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White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  683 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
What do you do when you've just graduated from college and aren't sure what your next step should be? Jenna Weber, whose Eat, Live, Run blog has a huge following, turned to culinary school--but to become a food writer, not a chef. Jenna's charming coming-of-age story follows her ups-and-downs as she confronts the rigors of training, gets her first job, deals with a family ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Sterling Epicure (first published September 1st 2012)
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Sep 06, 2012 Christina rated it did not like it
'White Jacket Required' is depicted as heartwarming narrative of Jenna Weber's culinary journey and begins with how she discovered her passion for the culinary arts as a kid, giving us a sneak peek behind the face of the blogger we have come to know well.

However, one doesn't have to read beyond the introduction before discovering a tale of two Jennas. On page three in the first paragraph the key points in this episode is in direct conflict with her blog's version of these years. Similarly, one d
Lisa Eirene
Aug 23, 2012 Lisa Eirene rated it did not like it
I had high expectations because of all the bloggers I follow, I did think her writing was pretty good. The book is not written well, though. There is very little content and I never felt invested in the story or the characters. Her characters (friends, family) were one dimensional and boring. The story itself was pretty boring, too, and I felt like "why am I still reading this?" the whole time. I never once felt like I got to know the writer or feel any empathy for her because the writing was so ...more
Leah Hortin
Jul 23, 2012 Leah Hortin rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I won an advanced copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads program.

As a book of its own accord, it's just okay. But compared to other bloggers-turned-authors, Weber is a better writer and I would certainly hope so with her English degree. But that also may just be due to the fact that she isn't trying to write a "how-to" book or claim she is an authority on anything (see: Tina Haupert and Caitlin Boyle among others). It's a quick, easy read that is littered with recipes - som
Dec 19, 2012 Victoria rated it did not like it
The only reason I finished this book is because it was over before I made up my mind to give up on it. This was a quick one, only 450 pages in a phone ereader, so maybe 150 pages IRL? I have periodically read the author's blog and enjoyed it as it evolved (I started reading around the time she was working in the bakery), but I don't think she's developed her style enough to make the jump from blog-length writing to memoir/novel-length writing. Also, an editor of any sort seemed to be completely ...more
Dec 31, 2014 kate rated it it was ok
I received a copy of this book as a "first-reads" from Goodreads.

I'll be the first to admit I have a total girl-crush on Jenna Weber. I read her blog daily and find myself constantly wishing we were close friends who could call each other up to hang out, drink some wine, and try out new recipes. I wanted so badly to love her book. But unfortunately for me it was just okay. It's definitely a quick and easy read, but I just felt like something was missing. It seemed a little choppy- too much to te
Harmony Harkema
Feb 25, 2013 Harmony Harkema rated it it was ok
I really, really wanted to love this book. I've read many, many food memoirs - they're a favorite genre - and have followed Jenna Weber's blog for a few years now. I was looking forward to this account of her time in culinary school, and I'm really quite disappointed.

Her writing here - unlike her blog, which is fresh and genuine - was stale and seemed lacking in maturity. As my high school English teachers always said, a good writer should "show, not tell." Jenna tells. The dialogue felt both g
Feb 13, 2013 Lindsay rated it did not like it
I'm a big fan of the culinary memoir and this is one of the weakest I've ever read. The story does not feel genuine, and seems fake and manufactured. I wouldn't even care if the whole story wasn't true-to-life if it was at least well-written, with feeling, details, and description, but it lacks all of these. Weber's story is not believable and there are many inconsistencies and missing pieces. For example, Weber talks of her nervousness and anticipation about starting school but then remarks tha ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Peebee rated it liked it
Really, important for you to change your name post-marriage that your author's name on Goodreads is different than the one you published the book under? Makes me want to deduct another star, especially since she traded a decent name for one that's a little less mellifluous, shall we say....but I digress. I like cooking and cooking shows. I like blogs, especially food blogs. And I like memoirs, so I should have liked this book. But just because someone has a great food blog doesn't me ...more
Jul 26, 2012 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book as a "first-reads" from Goodreads. I was an avid follower of Jenna's EatLiveRun blog a few years ago, and I still occasionally visit her blog to see her latest recipe. I did enjoy this book, as I felt it gave a lot of background into decisions that led her to her current career path that I had followed. It was quick, easy and fun to read. I enjoyed learning about her journey. However, I do feel it could have been better and I wished it could have been better as I k ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I've read Jenna's blog for a couple years now. For all of the hints at the work and time she put into writing it, I expected a bit more.

Jenna just seems more honest in her blog, and takes better care with her subject matter in that media, as well. The book feels a bit rushed-through and superficial.

Also, I personally think that the most remarkable avenues and incidences of Jenna's life thus far have played out since she moved to California--
Jul 21, 2014 Michelle rated it it was ok
Review originally appeared on

White Jacket Required was written by Jenna Weber, the blogger at Eat, Live, Run, which I read on and off. It’s a “memoir” of her post graduate time in culinary school. I say “memoir” because this book only covers the surface of Jenna’s feelings and kind of scans over her time in culinary school. Seriously, this book should have been longer and more in-depth. We only touch on certain points of culinary school
Sep 02, 2012 Krista rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book about following your dreams and having a job you are passionate about. Jenna gives an inside look at going to culinary school in Florida and the opportunities that present themselves afterwards. The book is also full of great looking recipes that correspond to her stories. Jenna's blog was the first I ever read. I found it about 3 years ago and have looked forward to each and every post since. I was very excited to find out she was writing a book and Jenna did ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Jenna rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I received this as part of the GoodReads giveaways.

This book was a very easy and quick read. It would be suitable for a middle schooler if the subject content would be appealing for that age. I felt that there was much to be desired and if written by a more established author would have been more fulfilling. That said, it kept me interested enough that I finished it in very little time.
Joyce Koor
May 19, 2014 Joyce Koor rated it it was ok
Jenny's blog was one of the earlier blogs I followed back in early 2011. I really enjoy her writings especially about healthy eating, so naturally I looked forward to reading her debut book. Sadly, the writing on her coming-of-age was really flat. The tone was a bit pretentious as well... However, the recipes she had included at the end of every chapter seem delicious and simple for me to want to give it a go.
Sep 18, 2012 Jaimie rated it it was ok
I read this book because I've read Jenna's blog for a long time. The book is a quick read with a lot of great recipes. That's where my positive recommendation ends. The dialogue is very forced. There is basically no discernible plot and I just wanted to finish reading it so I could move on. I think there was a lot Jenna could have done with the topics in the book, but the book just falls short.
Rachel Hawes
Jun 27, 2014 Rachel Hawes rated it liked it
As a stand alone book it's a relatively interesting read but if you've read her blog for years as I have you'll notice a lot if contradictions. This is normal, most editors will change timelines etc for better flow but when you've lived your life in the public eye as much as Jenna has it can prove problematic.
While she's no Julie Powell, the section about her brother's death is heartbreaking.
Amanda Snow
Jan 08, 2014 Amanda Snow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of Weber's blog and am only now getting around to reading her memoir. I liked learner about the blogger behind all the posts I love so much.
Sep 11, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
I couldn't get over the mistake on page 12. It's Marion Square Park not Miriam Square Park. Boo.
Dec 31, 2016 Leana rated it it was ok
I loved reading Jenna's blog Eat, Live, Run several years ago so I was looking forward to reading her book. She was relatable and I made several of her recipes over the last few years.

White Jacket Required is Jenna's story of her journey through culinary school. After graduating from university the job market was tough and she wanted to follow her passion to become a food writer. She figured that in order to write about food she should know how to cook good food so culinary school would give her
Liz Waters
Aug 28, 2012 Liz Waters rated it really liked it
"White Jacket Required, A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story" by Jenna Weber is indeed a coming of age story Jenna has a great boyfriend, a loving family and is living the American dream. It is great to have it all, and this young woman does. She is a child of privilege who aspires to be a food writer.

With this goal in mind and after completing her college education, she moves clear across Florida to attend a branch of Le Cordon Bleu where cooking is taught and chefs are created. This book chronicles
Sep 08, 2014 LeAndra rated it did not like it
The author made no secret of keeping a journal to use as material for a book one day. The problem is, no one seemed to realize writing a book is not the same as writing a diary. There was absolutely zero character development in this book, and little to no explanation to go along with the things that were written.

I do not care that the author ate a hardboiled egg and granola-topped yogurt for breakfast one day in 2008. I do care about why the author started a food blog and the ups and downs of
Apr 06, 2015 Shana rated it it was ok
I received this book from the publisher (thank you), if memory serves me correctly, and initially, I was thrilled by the subject matter. (I'm going through a semi-foodie phase, and instead of getting a sports car and a barely legal girlfriend for my mid-life crisis, I've decided that I'm finally going to learn how to cook.)

I had no knowledge of the author's blog before I read the jacket notes, so I came to this book with fresh eyes. Unlike other reviewers who are/were followers of her blog, I c
Sara Palacios
Nov 06, 2012 Sara Palacios rated it really liked it
White Jacket Required follows the uber-popular food blogger Jenna Weber, who writes daily on Eat, Live, Run. We follow Jenna as she graduates from college and wonders what to do next. She decides to pursue one of her passions and enrolls in culinary school – but to become a food writer, not a chef of any type. She conquers the rigorous program, gets her first job waking up in the wee hours of the morning to bake bread, is hit head on with an unexpected family member passing and finds love.

This t
Mar 10, 2014 Kelan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading Jenna's blog for the past few years and enjoy her posts and recipes. Unfortunately, her book was a bit of a disappointment. It was poorly written and doesn't really reflect on the whole culinary experience. Sure she tells stories about her classes, but there is no reflection on what they mean, what she learned from the experience or what advice she would give future students.

A lot of the stories that she brings up have little relevance. I'm not sure why she felt compelled to
Oct 31, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down and read it in two sittings. A friend recommended her blog "Eat, Live, Run" to me recently because she has good recipes and writes about fitness. The author is from FL and grew up in Vero Beach! The book looked so inviting so I checked it out at the library.

I liked her descriptions of the area: centered around tourism and snowbirds but quiet and peaceful between the beach and the Indian River. I want to find out where she did her baking externship in Vero because a
Nov 12, 2013 Amy rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Full disclosure - I didn't get to her first day of class - well I skipped ahead to it while she was talking about running versus not running in the 5th chapter and then was completely underwhelmed by her first day so I stopped reading. Nothing was happening, and it read like a diary (but not in the good, compelling to read more kind of way). The recipes weren't anything special (though maybe they get more interesting as she learns more?). The biggest problem is everything is so cut and dry. She ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Caitlin rated it liked it
I've been so excited to read this book for so long and while I enjoyed it and am a huge fan of Jenna and her blog, I have to say I found myself skimming a fair amount. I liked the recipes dispersed throughout the book at points in Jenna's life when they appeared. But I felt sometimes like the random mentions of food in the book's text were not worked in well enough and just there for the sake of being there, as if she expected she needed to include them. My favorite part of this memoir in terms ...more
Jul 26, 2012 Gina rated it it was ok
I received an Advanced Reading Copy through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

This blogger's first book gives a breezy closer look at everyday life of a foodie who enters culinary school, not to become a chef, but to write about food with a deeper sense of knowledge and passion. Weber does write well about food. Her recipes are basic, easy to follow, simple & tasty. I very much enjoyed the passages when she described dishes she was making in class. Fans of her blog will, undoubtedly, enjoy
Feb 27, 2013 Terri rated it it was ok
This book was weak. The recipes she included sounded good and I do think she knows what she's talking about when it comes to food, so I'm giving the book a star for that.

But her writing needs a lot of work. A good portion of the book read like it was written by a high schooler.

I was hoping to see something akin to Kitchen Confidential but from a female perspective. Instead I got a book that was basically a series of boring blog posts. Every time I thought she was building up to something intere
Robert Hudder
Jan 22, 2014 Robert Hudder rated it it was ok
Another foodie memoir. The breeziness of this book with recipes glosses over some of the more painful and weight subjects. I suppose if she had made more of her brother's death (not a spoiler, it's in the dedication) I would accuse her of navel gazing. This is a blogger turned author writing about her life and chronicling loosely her time at Cordon Bleu.

It is another coming-of-age epiphany story. It definitely has some moments that resonated with me in terms of chasing your dreams. Maybe I am j
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“And it wasn't that I didn't love Rob anymore; it was more like every day since I came home from California I felt like I was losing myself more and and more. And the relationship you have with yourself is the one that you really can't afford to lose.” 3 likes
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