Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America

Jonathan Dixon. Clarkson Potter, $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-307-58903-3
At 38, after years of odd New York jobs, Dixon enrolled in the two-year Culinary Institute of America program with no motivation besides his love of cooking. He put life on hold and immersed himself in classes in math and gastronomy, and labs in food identification and fabrication. Dixon manages an honorable and straightforward narrative out of the constant evaluation, testing, and various personality conflicts, even when the details swing between slaughterhouse excitement and onion-chopping tedium. He’s subtle on the competitive effects of foodieism and celebrity, and fair on his own shortcomings during an externship in New York City, where he earned real compliments but was told that he lacked the makings for a culinary career. Though stress and tension regularly took their toll, Dixon stuck with the program, and during the finals for the Bocuse d’Or he experienced an epiphany that paved the way for satisfactory completion of the program. In the end, this book serves as a nice supplement, that of a novice cook, to Mark Ruhlman’s The Making of a Chef. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-0-307-58904-0
Open Ebook - 174 pages - 978-0-307-95334-6
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