The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection

Michael Ruhlman, Author Viking Books $26.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-670-89155-9
In this follow-up to his cooking school odyssey, The Making of a Chef, Ruhlman examines what causes chefs to seek absolute perfection. The book is divided into three parts: in the first, Ruhlman observes the arduous Certified Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America, which was the setting for his first book. The second segment focuses on Michael Symon, a rising star at Lola (in Cleveland) who was recently dubbed one of the 10 best chefs in America by Food & Wine. The third is dedicated to Thomas Keller, chef of California's esteemed French Laundry. While Ruhlman's play-by-play descriptions of chefs struggling to cook exactly as Escoffier dictated 90 years earlier can be exciting (and the stories of those who failed heartbreaking), they strongly echo his previous book's account of culinary education. The author fares better in his portrait of Keller's development into an exacting perfectionist. But even here Ruhlman often slips into simply writing about the process of working on The French Laundry Cookbook, to which he contributed the text, or repeating stories that appear in it. Overall this book makes a fine introduction to Ruhlman's writing, but readers of his previous books will be disappointed to find the chef reheating leftovers. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-14-771615-6
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-0-14-100189-0
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-101-52523-4
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-101-52531-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-0202-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4830-0203-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-0204-0
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