The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America Paperback – Mar 31 2009
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Journalist Michael Ruhlman talked his way into the CIA: the Culinary Institute of America, the Harvard of cooking schools. It had something to do with potatoes a grand-uncle had eaten deacades earlier, how the man could remember them so well for so long, buried as they had been in the middle of an elegant meal. Ruhlman wanted to learn how to cook potatoes like that--like an art--and the CIA seemed the place to go. The fun part of this book is that we all get to go along for the ride without having to endure the trauma of cooking school.
Ever wonder what goes on in a busy kitchen, why your meal comes late or shows up poorly cooked? The temptation is to blame the waiter, but there are a world of cooks behind those swinging doors, and Ruhlman marches you right into it. It's a world where, when everything is going right, time halts and consciousness expands. And when a few things go wrong, the earth begins to wobble on its axis. Ruhlamn has the writerly skills to make the education of a chef a visceral experience. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YAAThe Culinary Institute of America is known as "the Harvard of cooking schools" and many of this country's best-known chefs are graduates. Ruhlman enrolled as a student with the intention of writing this book, which begins as a chronicle of the intense, high-pressure grind of classes and cooking. However, it turns into an engrossing personal account as, his every effort critiqued, the author determines to become a student and not just impersonate one. YAs will enjoy Ruhlman's anecdotes about his instructors and his classmatesYsome of whom are still in their teens. The appendix offers a chart showing the course work for associate degrees. This will appeal to anyone aspiring to a career as a chef as well as to those interested in food preparation, presentation, and the restaurant industry in America.APatricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book shows the demanding schedule required of those who wish to attend the hands down best cooking school in America, and possibly the world. It should be required reading for all who want to cook for a living.
I like that Ruhlman goes into detail about the life philosophy of "Mise en Place", French for Things in Place. The term, in its strictest sense, means to have all of your ingredients chopped up and arranged logically, all of your pots, pans, and utensils ready to go. In a more general way, it means to be organized and professional. Good term, that.
Anyway, it's a good peek into the kitchen. Enjoy!
The book is a reporting on Ruhlman's taking an abbreviated version of the full curriculum at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), where only the President of the school and a few select senior instructors know of the author's real role at the school. This means that when the author did attend classes, he attended the full class, from start to finish, and was expected to perform as well as any other student. While the CIA has many of the appearances of a liberal arts college, it is much closer in practice to a trade school. One symptom of this is that the stocks produced by the basic kitchen skills classes are then used by other classes at the school and they are used by each of the four restaurants run by the school for students, faculty, and outside guests. In a sense, this is a mix of trade school and graduate school, where it is expected that no one will do work worthy of a grade less than a B-.
The epiphany that reveals how serious the culinary profession is about uninterrupted service comes early in the first year when the school is hit by a serious snowstorm and the author considers whether or not he should attempt the difficult trek into the school.Read more ›
More specifically, the author takes us through the CIA, from weeks spent in Sanitation and Skills and a plethora of other courses, to one week in the best restaurant in the Culinary Institute's portfolio. Along the way, we learn about the hard-charging personalities who become Chefs (with a capital "C"), we hear alot about different kinds of food (and what it takes to prepare them really WELL), and, above all, we become inspired to get more deeply involved with whatever we are doing in the kitchen. Even if it is just our own home kitchen.
The world of great cooking is theatrical and exacting and a lot of darn hard work. There are only three ways to learn about the premier training ground for this fabulous profession: pay a ton of money and become a student there, take a tour if you are visiting in the area, or buy this book.
Or, for that matter, do all three. But start with the book.
Buy it now.
Most recent customer reviews
Very good description of the trials of being in Culinary school, and what it takes to succeed. But there are times when this story seems to drag on a little bit too much. Read morePublished on June 15 2006 by Andre J. Blanchet
Being curious about becoming a chef I found this book and read it cover to cover without stopping. I found the book to be a great look inside a CA school and it answered many... Read morePublished on Dec 29 2003
This book tells all about what it takes to be a great chef. All the long hours in the kitchen, putting soul and love into food and showing how to appeal to one of the greatest... Read morePublished on Sept. 26 2003
If you are in the culinary field or studying the profession, this book will give you a lot of information necessary to making a great chef. Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2003 by Josie
This book is what it's like to attend culinary school. It's hot, tiring, on-your-feet-all-day work, and anyone that thinks cooking in a professional kitchen is fun and glamorous... Read morePublished on June 24 2003 by A. M. DeAngelis
I agree with the other reviewers who have some problems with this book. First, I don't think the book is very well written. There are some clumsy passages. Read morePublished on April 12 2003
I think that the subject of cooking school is definitely one worthy of a book. If another book comes out about it, I'd probably read it too, in hopes that it would be better than... Read morePublished on April 6 2003 by Amazon Customer