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The Kitchen and the Cook

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  75 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Nicolas Freeling, best known for producing some of the finest of modern crime fiction, began his working life as an apprentice cook in a large French hotel, and continued cooking professionally for many years. Here is his memoir drawn from these experiences, a blend of the culinary and the literary, and includes recipes.
Paperback, 350 pages
Published May 31st 2002 by Big Cat Publishing (first published December 31st 1970)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 30, 2008 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anthony Bourdain fans, Foodies
I ran across this in the footnotes of one of Bourdain's books as an inspiration for Kitchen Confidential. The first book, "The Kitchen Book", reads much the same-- an entertaining biography of a cook in post-war France and England.

Much of the book is the very entertaining minutiae of keeping a decaying French hotel or a ill-conceived restaurant afloat. In both cases, Freeling writes candidly of his professional short comings and how they're dampened or amplified by the various personalities orbi
Jul 25, 2012 ^ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Happy cooks and catering students
Recommended to ^ by: My mother
I absolutely loved “The Kitchen Book”, but found “The Cook Book” a bit more of a ramble.

Freeling’s turn of phrase is sharp and pithy as he describes his early career working in kitchens; “he was quartering boiled potatoes with of all things a long ham knife” (p.92, KB). What a wonderful picture?! One feels that there is much wisdom within the pages of The Kitchen Book. And much give and take; “All cooks like to show off virtuosity, and restaurants encourage them since it is good publicity. The
David R. Godine
May 18, 2010 David R. Godine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, food
"Nicolas Freeling is the author of two of the best books about cooking in the English language. The Kitchen Book and The Cook Book have long been favorites of mine. That they will appear under one cover, with the original illustrations, is fine news indeed. I can't help regretting that Ludwig Bemelmans is not here to see this new edition of his good friend's prose. The two men were strangely alike in their abilities to describe the true joys of cooking and eating like civilized human beings."
— M
Rogue Reader
Aug 22, 2014 Rogue Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a comfortable apprenticeship and with a good start, Freeling spent 15 years in hotel kitchens and kitchens throughout Europe where ever he could pick up work. Hilarious narrative of some grand old hotels where the system reigns supreme - from process to price, the system keeps staff, costs and food all in line. Some unforgettable characters eking out yet another dish from bits and pieces - croquettes, stews and soups. The kitchens themselves, often so antiquated that I wonder how it was po ...more
May 06, 2008 J rated it it was ok
Shelves: bio-memoir, funny
Entertaining snapshots of life as a cook in the old French ‘System’. Frequently referred to in Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.
May 26, 2008 Thorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i just love books like this. "kitchen confidential" mid-century france, and elsewhere.
Jul 28, 2011 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodstuff
I am a huge fan of Freeling's crime fiction, the characters, the sense of place, the quality of the writing. These memoirs of his early life as a cook in European restaurant kitchens are wonderfully written and give a vivid picture of post War life, society and food.
Nov 21, 2010 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Well written tour of the kitchens of Europe as a working cook, 2nd half is about how to cook. Both tales are told in a conversational manner, that speaks directly to the reader.
Jun 11, 2010 Aya rated it it was ok
Sorry Mr. Bourdain, this book didn't quench my thirst as an entertaining read. I did not finish reading it.
Avis Black
Mar 11, 2008 Avis Black rated it did not like it
Shelves: food-and-cooking
One of the few culinary memoirs I've read that was---genuinely distasteful. There are better memoirs out there.
Micah rated it really liked it
Jul 14, 2011
Jason Touloupis
Jason Touloupis rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2013
Rick rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2009
Shasta rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2015
Tommy rated it really liked it
May 29, 2014
Cynthia D.
Cynthia D. rated it liked it
Jan 01, 2014
Cornelia Prescott
Like most of Mr. Freeling's books this has a sprightly pace and offers charm and intrigue.
Candy rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2012
Doug rated it really liked it
Aug 21, 2012
Ricki rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2010
Ellorashree Maitrra
Ellorashree Maitrra rated it liked it
Feb 12, 2008
Gary rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2016
Chandler Groover
Chandler Groover rated it liked it
Sep 26, 2009
Reed rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2011
Goran Matković
Goran Matković rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2016
Mary rated it it was ok
Jun 19, 2011
Feb 23, 2013 craige marked it as to-read
Shelves: wishlist
Recommended by Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential.
Blake rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2008
Niles H
Niles H rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2013
Beth rated it really liked it
Jul 08, 2009
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Nicolas Freeling born Nicolas Davidson, (March 3, 1927 - July 20, 2003) was a British crime novelist, best known as the author of the Van der Valk series of detective novels which were adapted for transmission on the British ITV network by Thames Television during the 1970s.

Freeling was born in London, but travelled widely, and ended his life at his long-standing home at Grandfontaine to the west
More about Nicolas Freeling...

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