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Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  949 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
An alluring, evocative summer voyage on the Mediterranean and into the enchanting seaside towns of France and Italy by a young American chef aboard an Italian billionaire couple’s spectacular yacht

Having begun his cooking career in some of New York’s and San Francisco’s best restaurants, David Shalleck undertakes a European culinary adventure, a quest to discover what it
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published May 22nd 2007)
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Quick review for a read I took my time with over the course of the past several weeks. This was a book recommended to me by my co-worker on a master chef's journey down France and Italy's coastlines while cooking for a well to do Italian couple. David Shalleck's journey started through eyes of a hopeful chef willing to learn all there was in a different country with some degrees of culture shock, but after a few opportunities fell through (not to mention some reality checks in the way of people ...more
Jul 23, 2009 Helen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Rhonda, Brooke, Melissa, Tara, Kristin, Ashley
This book was amazing simply because I never expected such a good read.

I picked this book up at the beginning of summer. The cover blurb was something like it was a vacation without leaving home. I admit I was influenced by the front cover. Just looking at the gorgeous blue water and the home situated on a sheer plunge was a vacation in itself.

So it sat beside my bed. I would shuffle past it in my quest for another book to read. I was 'saving' it.

Well let me say that once I opened it I could no
Leslie Jenison
Feb 03, 2011 Leslie Jenison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a person who loves cooking and sailing, I was pretty sure this book would be a fun read. I was not disappointed. The story of a young man looking for his identity as a chef, as a human. After bouncing around in several parts of the states, then Europe (particularly Italy) he is hired by a wealth couple to cook on their 100+ foot sailing yacht. He is expected to function as both chef and crew-member. His working quarters are a cramped galley with a less-than-optimum galley stove. His female bo ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 50-in-2009, food-lit
Mediterranean Summer has everything I love in a book- travel, history, and food. Shalleck melds several years of adventures as a chef on a yacht into one summer. Much of his time is spent describing the challenges of cooking in a constantly moving kitchen under the difficult restrictions imposed by la signora, but every now & then you get a glimpse of glorious southern France in the summer.

I blew through the summer in a day due to his easy, approachable writing style and language. He also s
Nickole Backman
Jun 30, 2009 Nickole Backman rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys cooking
Recommended to Nickole by: From my Australia trip to Gretel's
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
by David Shalleck 2007 325 pages

Having started his cooking career in New York and San Francisco's restaurants, David goes to Europe cooking and interning throughout Provence and Italy. He lands a job on the private yacht of a billionaire Italian family. The Serenity is a $5 million ship with a full crew. He needs to cook a new meal each day using fish and no pasta or meat and local fresh produce. The owners fly in for weekends and the month of August. It was a very interesting read. Several reci
Jul 28, 2013 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delicious (in every sense)summer day's read. The Times said (from the cover blurb): "Just put a chef on a yacht on the Riviera and you have a book-sized vacation - an escapist story that comes with recipes and practically generates its own breeze." I couldn't have said it better (or even half so well). David Shalleck doesn't spare us the lows of his career before the success of this particular enterprise. I really liked it and the recipes, detailed and doable, are intriguing.
May 27, 2012 Jennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it. If you have a passion for travel and food, this is an amazing book to read. The food sounds phenomenal and reaffirms my desire to eat my way through Italy. Although after reading this book, I'd really like to spend August on a yacht in the Mediterranean with a personal chef like David Shalleck.
Dec 23, 2012 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved everything about this book. It had something for everyone: travel, food and a taste of life at sea.
Dec 18, 2016 Lehaleha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice book - allows to peek into life of sail yacht crews, chefs and cooks, and super-rich people. All in one bottle, augmented with descriptions of beautiful vistas and delicious things. :)
Apr 19, 2013 Meagan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book four times now. I’m not kidding.

And I loved it Every. Single. Time. I picked it up.

It’s entertaining, gripping, mouth-watering, drool-worthy; much like Kathleen Kelly is “always in agony over whether Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are going to get together”, I always wonder if David will be able to satisfy the demanding la Signora; if he’ll survive the summer onboard Serenity (and what will happen if he doesn't); and how long it will take before Captain Patrick and Mate Kevin will
Kathleen F
I'm a self-confessed addict of cooking shows. I love watching the creative ways chefs encounter certain challenges: cooking with only a small outdoor fire; creating menus for people with food allergies; designing a gourmet dish using spam; attempting to make an omelette with the use of only one hand. It makes great TV.

When I stumbled across this book in my library, I was hooked: it combined two of my favorite genres of nonfiction (travel narrative and cooking) in a very unique way: imagine tryin
This was really good! The writing was impressive (although the author did sometimes seem a little detached) and I learned so much about Italian food, sailing and the day to day work of running and living on a yacht. For some reason I thought this book was just about rich people spending a summer on a yacht in the Mediterranean and while it technically is, since it's told from the perspective of one of their crew, it's still got substance. (Not to knock super-rich yachties, of course. I love read ...more
Beth Harper
One of those reading experiences that was enhanced by reading it during a very snowy, cold, Midwestern winter. Shalleck writes about his five seasons (merged into one for the sake of the book) cooking on a yacht based in the northern Mediterranean. I loved the descriptions of the food, the markets, and the challenges of cooking aboard a ship. His descriptions of the crew are good. He includes a little description of each place the ship visits, but that's not the main focus. Every so often, I was ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part travel, part chef/foodie, and part sailing memoir. Shalleck writes of his exploration of French and Italian culture via his culinary training and then deftly guides his readers on to his experience as a chef and crewman on board a private luxury yacht for a summer traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean.

Having traveled to some of the same places he visits, he reminded me of how stunning the scenery is there and made me yearn for another trip.

His reflections on
Sep 10, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a complete surprise. I bought it by mistake, expecting a travel book about the Mediterranean. Instead, it's a biographical story of a man who is hired as a chef on a private yacht. If I had read the description, I probably wouldn't have even purchased it! But I enjoyed the stories. David Shalleck was candid about his mistakes as well as his successes. I would have loved to hear more about the people and relationships on board, but it was still a nice mix of information about the pl ...more
Jul 03, 2013 Marina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
The perfect summer read, particularly so from a lounge chair on a Mediterranean balcony. I expected something light and pleasant and was amply rewarded and then some! Mediterranean Summer is a delightful account of a budding American chef's adventures on a private sailing boat owned by a very wealthy Italian couple who epitomise style and elegance and expect nothing but the best. There's just enough drama to keep you turning the pages, fascinating views of the worlds of cooking, sailing and the ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
This was a great escape story as we accompany the author on his cooking cruise through Italy. Taking the role of chef on a mega-rich couples yacht, David Shalleck invites us to not only experience his adventures and innovations in cooking but the life of those rich enough to hire a personal chef. A well written story but I think recounting a few moments of levity would have broken up the narrative with what seemed to be a constant theme of anxiety and self doubt about his skills, abilities and o ...more
May 19, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're as obsessed with food as I am, this book is a really, really cool read. Essentially it boils down to this: the author signs on as a chef on a private yacht owned by an extremely wealthy Italian couple. His cooking orders: local ingredients (sourced early in the morning after they make port), and no repeats all summer. This is the kind of thing I dream about: spending a summer sailing the Mediterranean and working with local producers to get the very very best ingredients you can possib ...more
Dec 18, 2011 Jeanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was another great suggestion from Good Reads. A wonderful memoir, travel & cook book rolled into one. Having traveled in the area, enjoyed some sailing & love to cook, I was hooked from the start. It was enlightening to read about the challenges David faced from the planning of menus & shopping for provisions to locating places aboard to store everything before even beginning the cooking process in a small space on a moving yacht. Yikes! Then to have to please, not only the owne ...more
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Aug 21, 2008 Michel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michel by: Kate Bailey
Shelves: travel, food, sea
A satisfying travel book, a riveting sailing story (on a yacht, the chef is also needed on deck with the crew), a fascinating portrait of the ways of the very rich.
There is also some suspense (will there be a mutiny? will the American chef's Italian cooking satisfy his Italian employers?)
But most of all, it's a delicious book about food, with 26 recipes thrown in for good measure.

“Al dente linguine tossed with a touch of white wine, olive oil, garlic, fresh-chopped Italian parsley and hot red pe
Juliette Morris Williams
What a book. A perfect book to sink into on a weekend, for summer reading, to curl up to after a hard day's work - you get the idea. What I loved most about this book was David's infallibly honest approach to a job he took rather quickly (after training all over Italy, he wanted a change before moving forward in his career as a chef - he took a job aboard a luxury private yacht, and this book tells about his adventures). It turned out beautifully for him, and the thoughtful approach he takes in ...more
Paula Weisberger
I enjoyed this book! Travel memoirs continue to be one of my favorites, and I told at least three people about this book in the last week. The author spent a summer as a chef on a luxury yacht, and I really got a good idea of his experience. Loved hearing about the food and recipes, too. In addition to working in a tiny space, with a limited pantry, the owners gave him specific restrictions, such as don't repeat a meal, limited pasta, incorporate local ingredients, little meat, etc. also offered ...more
Jan 09, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to give this book 5 stars because it was just delightful. It tells of the author's journey to becoming a chef which took him through a period as a chef on a private yacht. He actually worked for 5 years on this boat, but the story tells the adventures as one year. Since I like to cook, I enjoyed imagining the food he prepared, watching him shop locally at each port, using what was fresh and in season. The book was also a window onto the lifestyle of the very rich and what it is like to sp ...more
Jul 10, 2011 BJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella" by David Shalleck is a truly enjoyable read for anyone who has ever wanted to travel on the Italian/French Riviera. It has the added enjoyment of Italian cooking and seeing the Riviera from a sailing yacht, who could want for anything more. David Shalleck gives wonderful descriptions of the food he cooks and the small towns and islands that they stop at along the way during his summer of sailing. I loved it and woul ...more
May 17, 2016 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE books about food, travel, and recipes.
This one is about a California Chef accepting a job aboard The Serenity, a yacht owned by it's highly demanding Italian born aristocratic owners. Sailing the Mediterranean , the story chronicled his efforts to please his bosses and their guests, under less than pristine conditions in the galley.
His countless hours of research, preparation, and execution paid off for him....unfortunately, not for me.
I may try some of the recipes though.
"Bum Voyage!"
pepper's mom Ryan
Aug 14, 2007 pepper's mom Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies/traveler/sailors
This books takes you on a culinary adventure all over Italy and France. Having been on many sailing trips myself which involved overly complex menus I related to the challenges presented by cooking in this type of space. This poor guys had to cook on a stove that was not installed parallel to the ships lines and thus had no gimbals! That's just crazy! I somehow wanted more from the food descriptions though and thought the ending was sort of a lack luster "where are they now?" The part with Jacqu ...more
Laura Little
A perfectly delightful summer read detailing an American chef's season aboard a multi-million dollar sailing yacht in the Mediterranean. Shalleck apparently is as gifted with his prose as he is in the kitchen. I loved the gorgeous details about the various locales along the French and Italian Riviera, as well as the lovingly crafted characters on-board and on-shore. Erol Munuz has also skillfully edited this work and deserves mention - many "chef's travels" books are not as swift and enjoyable a ...more
Jul 24, 2010 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An American chef is employed by a wealthy Italian couple to cook on board their luxury yacht. The yacht travels for several months on the French Riviera and continues along Italy's coast.

Fascinating true story of life aboard a yacht & the challenges of cooking for very particular people. The food descriptions are delicious and several recipes end the book. The author's describing the Italian coastline & their fresh foods make my mouth water!
A trip to Italy is high priority!

Travel to Ital
Victoria Allman
Feb 08, 2011 Victoria Allman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who loves the food of Italy and France should rush to get this book. It is a chef's journey through the regions cuisine from a luxury sailboat. The descriptions of food and the region will set your mouth to watering, like only a brilliant chef and writer can.
Between the food and the adventure of the sailing trip you will be. booking a trip by the last chapter
Victoria Allman
SEAsoned: A Chefs Journey with Her Captain
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I am a chef. I specialize in the western Mediterranean style of cooking. It is a very agreeable way to eat. However, I don’t have a restaurant. But I have worked and cooked in just about every part of the food business.

I have been around the arts and the culinary art for a long time. I have a degree in set and lighting design. My mother is a fine artist, my father was a television director, and m
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