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Old 06-20-2015, 11:11 AM   #1
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Not a cookbook but a book about cooks

Has anybody here read Bill Buford's "Heat"?


A lot of people decide to become cooks because they think a professional cook works like it is shown on TV... Cooking a little, chatting a lot, opening a drawer, showing prepared ingredients, waiting till the cameraman has found the best postion to show what was in the drawer, chatting a lot, welcoming some celebrity, shaking hands etc. etc.

Many of these TV fans are hopelessly overstrained if they try to work in a restaurant. Buford's book might save them from making a huge mistake...

What do you think?


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Old 06-20-2015, 11:16 AM   #2
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I don't think anyone believes what they see on TV is what happens in a professional kitchen. I believe anyone who watches professional chefs on TV have a reasonable idea what happens.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:47 PM   #3
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I agree with Andy. I don't think it's very common for TV fans to then go to work in a restaurant, and it should be obvious that cooking in a home kitchen, which is primarily what TV hosts do, is very different from cooking in a restaurant kitchen.

I've read that book, though, and it was very interesting.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:31 AM   #4
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Yes. I read that book a long time ago. It was very good.

I'll have to dig it out and reread it.
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joachim View Post
Has anybody here read Bill Buford's "Heat"?


A lot of people decide to become cooks because they think a professional cook works like it is shown on TV... Cooking a little, chatting a lot, opening a drawer, showing prepared ingredients, waiting till the cameraman has found the best postion to show what was in the drawer, chatting a lot, welcoming some celebrity, shaking hands etc. etc.

Many of these TV fans are hopelessly overstrained if they try to work in a restaurant. Buford's book might save them from making a huge mistake...

What do you think?

Excellent book. My brother gave it to me several years ago, and I passed it on to someone else. Not that I wanted to in the first place, but after reading that I'd never set foot in a professional kitchen - not as an employee anyway. It just about has to be in your blood to put up with all of that abuse to learn the ropes. Professional chefs are the ultimate tyrants.
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Old 06-21-2015, 08:59 PM   #6
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Never read the book, but I will look for it.
On the other side of this, I 'spect that some cooks/chefs watch the tv shows about chefs and reckon they should treat their employees in a similar manner. My daughter went to work for a local cook who, years ago, had a great reputation. When he moved his restaurant to Main Street, he apparently had a major change in his business model.
Nowadays, instead of focusing on making great food, he is all about the money, i.e. much smaller portions and higher prices. The biggest change is in his demeanor to his employees. Needless to say, my daughter no longer works for him and his clientele has diminished to mostly out of town folks. I know I will never set foot in his establishment again and I have known him for nigh on to forty years.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:17 PM   #7
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From a link that Aunt Bea shared yesterday

“Working with Monsieur Pépin taught me that you should treat your cooks like you’ve known them your entire life. When you walk into your kitchen, they should not be filled with fear but instead inspired to try their hardest not to let you down.”

Dave Becker, Sweet Basil, Needham, and Juniper, Wellesley; Massachusetts

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Old 06-21-2015, 09:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
From a link that Aunt Bea shared yesterday

“Working with Monsieur Pépin taught me that you should treat your cooks like you’ve known them your entire life. When you walk into your kitchen, they should not be filled with fear but instead inspired to try their hardest not to let you down.”

Dave Becker, Sweet Basil, Needham, and Juniper, Wellesley; Massachusetts

+1

I've eaten in several restaurants with open kitchens and the atmosphere is not like the book at all. I don't know if it's just New York, or if it's out of fashion now, but I don't think it's very common for chefs to abuse their staffs.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
From a link that Aunt Bea shared yesterday

“Working with Monsieur Pépin taught me that you should treat your cooks like you’ve known them your entire life. When you walk into your kitchen, they should not be filled with fear but instead inspired to try their hardest not to let you down.”

Dave Becker, Sweet Basil, Needham, and Juniper, Wellesley; Massachusetts


I love Sweet Basil!!
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Old 07-02-2015, 03:18 PM   #10
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I plead guilt for having been a dreamer myself. I was inspired to become a cook when I saw the re-run of a German TV show about an anglophile banker... It was an adaptation of J.M. Simmel's "Es muss nicht immer Kaviear sein".

Es muß nicht immer Kaviar sein (TV Series 1977– ) - IMDb

At the end of each episode the hero gave a cooking lesson and I wanted to be as cool as he was...
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