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The Main Dish (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Ruhlman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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  • Length: 31 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

Michael Ruhlman, author of best-selling books about professional cooking and chefs, and best-selling cookbooks with such chefs as Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, and Michael Symon, turns his reporter’s eye and engaging style on himself to answer the question, “How on earth did I get here?” In an unlikely and unplanned series of chance connections, and work often motivated primarily by fear of poverty, he managed to carve a unique place for himself in the increasingly obsessive world of restaurants, chefs and writers. In this Kindle Single, Ruhlman charts his unlikely course from child cook-writer, to writer, to neophyte at The Culinary Institute of America, to his arrival in the kitchen of The French Laundry, one of the finest restaurants in America, and beyond.

Michael Ruhlman is the author of nine non-fiction books, two cookbooks, and the co-author of eight cookbooks. He has been a regular contributor to The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, a frequent Judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and writes a popular blog at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 130 KB
  • Print Length: 31 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009ECEO16
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #369,285 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read 25 April 2013
Michael Ruhlman is always an interesting and entertaining writer and this is no exception. Well worth your time and money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How did he do that? 23 Sept. 2012
By Nursecooksomm - Published on
Verified Purchase
I always wondered how he did it? How did he become a food writer, get to write for/with the likes of Keller and Ripert? Now I know.

While it is nice to benefit from the experience of your parents, I have much more admiration for the person who takes off in their own direction and figures it out as they go along and that is precisely what Ruhlman did. Seems like the struggles made him better. He writes this piece with the tone of someone who had a gris gris in his pocket and was granted all of his wishes. It almost seems as though he still doesn't appreciate the fact that he had enough sense to work hard and make some really good decisions that played a large role in his success. Very humble and leaves me with no regret about purchasing a large number of his books. I truly enjoy his writing style and always learn something useful from his musings.

I went to culinary school and then sommelier training after reading Making of a Chef at the old age of 42. I loved every minute of school but clearly, I am too old to start a career as a chef. And don't give me that line about how you are never too old to do anything, especially if you have never set foot in a professional kitchen in your life. It is a young person's game. If I knew when I was younger what I know now...sigh. Anyhow, my point is that after 21 years as a nurse, I am still trying to figure out how to use my culinary education to do what I love and make a reasonable living. Reading this short piece by my favorite food author has given me some ideas about how to create awesome opportunity of my own. Thanks, Ruhlman!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I never intended to be a food writer" 21 Sept. 2012
By J. Chambers - Published on
Verified Purchase
Author Michael Ruhlman begins this fascinating mini-memoir with the words "I never intended to be a food writer." But a food writer he is, after following a very rocky road to success, being on the verge of bankruptcy several times while struggling to stay afloat and keep his marriage alive.

Today it's hard to remember when Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and cooking shows all across cable TV weren't so wildly popular. But Ruhlman began his writing career before all this, when it wasn't so easy to sell another cooking show on TV, much less a book about cooking. Trying to get permission to attend the Culinary Institute of America school in New York, and his harrowing drives through winter blizzards to get there were excruciatingly painful. Fortunately for all the foodies out there, he persevered and made it, with first The Making of a Chef (the CIA book that began as a book about cooking and morphed into the story of what you had to know to become a chef), followed by The French Laundry Cookbook, about cooking at a famous Napa Valley restaurant.

Along the way, Ruhlman left intriguing little tidbits about his life:

* At Duke University, in a writing course under celebrated author Reynolds Price, he learned about the key to home security systems (and no, I can't repeat it here!).

* As a 16-year-old, food had everything to do with losing his virginity.

* The part of a tuna you absolutely don't want to eat.

Today, with more than a dozen books about food to his credit, Ruhlman is at the top of his game, one of the best known food writers in the world, and it's hard to believe that he never intended to be a food writer.

Kudos for a fascinating account of a food writer's long journey.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story From a Great Writer 21 Sept. 2012
By F. Hughes - Published on
Verified Purchase
How can it not be great coming from Ruhlman? A nice short story of how it all began...once upon a time a nice (?) boy from the Heights... buy this will love it! Now Michael, can you help me score a reservation at The French Laundry?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Addition to the Ruhlman Catalog 21 Sept. 2012
By ACookInProgress - Published on
Verified Purchase
Just finished reading this about ten minutes ago (does it still count on a Kindle to refer to it as a "page turner"?). Similar to the rest of Ruhlman's nonfiction cooking series (The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, and the Reach of a Chef)the author blends his entertaining prosaic style with practical, realistic descriptions of the peaks and valleys of the food world. Yet simultaneously, "The Main Dish" offers a more personal look at Ruhlman's ascent to food writing success.

In addition to focusing on the kitchen lifestyle or the world of cooks, Ruhlman describes the evolution of both his family life and life as a writer.In many ways, it serves as a nice "behind the scenes" to his other food writings. While in "The Making of a Chef" one reads a response to Chef Pardus' challenge to get to the CIA's campus in the midst of a blizzard, Ruhlman's profane and humorous recounting of the story in "The Main Dish" shows the resonance of the chef's message and it's lingering effect on Ruhlman's cooking philosophy.

On a purely practical level, it was strangely refreshing to read of Ruhlman's early days - from early financial troubles to traveling, family in tow, defying bodily damage on the snowy roads of the Northeast to simply get to the CIA. As a young cook balancing a relationship, finances, schooling, and a kitchen job, it helps to see both the high points (writing for Keller, a James Beard-award winning book) and the low points. Thanks to Ruhlman for another great (albeit short!) book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Ruhlman 10 Oct. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
Michael Ruhlman is one of the few writers I know who can take a true story and make it every bit as compelling and suspenseful as the most tensely plotted work of fiction. This mini-memoir of how he became a writer, and specifically a food writer, is a quick and extremely enjoyable read, packing action, suspense, humor and a bit of romance into the equivalent of 31 printed pages. Even knowing that everything worked out okay in the end (you know, so far) I found myself glued to my Kindle screen worrying whether Ruhlman and his young family would survive a series of potential catastrophes that could have ended in anything from abject poverty to actual death alongside an icy road somewhere between Ohio and New York. (The harrowing description of that particular incident will be with me for a long time.) Highly recommended!
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