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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living the dream - however painful
We've all shouted at the telly "I could do better than that". We've all begrudged the daily trudge to the same office job. At some stage you've got to live your dream - and Lennie Nash does just that. Well he has a go anyway. A tabloid journalist and secret foodie, Lennie jacks in the day job to follow his dream of being a chef. He soon realises it's a younger man's...
Published on 31 Dec 2011 by bailed

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3.0 out of 5 stars An insightful read
This book takes a fascinating and very honest look at the world of the professional chef, as seen through the eyes of the author. It tells of the difficulties of starting a new career in mid- life, as well as revealing the truth of those celebrity chef owned restaurants. All in all, a very entertaining and informative read.
Published 11 months ago by J E Hargan


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alex Watts is Required Reading, 5 Jan 2012
This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
Down and Out in Padstow and London should be required reading for anyone who has ever dreamed of leaving the monotony of the 9 to 5 rat race to open their own restaurant. Alex Watts' book recounts his journey of giving up a well-paid secure lifestyle in his early forties to start again as a commis-chef in search of the ultimate dream, a restaurant by the sea. You may know his alter-ego Lennie Nash.

I thought that perhaps the book should be required reading for all chefs just starting out in college too. In retrospect, at that stage of life those students probably need more encouragement than a big gulp of common sense so carefully administered by Alex.

The story engaged me because I share Alex's dream of my own restaurant, mine a bistro and not by the sea. Anyone who has considered giving it all up knows how to feign interest when friends say that the idea is crazy, pretends to listen when loved ones explain the costs to social life and perhaps health and ignore naysayers who don't have enough imagination to see the potential new life as a chef patron. But I can't dismiss Alex. His life cannot be ignored.

Alex takes the reader with him from bistros in London, to hotels in Padstow, to a certain Michelin Temple in Berkshire, very briefly into the machine of the Ramsay Empire and to a James Bond film (yes truly). He describes the rituals, the humiliation and the trials as he finally crosses his own Rubicon into the fiery furnaces. I felt like I was there with him and I know all the people that he met. His tales are stark, honest, vulnerable and told with a no nonsense matter of fact dose of here's how it was. I imagine that his food tastes honest like his words do.

When I finished the book I was both uplifted by the ending of Alex's own walking off into the glorious sunset and disappointed and empty too. It wasn't the book. It was me. I knew, unlike the family and friends well-meaning advice I could not silence Alex.

But here is the beauty of his book, it never once told me not to, it didn't speak down to me and call me an idiot for having the dream in the first place. In fact, the more I dwelled on Alex's transition from life to dream life the more I was inspired. Alex's journalistic objectivity explains reality yet doesn't discourage or disparage the readers' own ideals.

Alex carefully leaves the reader in a position of eyes wide open and should the reader's dream fail, could rightly say "I told you so". I just don't think he would. Instead he'd nod sagely and tell you to get up of the mat and try again. And also to raise a glass to Keith Floyd.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
A great read for any aspirational chefs. An eye opener.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read !!!, 23 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
I could not put this down. Excellent read. Very open and honest account of a quest to be a chef. I hope the author eventually fulfils his dream.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A chef's life, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
as I am a chef myself have been through all the misery and got the tee shirt what a wonderful and funny read
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real kitchen tale, 22 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
A fantastic read. I was a bit sceptical at first the idea of a perfectly normal, sane, journalist giving up a good job to become a chef. Especially as I spent nearly 20 years in the industry. Although I admit I pretty much loved every minute.

I have to say after reading it I can recognize every thing he went through. Though I started at 18I have to admit it made me miss the bis. I would definitely recommend this book. And kitchen confidential, by Anthony Bourdain.

I have just bough the sequel and can't wait to start reading it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An insightful read, 16 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
This book takes a fascinating and very honest look at the world of the professional chef, as seen through the eyes of the author. It tells of the difficulties of starting a new career in mid- life, as well as revealing the truth of those celebrity chef owned restaurants. All in all, a very entertaining and informative read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
although I found the abrupt ending a bit odd. Felt a little like the author just went 'Oh I'm bored of this now'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Un-put downable, 26 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
Alex is a journalist. He writes superbly well. He also has a great story to tell - the one of his journey to become a professional chef. It was absolutely fascinating getting a first hand account of life inside a professional kitchen. Human drama in the raw. And what an amazing insight into the mad world of celebrity chefs!

If you want to really know what it's like on the other side of the kitchen door, read this book. If you want a really gripping and funny book to enjoy this summer, read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting take on travel/ cookery book, 25 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
I must say I was suprised by this book.. it was amusing in parts.. the bit about Masterchef was really funny and in others it was quite informative.. some of the dishes the author cooks in his various travels and jobs are really top notch. I enjoyed reading about his jobs and lifesytle.. I know catering is hard work but i didnt realise just how hard it was.No wonder a lot of people give up. Well worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Must read for sofa foodies, 23 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)
Great behind the scenes expose of what really goes on in restaurants. Fascinating and repulsive in turns. Ill never look at certain tv shows or chefs the same. Not sure I'm happy to have the magic slightly tarnished. If you like cooking, reading restaurant reviews or aspire to visit Michelin star restaurants you'll love this book.
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