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The Cook Hardcover – 25 Oct 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780876378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780876375
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 962,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A riot of a novel! Gripping and subversive' Nick Cave.

'Irresistible - The Cook reminds us just how exciting it is to read a wonderful and original novel' Lloyd Jones, Man Booker shortlisted author of Mister Pip.

'This brilliant and richly layered book is almost impossible to put down' Sydney Morning Herald.

'a compelling read' Irish Examiner.

'I'm a big fan of this Australian novel ... Jamie Oliver's social conscience meets Anthony Bourdain's sense of anarchy in fiction' Red.

'A deliciously dark satire about foodyism, celebrity chefs and aspiring consumerism' Daily Mail.

'an original, gripping novel that questions the way our society operates. Highly recommended' Farm Lane Books.

'excellent new novel ... Watching Masterchef will never be the same again' Bookbag.

'The narrative of this book is [...] unlike anything you have read. Zac's story zings with the same panache as his food' The Journal for the Law Society of Scotland.

From the Back Cover

How a young man made the cut. At seventeen Zac is given a choice: either go to a young offenders' institute, or enrol in a rehabilitation scheme - a course that teachers juveniles how to cook. He makes his choice. He chooses to cook. He also chooses to succeed. Whatever it takes.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Markbooks on 7 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Take Anthony Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential'. Add a heap of rabid ambition and a glug - no, make that a bucket-full - of gore, and you get, more or less, Wayne Macauley's wildly entertaining tale of a teenage delinquent turned aspiring chef, The Cook (pub. Quercus).
Actually, for all its obvious comparisons with Bourdain's biographical account of his life in the world's high-end, high-testosterone kitchens, it has to be stressed that as a work of fiction, 'The Cook' is entirely unique.
This is the account of seventeen-year-old Zac, who is given the choice of either going to a young offenders' institution or enrolling in a rehabilitation scheme that teachers troubled teenagers how to cook. The more Zac learns, the more he becomes convinced he has found his true calling in life, and the more determined he is to succeed, whatever it takes.
Armed with a copy of 'Larousse' plucked from the kitchen shelves, Zac immerses himself in basic techniques before he becomes, like Bourdain, obsessed with stretching boundaries, until his nascent desire to serve, to please, to succeed, threatens to spiral dangerously out of control.
This is not a book for avowed vegetarians or the easily queazy. There is a lot of fattening and slaughtering involved. Try this bite-sized chunk for size:

'My next challenge was agnelet. Milk lamb three to four weeks old four to five kilos in weight born in winter raised indoors fed milk only the meat very tender and delicate. I moved my lamb pens closer to the house and made three more for my pregnant ewes each ewe a bit bigger that than the next. I got Terry to show me how to spot a pregnant one and the ones I spotted I put in my pens.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
Narrator Zac arrives at a rural outpost to learn to be a cook. The facility is an Australian backwoods version of Jamie Oliver's 'Fifteen' project and is owned by a famous tv chef. Along with Zac are a dozen or so other delinquents all of whom have been sent there by the authorities to try and make something of themselves. Will Zac succeed? Will any of them?

Once you have adjusted to the rhythm of the prose and the punctuation (or lack thereof), you realise that the author has caught Zac's young voice perfectly: "We spend our whole lives being desperate in some way or other trying to please someone the teacher the duty manager the cop the juvenile justice worker always with secret little gestures and thoughts burrowing into their good books but out there in the kitchen that night with four VIPs asking to be served the desperation was out in the open I can't think of anything more honest and the triumph at the end was something to treasure and once you've felt it well."

But be prepared: this book contains some explicit descriptions of butchery. Those without strong stomachs may well wish to avert their gaze from the 'fluffy-lamb-to-loin-chops' passages.

Wayne Macauley is clearly a talent to watch. The authentic prose style of The Cook makes it a challenging but rewarding read with one of the most surprising endings I have read in a long time. Hmmm...a vegetarian dish for supper tonight, I think.
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By H. O'Sullivan on 8 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
I won this book in a competition. I don't think I would have bought it as the front and back covers do give the impression this is only a book for readers interested in cooking or chefs. Far from it!

At first, I found it hard to get into the story because I found the almost complete lack of punctuation marks terribly annoying. They do, after all, exist for a reason, i.e. to clarify the meaning of written sentences. I did understand that the author was employing this method to bring the character of Zac, and his way of thinking, closer to us, but still... terribly annoying. Who knew it, though, that not that far into the story, same becomes so captivating and the book so un-put-downable, that I almost managed to ignore the lack of Comma & Co.?

Anyway, it is fair to say that in my four decades of devouring books, I have never read anything so original and unpredictable as The Cook. Whilst I did have a growing feeling of something distinctly "not good" developing within the plot, nothing could've prepared me for the jaw-dropping final pages. If you're going to read this book, DO NOT skip to the end!! You will only spoil your own entertainment, if you want to call it that.

In my humble opinion, this book is a must-read and I would be genuinely surprised if it's not picked up by book clubs near and far in the immediate future. I found it a brilliant read and will give this book as a present to a number of friends. Enjoy!
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By M. M. on 27 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book will leave your stomach grumbling (provided you're not a vegetarian) and is a fun read for foodies.

However, I felt the book was lacking in most parts, with only a very minimal part really getting you immersed into the story.
I often felt bored, however, the book does leave you feeling somewhat inspired (if you minus the abrupt and unusual quick ending).
The style of writing is original, however it can get very confusing and tedious. Macauley writes in a style that refuses to incorporate basic grammar, such as commas, which often leaves you confused and constantly back-tracking sentences to decipher where the sentence breaks up.

The ending is what spoiled it for me, I felt it was too absurd and quick.

Nonetheless, an interesting read, and if you are into food, you'll like some of the parts and it might get you inspired in the kitchen.
If you are looking for a good fictional read... move on.
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