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Prick with a Fork

3.07  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Kitchen Confidential meets He Died With a Felafel in His Hand in this laugh-out-loud hilarious expose of the restaurant industry.

A hilarious and horrific dissection of the restaurant industry from the waiter's point of view, Prick with a Fork is a statement rather than an instruction! This gorgeously written treat combines the gritty take-no-prisoners attack of Anthony Bou
Paperback, 312 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Allen & Unwin
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3.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  192 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Nat K
3.5★s for me.

”Beware. That way there be dragons – or at least people hilariously called celebrity chefs.”

Not only is the title of this book clever, it’s filled with amusing anecdotes from the foodie world. Larissa Dubecki waitressed for ten years in various establishments, and this book is the result.

A really fun read. It’s interesting to look back on the various food fads and fashions that have come and gone. The cuisine du jour. Once upon a time food used to purely be fuel to run the body. No
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The cover of this book has a quote from John Birmingham; An 88-course degustation of cruel wit, horrifying confessions and humour that cuts deeper than a mad chef's blade. Never has a book been summed up so accurately in just one sentence, so I might as well pack up and go home now.

I'm not a foodie, but I do like horrifying confessions and those - well, I got those aplenty. Trust me when I say don't ask about chefs with carrots, or the secret ingredient added to an espresso (but let me tell
Alex Cantone
…waiting tables is a young person’s game, like enjoying the music of Katy Perry, saying ‘like’ as a form of punctuation, and midriff tops…

In this wickedly funny satire, Australian food critic Larissa Dubecki lifts the lid on Melbourne’s restaurant/café industry - as viewed by waiting staff – dumping on well-heeled customers with a false sense of entitlement; chefs who open restaurants but lack business savvy; ethnic Australians employing relatives as a form of sheltered workshop; the rivalries;
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more. It had a great premise, and I think all the material for a good book was there, but it didn't come together. It would have benefited from a clearer structure - it started chronologically, but then moved into loosely themed chapters (some of them quite confusing) before returning to a semi-chronological structure with some related commentary thrown in. Most of the chapters read more like a series of columns thrown together than a cohesive whole.

Apart from the book
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Prick With a Fork is a funny, lighthearted expose of the food industry from the point of view of a disenchanted waitress turned restaurant critic.

From almost killing a stripper with a wayward steak knife to staging go slow's to frustrate obnoxious customers, Larissa Dubecki claims she was the world's worst waitress, unashamedly sullen, insolent, disinterested, and often hungover, yet she spent over a decade waitering in everything from cyber cafe's to gastro pubs throughout Melbourne.

In Prick
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I love the title! I have a son who works in hospo and he sometimes tells me stories of the customers and their interesting behaviour, so when I saw this I thought it might be a bit of fun, and it is. This is the story of the behind the scenes doings at restaurants and bars the author has worked in as a waitress. This book is guaranteed to make you think twice before you send your food back! It is entertaining and funny in parts, occasionally the stories fall a bit flat but some of the anecdotes ...more
I always knew I could never work as a waiter for so many reasons. Larissa's tales validates every one of them. I did find myself wishing she would talk more about how her background in hospitality affected her approach to reviews - if at all. In fact I found myself wanting to hear more about her current career as a good writer than her stories from twenty odd years ago. Actually, can you really remember many things in detail from that long ago? I think that's what I found most frustrating - that ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Hilarious and uncomfortable all at once. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to eat out the same way again - now that I know what goes on in the kitchen. This is a great book if you feel like a belly laugh!
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoy reading Larissa Dubecki's reviews in The Age and Time Out but this account of her prior career as a waitress left me a little cold.

A couple of these anecdotes and opinions are amusing, some fall flat and a few are borderline offensive.

Marketing this as Kitchen Confidential meets He Died With a Felafel in His Hand does a disservice to both of those excellent books.


(Have I become a hard marker or am I making poor reading choices this year? Stay tuned...)

Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Very entertaining book about hospo life. Pretty much on the money from rude customers, to crazy chefs. Mirrors my experience and explains it for the layman in very funny terms. Sometimes the writing was a little over the top, and I found some of the stories hard to believe (plus I can't believe the author worked in so many establishments). It was also a little all over the place structurally. Recommended if you want to know why you should never open a restaurant.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: d
This barely gets 3 stars and only because I really like behind-the-scenes books, especially of food related subjects. Quite frankly, Dubecki just isn't as funny as she thinks she is. Her attempts of humor lead her to digress, frequently, and I found myself skimming portions of the book. This book is a weird hybrid. It's not really a memoir, because you don't learn anything about Dubecki and it's not really a tell-all about her career because she never deep dives into the various server jobs she' ...more
Pelin Amy
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
The content can be fairly humorous and gives a behind the curtain look at hospitality that some will enjoy.
Overall though I felt it dragged on a bit too much and I was hanging for it to finish by the end (I struggle to leave books unfinished in case the end redeems it).
Alex Rogers
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Initially quite fun, I got bored with it quite quickly. The whole "disaffected with the world but not motivated enough to do my job properly" schtick got tired fast. Mildly amusing, lightweight read.
Jim Skinner
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A. Suiter Clarke
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full book review and interiew with Larissa Dubecki can be found on my website.

Prick with a Fork (the best book title ever) is being released today, August 26, 2015. It's the first book by food critic and journalist Larissa Dubecki, who has work published in The Age (where she was the chief critic for six years), Time Out, Gourmet Traveller and Guardian Australia. Dubecki's memoir isn't about her years as a food critic, though. Instead, Prick with a Fork is 300 pages of hilarious, dark, and twist
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
The world's worst waitress spills the beans.

I know biographies can be a little dry, but this one was extra dry. And it's meant to be funny! The name! Genius! I skimmed bits because I just wasn't that interested. I wanted funny tidbits and customer reactions and instead I got philosophical musings.

I have to disagree with the World's Worst Waitress title. She was probably more in the sphere of World's Most OK Waitress. Sorry Larissa, but I've had worse.

And that octopus story nearly killed me. I ph
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Well, isn’t it fun to review a reviewer?!

Larissa Dubecki, restaurant reviewer, tells of her time when she was at the other end of the waiting game, in her memoir, Prick With a Fork.

Before dining at over 1400 restaurants (and having “…an ongoing battle with 5 kilograms that came along for the ride uninvited…“), Dubecki claims she was the world’s worst waitress. Dishing the dirt on ‘waitering’, she shares stories from her time working at various restaurants and cafes, including a dodgy Mexican joi
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm really not sure why I picked this book up - I'm so far from a foodie, and while you can't have grown up in Melbourne in a The Age reading household without having seen Larissa Dubecki's name all the time, I've never even read one of her columns. But, pick it up I did, and it was a fun and almost guilty pleasure of a book.

Perhaps part of my enjoyment was that I (along with every other student) worked in cafes for years while studying, and smirked knowingly through much of it. The other part
Jesse Coulter
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Apart from having one of the better titles in recent memory given the subject matter, this book delivers like a silver service waiter running on durries and half a point of speed; brimming with energy, a little dishevelled but razor-sharp. It’s mostly hilarious, with a few sad/shocking anecdotes in there for good measure, and anyone who has ever worked in hospitality at any level will find themselves nodding their heads in kinship. The sporadic tales from random contributors break up the text ni ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I won this book as part of a Good reads giveaway. This book is promoted as an " 88 course ( don't know where that comes from) degustation of cruel wit, horrifying confessions and humour that cuts deeper than a mad chef's blade". I would agrees with the wit and the confessions but the humour didn't resonate with me. It was a mild lip curling but no belly laughs or wide grins.

Even though this book was a reflection of the hospitality industry as the author experienced I didn't like the chapter abou
Meredith Walker
“Prick with a Fork” is the first book by food critic and journalist Larissa Dubecki. Rather than write about her time as critic (which would probably have been more entertaining), she tells of her years working as waitress in a range of cafes and restaurants. Its base content and sometimes cruel humour makes its appeal transitory. Some behind the scenes stories are truly interesting and humorous to those unfamiliar with the industry, but when talk turns to things done to customers, it is hard to ...more
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This book certainly opened my eye as I've never worked in the hospitality industry and I wouldn't call myself a foodie. I found the book funny, enlightening and sometimes a little scary. Warning...the author's opinion on food allergies may offend. I'm going to pass this book on to a waitress friend, who I know will be able to relate to it more than me. I was lucky enough to win this book.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the insights into the hospitality business from a waiters perspective. A collection of very amusing stories of Dubecki's experience as a waitress over many years. At times shocking and mostly hilarious.
Elaine Charker
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: related
For anyone who has ever been a waitress/in the "hospitality" industry from the 1980's to 2000. Hopefully, the industry has changed for the better!
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hilarious horror stories from the restaurant world
Sonia Bellhouse
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Not as amusing as the blurb suggests- some industry insights- not quite what I was expecting
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
After an initial slow start, I found this to be a surprisingly good read
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you ever wanted to know what really happens at restaurants, this is well worth the read. Gave me fond memories of John Birmingham's He Died With a Falafel in His Hand.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Got to page 96 and thought, 'I don't care enough to keep reading.'
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Larissa Dubecki has been a restaurant critic and food writer for the past ten years, including six years as chief critic for The Age newspaper and The Age Good Food Guide. Her work has also appeared in Gourmet Traveller and Guardian Australia, and she currently writes a weekly restaurant column for Time Out.

She has appeared on MasterChef a number of times, and has been a judge on Iron Chef Austral