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Compliments to the chef...,
This review is from: Down And Out In Padstow And London (Kindle Edition)First things first, I bloody loved this book. I was two-timing it with a P G Wodehouse novel for a time and 'Down and out...' won me over and made me finish it off first. An addictive mistress indeed, I dare say I'll sneak back greedily for second helpings.
Down to business, the book centres on a forty(ish) year old hack, fed up with Fleet Street, hell bent on ditching the day job and making a living from cooking. Starting with a blagged stint in Padstow at Rick Stein's place and taking in the odd bistro, gastro-pub, hell-hole and Heston Blumenthal's three-starred Fat Duck.
Watts provides us with a fascinating view of the other side of the kitchen door, of the frequently insane environments from whence our dinners came. More than this, Watts is a protagonist so engaging that we truly take this journey with him, we feel his ups and downs as if our own, we celebrate his successes and mourn his failures.
We are dragged through the 18-hour days, the learning curve so steep it's near vertical, the nutters, and the mind numbing nonsense with a deft and class that makes the read exhilarating, exciting and exhausting.
This book is worth reading just because it's a damn good story, if you've ever held a flame for life in a 'real' kitchen, hankered for your own restaurant or even flirted with applying for Masterchef, it's required reading.