The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute

by Michael Ruhlman

Four years ago, I reviewed Ruhlman’s Walk on Water. That year, Julie gave me this book. Until recently, it sat unread on my shelf. What a mistake! Ruhlman has written a superbly readable narrative of what it’s like to study at the Culinary Institute of America, someplace I never imagined giving a hoot about. I am very much a meat-and-potatoes (or, more accurately, boudin-and-rice) kind of person. I’m not a foodie, and you never could have convinced me that I’d devour a book about cooking school– but I did. Ruhlman writes with a keen eye for detail, a snappy sense of pacing, and a willingness to philosophize about himself and the culinary field that I found simultaneously refreshing and reflective. Highly recommended, even if you prefer Burger King to Bourdain.

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