JGV: A Life in 12 Recipes

Jean-Georges Vongerichten, with Michael Ruhlman. Norton, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-393-60848-9
A world-famous chef offers a remarkably down-to-earth take on his ascent to the upper echelons of the culinary world in this delightful memoir. Vongerichten (Home Cooking with Jean-Georges) was kicked out of school at age 15 for his lack of work ethic, and later found direction and discipline as an apprentice in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred Alsatian restaurant. Vongerichten writes fondly of the French chefs he worked for, Paul Bocuse and Louis Outhier among them, but it was his introduction to Thai street food that would change the trajectory of his career: his eventual fusing of classic French techniques with Asian ingredients—spurred by a negative review in New York magazine in 1986—enshrined his place in modern culinary history. Vongerichten comes across as a nice, humble, and thankful guy, which makes an interlude in which he admits to beating up a dishwasher for taking an extended break during a crucial lunch service while the New York Times restaurant critic was dining at the restaurant especially eye-opening. Readers who dined at Vongerichten’s restaurant Jojo during its heyday, meanwhile, will be surprised to learn the secret ingredient in a popular sauce was ketchup. (A recipe for it is included.) Anyone curious about what drives an elite chef will want to pick this up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 05/20/2019
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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