Book Club: The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman

Publication Date: October 15th, 1999

Rating: 2 Stars

Michael Ruhlman is first a foremost a writer, he “enrolls” in The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to write about his experience. This means, he is not a chef and has no experience in the culinary field prior to entering this rigorous program. This book is DENSE, especially for someone with limited cooking knowledge and vocabulary such as myself. I am not, and don’t pretend to be, the chef in my own house; sauce from a can is more than sufficient for me and I do not find myself seeking out restaurants to find the best “palate enhancing” meal. This book was definitely a struggle for me.

I did enjoy the story as Michael got into the kitchens and begun to experience a “restaurant-type” atmosphere. The relationships he outlines briefly provide respite from the otherwise heavy culinary descriptions. The immense physical work and speed Ruhlman portrays as being necessary to pull off a lunch or dinner service did stir fleeting excitement and gave me intriguing insight into the intense world of chefs. But, the book lacked the storyline to make it enjoyable for the average reader as many of the concepts were otherwise lost on me. Although, the brown sauce debate of brown roux versus pale roux does have me googling what widely accepted answer is…


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