cover image The Seasoning of a Chef: My Journey from Diner to Ducasse and Beyond

The Seasoning of a Chef: My Journey from Diner to Ducasse and Beyond

Doug Psaltis, with Michael Psaltis. . Broadway, $24.95 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-1968-5

Hot stoves, sharp knives, insanely long hours, low pay and no formal training—Psaltis pursued a relentless apprenticeship, parlaying each kitchen opportunity into another, including spending his few days off working unpaid in other restaurants, until he reached the culinary world's major leagues, working at Bouley Bakery in New York, the French Laundry in California and, most notably, for Alain Ducasse in New York and Monte Carlo, and as the original chef at Ducasse's restaurant Mix in New York. Written in the first person with assistance from his brother, Michael, Psaltis's story focuses on the professionalism and perfection required in the best restaurants. Like any great insider account, it brims with intriguing tidbits about various players and politics in the restaurant world, reveals some lesser-known practices and relays firsthand accounts of high-stakes mishaps and blunders. Details about the opulence and drive for excellence in the Ducasse restaurants, as well as Psaltis's opinionated account of practices in the "talent deficient" kitchen at the French Laundry are particularly eye-opening. Required reading for those considering culinary careers, this memoir is an appetizing indulgence for anyone who's ever wondered about the workings of a world-class kitchen. Agent, Michael Psaltis. (Sept.)