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Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as…
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Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook,… (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Bill Buford (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,627804,447 (3.78)81
Writer Buford's memoir of his headlong plunge into the life of a professional cook. Expanding on his award-winning New Yorker article, Buford gives us a chronicle of his experience as "slave" to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali's three-star New York restaurant, Babbo. He describes three frenetic years of trials and errors, disappointments and triumphs, as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from "kitchen bitch" to line cook, his relationship with the larger-than-life Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters, and his immersion in the arts of butchery in Northern Italy, of preparing game in London, and making handmade pasta at an Italian hillside trattoria.--From publisher description.… (more)
Member:jeff.coatsworth
Title:Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
Authors:Bill Buford (Author)
Info:Vintage (2007), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:2022-04 #17

Work Information

Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford (2006)

Recently added byJayLivernois, private library, cameronbolt, dabmaster, GRVC, lscan2, lamington, jeff.coatsworth, paatk
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» See also 81 mentions

English (78)  German (2)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
This book was fascinating. ( )
  heytoomey | Jan 20, 2022 |
I enjoyed this. I read Dirt first and that was better; more alive and personal. But this was still a fun read! I wish there was more Buford to read. ( )
  jcoleman3307 | Oct 7, 2021 |
One of my favorite books last year. Nearly made me want to quit my job and move to Italy to apprentice as a butcher. ( )
  JohnNienart | Jul 11, 2021 |
Actually, I only got a little over halfway through the book before I realized I had lost the momentum. It was really entertaining at first, but a lot reminded me of Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential without the cred. I couldn't help but start getting frustrated that Buford did not deserve the privilege and luxury of jumping from station to station in the Babbo kitchen just because he felt like it--especially when his colleagues had been busting their balls for years (and were largely getting it right where he failed). The bits on Batali's life were interesting for a while, but those began to peter out, and I did like the food history well enough, but not enough to keep going. Also, why only Italian food? The only reason Buford cites as his concept for this book/experience, as I recall, was his being an avid amateur cook and wanted to see what it was like to work in a professional kitchen. Is it just because of his in with Batali? It seems that if he knew Batali, he must have known other chefs. Was it because Babbo was so prestigious? Was it because Batali was getting his ego stroked on the premise that Buford would be writing a piece on him for The New Yorker? Was Batali the only chef willing to let this guy in? And all this led to further fascination with the particulars of Italian food? Perhaps it's all revealed in the chapters I won't be reading. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
2.5. Read this before Dirt, unlike me.

Parts of this book are cringe worthy given the recent Batali sexual harassment scandals but with an anthropologist's safe harbor Buford does document what he sees and perhaps this book ended up, in some small way, serving as an informal indictment of Batali and that bad chef boy behavior. To be fair, that behavior is not Batali's alone and Buford documents the same culture patterns in nearly all of the kitchens that he works in including in his later book on France.

I dined at Otto a few times a month for many years and I did enjoy the food and the scene but what I remember the most was the warmth and professionalism of the staff in the front of the house. Well that and the constant flowing free wine which may have also clouded my perspective. On reflection, it's disappointing that a highly regarded team under Joe B. could have allowed this type of culture to prevail in any of their restaurants. It makes me wish upon them those creeping, stultifying corporate culture norms that I endured for years and which finally abolished many of these outrageous behaviors from most corporate US work environments. I seriously doubt the food would suffer.

A final comment, in 2020 the book now reads like the Trump Woodward tapes. What was Batali thinking? Did he get an advance copy before publishing? I guess the lure of being documented by an established writer for years on end was too enticing and there he ends up, alone in Michigan, hoisted up by his haunches and fastened tight by his own ego. This story is a tragedy in 4 acts and only the first 3 are documented in this book. If you do read Heat follow it up by reading the recent news articles. ( )
  skroah | Dec 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Buford, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Batali, MarioSubjectsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, Marco PierreSubjectsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kramer, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jessica ... che move il sole e l'altre stelle.
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The first glimpse I had of what Mario Batali's friends had described to me as the "myth of Mario" was on a cold Saturday night in January 2002, when I invited him to a birthday dinner.
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Writer Buford's memoir of his headlong plunge into the life of a professional cook. Expanding on his award-winning New Yorker article, Buford gives us a chronicle of his experience as "slave" to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali's three-star New York restaurant, Babbo. He describes three frenetic years of trials and errors, disappointments and triumphs, as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from "kitchen bitch" to line cook, his relationship with the larger-than-life Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters, and his immersion in the arts of butchery in Northern Italy, of preparing game in London, and making handmade pasta at an Italian hillside trattoria.--From publisher description.

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