adequately, or are too friendly and helpful (come again?). Customers, admits Febbroriello, are the reason there are restaurants, but among those she hates are those who revere her husband (really?), those who want to relax, be pampered, and arrive with expectations (who isn't guilty?), and the ones who call themselves foodies.

Tired and cranky, overworked and never recognized, a Jill-of-all-trades and the glue that holds her restaurant together, Febbroriello's diatribe will make you laugh as long as it doesn't make you cry. --Leora Y. Bloom

About the Author:

COURTNEY FEBBRORIELLO and her husband, Christopher Prosperi, opened Metro Bis in Simsbury, Connecticut, in 1998. This is her first book.

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