'Tough Cookies' essentially gives mini-biographies for four of the most significant chefs cooking at the moment: Gordon Ramsay; Heston Blumenthal; Shaun Hill and Marcus Wareing. Wright was an inspector with the AA Restaurant Guide and has spent some time in the kitchen himself, which I guess makes him more qualified than some to write this book, however, I did have some real difficulties with it.
As the book is only about 200 pages and as it includes an introduction, Wright's own kitchen experiences and an afterward, you might appreciate just how `mini' these biographies actually are. Then there is the fact that if you have read Ramsay's `Humble Pie' or `Playing with Fire', the whole section on Ramsay is somewhat redundant.
Then there is the choice of chefs. Why these four? This is never really explored. It was great to read about Heston Blumenthal, who came across as charming and inspiring (especially as he is self-taught.) I can also understand that his cooking has been incredibly influential. But Marcus Wareing and Shaun Hill??? They might be very nice people, but charismatic isn't the first word that springs to mind. If Wright wanted to choose a `Ramsay protégé' why didn't he choose Angela Hartnett and at least shown that women are equally as capable of achieving Michelin stars. The `spectre' of Marco Pierre White also haunts a couple of the chapters and I found myself wondering why Wright has chosen not to write about the most influential chef of the last thirty years.
This is a pleasant enough book, the writing style is nice enough but I'm not quite sure what Wright was hoping to achieve.
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