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Entertaining peek behind the scenes
on 18 April 2014
Michael Gibney's behind the scenes account is in turn sensual, sumptuous, breathtaking and simply frenetic. He's second in command in a busy Manhattan restaurant kitchen. His is the early turn, opening up, overseeing prep, orders etc as well as the actual cooking. This hugely entertaining and informative 'day in the life' record of the minutiae of what really goes on to bring the finished dish to the table makes a compelling read.
I really enjoyed his lively writing style. With the help of a map, he explains the layout of the kitchen and the relevance of each area. It puts much of the later action into context; sets the scene so that the reader can understand the physicality of food going from prep to plate. It's revelatory! He's also a keen observer of people and an entertaining raconteur. He captures the people and atmosphere in the kitchen to perfection in snapshots of conversation or activity.
This book tells it like it is. Down to earth and sometimes gritty, not over glamorous and unreal, 'I'm a celeb chef aren't I wonderful' that some have followed. Anyone with an interest in how a professional kitchen works and who wants to learn more about food, equipment and technique, will find this a rollicking good read.
Thanks to Canongate for providing a review copy via Netgalley.