Review - Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey

Title: Four Kitchens
Author: Lauren Shockey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: July 27, 2011
Hardcover, 336 pages

Barnes and Noble

I hesitate to compare this book, but it really had the feeling of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert without all the emotional baggage. But it has that feeling of starting at a point in life that is terrifying to think it could continue as abysmal and as bleak as the future looks. Then making a huge decision that leads to learning who the person is and finding a peace, but not without struggle and gaps of confusion.

I enjoyed Lauren's journey through it all. She starts out in one of the hippest culinary restaurants she knows - wd50 that uses all sorts of strange concoctions to create food treats. Realizing that going through culinary school does not mean she knows anything. She is consistently berated for her lack of cutting skills (FRESH OUT OF CULINARY SCHOOL) and other basics. I love the feelings of being lost and at a loss that Lauren describes here. I have felt this many a-times and I have been in retail for over 13 years. She moves on to Vietnamese restaurant where I was a bit squeamish in the food details, but enjoyed the friendships she created. She continued on to Israel to learn of her Jewish heritage food. She learns maybe the most important lesson of - it's not how you cook, but who you cook for/with.

What I would consider a nice, summer read.

Summary -
At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren Shockey learned to salt food properly, cook fearlessly over high heat, and knock back beers like a pro. But she also discovered that her real culinary education wouldn't begin until she actually worked in a restaurant. After a somewhat disappointing apprenticeship in the French provinces, Shockey hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four high-end restaurants around the world. She started in her hometown of New York City under the famed chef Wylie Dufresne at the molecular gastronomy hotspot wd-50, then traveled to Vietnam, Israel, and back to France. From the ribald kitchen humor to fiery-tempered workers to tasks ranging from the mundane (mincing cases of shallots) to the extraordinary (cooking seafood on the line), Shockey shows us what really happens behind the scenes in haute cuisine, and includes original recipes integrating the techniques and flavors she learned along the way. With the dramatic backdrop of restaurant life, readers will be delighted by the adventures of a bright and restless young woman looking for her place in the world.

If you loved this book, check out these -
Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
This Won't Hurt a Bit by Michelle Au

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