Monday, October 31, 2011

Spiced (The Kitchen Reader)

It's time for another Kitchen Reader book! This month's was Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials By Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes On in the Kitchen by Dalia Jurgensen, chosen by Libbi of Domestic Wandering.

I wasn't expecting to like this book, because for some reason I thought a memoir would be boring. And yes, some bits I wasn't too interested in the outcome of (relationship stuff? Surprisingly not my thing), but generally it was great. It actually made me want to become a pastry chef, until the rational part of my brain piped in with "No Emily, we've already done that and it wasn't as fun as you expected". Which brings me to the point that I don't think I've ever mentioned on my blog that I started a traineeship with an Italian pastry chef. But I digress!

The whole leaving-my-desk-job-to-pursue-my-dream thing is a bit hackneyed, but I wasn't quite as irritated by it in this book because it's actually real life, not a terrible film storyline. It also seems like nobody ever learns anything in culinary school that is of real value to working in a professional kitchen. Regardless, I really enjoyed the book, and got through it exceptionally quickly, which probably means I was more sucked in to the story than I anticipated. I would recommend this to anyone who is curious about what its like working in a kitchen. In my experience, the chauvinism and dysfunction are a bit hyperbolic in the book, but its definitely a good read.



Fran {The Flavorful Fork} said...

You should definitely write a post about your experience training with an Italian pastry chef! I am sure it would make an interesting read.

perudelights said...

I agree with Fran, you should tell us about your traineeship experience with a pastry chef.
I´m sure it would make an exciting reading.

Katherine Martinelli said...

I'm happy to read your review! I'm new to Kitchen Reader this month. I agree the basic premise is a little "done," but I also had to remember that she did that about 15 years ago, before that was a cool, acceptable, normal choice. Also, having interviewed many, many chefs and asking them if they recommend culinary school, most agree with Jurgensen that the real learning doesn't start until you're in the professional kitchen. But I think culinary school is great for those with little or no experience, just as a confidence booster. And I find the same to be true of many professions - the real education for teachers, for example, doesn't start until they are teaching.

emily jane said...

Katherine - that is such a good point! I hadn't considered culinary school like that, although it makes so much sense. Also it hadn't occurred to me to even look at when it was published. Let's blame it on exams frying my brain :P

sarah said...

I found myself sucked in, too. I enjoy reading about home cooking more than restaurant cooking. I wasn't too bothered by her relationships either and I wondered what happened to her family. Why weren't they mentioned? So, perhaps you should write about your pastry chef experience?

Stephanie said...

i would LOVE to read about your pastry experiences!