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JGV: A Life in 12 Recipes

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  25 reviews
One of the most influential chef-restaurateurs of all time reflects on a career defined by surprising, delicious food.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten was born into a coal-business family in rural Alsace. He didn’t enroll at a top culinary program. He was kicked out of high school at age fifteen. How, then, did he find himself apprenticing with the most renowned chefs, opening re
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  110 ratings  ·  25 reviews


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Laurie Dickey
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
So interesting! But only if you love to cook. I do.
Andréa
Jun 28, 2019 marked it as to-read
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher at ALA Annual 2019.
Anya Zhang
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book in a WWNorton Goodreads Giveaway, so thank you for this amazing read! I loved this book because I love food and food channels, and this book had elements of a food channel in it, in my opinion. I loved the description of the food, and sometimes, the food that Jean-Georges Vongerichten described would be so vivid in my head that I would have to eat something. This book is just the right amounts of touching, humor, and inspiration. Each part of the book really spoke to me, and I wa ...more
Susan
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Three and a half. The book was enjoyable when JGV was writing about his childhood and how he got started in the restaurant business but became tedious once he hit the big-time. A lot of back-patting and descriptions of the daily minutia of running his many restaurants. I enjoyed reading more about his personal life than whether or not the new Executive Chef was properly trained.
Lauren
I enjoyed this book very much. Learning about him along with specific recipes that not only impacted him of his upbringing, but what was going on, made these dishes extra special. The reasons, and the actual guidance of how to make the dishes, made it seem as if he was right there with you as the dish is being made. Him growing from his own mastering of French cooking to what his own form of cooking that has made him world renowned is inspiring. Food and New York have always shown that everythin ...more
Deirdre
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lot here for people who want to become professional chefs and/or open restaurants all over the world. How to know and handle guests as well as staff, plus how to know the importance of cleanliness. These attributes are as important as learning how to cook, how to taste, how to season. There is contained herein some very good pointers for the home cook who wants to become better than just being able to whip up a meatloaf. If nothing else, that cook might learn enough innovation to create a supe ...more
Ash
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting autobiography that I never would have read if I hadn't won it in a giveaway. I like how the author punctuates every few chapters with a recipe that relates to that period of his life. The recipes themselves were pretty interesting; it's not just a list of ingredients and instructions, but descriptions of flavors and aromas, explanations on why certain ingredients pair well together or why certain techniques work better than others, etc. I like how he encourages the reader to pause ...more
Maineguide
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
A nice overview of his career, from early years to the present. It’s well-written (Michael Ruhlman) and interesting. The interspersed recipes are fully annotated, so kind of fun. The only reason I gave it three stars instead of 4 is that it is very poorly edited (multiple sections repeat what was said, sometimes almost verbatim, earlier in the book); also, I would’ve liked a little more about the impact to JGV’s life—good and bad—being so successful. He mentions briefly the failure of his first ...more
Glen U
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Easily the best chef biography I have read. Not too much self aggrandizement, not too much personal history that had nothing to do with the theme of the book (food) and a clear and concise timeline but written with great appeal for the cook and foodie. His love of food, his views on what it takes to become a great chef, and his travels and influences are done extremely well. An excellent read, especially for those who love the adventure of exploring the world and it's cultures through their food ...more
Oren Mizrahi
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
i originally thought this had been ghost-written, but upon getting through a few pages, i came to the realization that i would pity a man who writes so poorly for a living.

in my attempt to swallon chef memoirs, i set out to read this book. it’s not something really anyone needed to write or read. jean-georges doesn’t have anything interesting to say or any engaging life stories to share.
Peyton
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won this ARC through a goodreads giveaway. If I hadn’t won, I would have never read this book. Boy am I glad I did! I really enjoyed reading this book. Jean-Georges Vongerichten has led a fascinating life. I loved reading the stories behind his creations and the people he has met.
Carol
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vogerichten's view on cooking and life made for a great read. You should never stop learning and don't be afraid to combine new and old techniques. I won't be trying the recipes(most are to heavy for me) but they sound amazing. ...more
Suzi
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A totally fun book. I have never been to the kind of restaurant that Jean-Georges Vongerichten runs but it is interesting to read about. Would never attempt the recipes in the book (I can't cook) but they sound so delicious. ...more
Vicki Lee
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
JGV has amazing energy, opening restaurants through the world and persistence. It makes me want to sample his restaurants. I just discovered he created molten chocolate cake and is included as one of the twelve recipes!
Nancy
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads, memoir
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
A very enjoyable read. Not that I will ever make any of the recipes here it was interesting reading the processes behind the dishes.
Timothy
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy food, I think you'll enjoy reading about JGV and his culinary route through life. ...more
Stephanie Sztanski
BRAVO JG!

Wonderfully written from the heart and soul of the chef/restauranteer himself. A bit repetitive at times, but that’s just fine.
M.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-reads
It was a good read.
Molly
Dec 19, 2019 added it
good.
Namrata
Love cooking! It’s one of my favorite pastimes apart from reading! Love to cook with my daughter as well!
Camille Pum
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in the giveaway and fell in love with the story! I was humored, inspired and left with a satisfied mindset.
Peg Lotvin
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Just because you are a famous chef, according to you, does not mean you have to write a book. And your 12 recipes are mostly just wierd.
Csimplot Simplot
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!
Karen
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible life and work. As a huge lover of home cooking, I would recommend this fine dining book to all.
C.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I've long been interested in JGV's food and been intrigued by the little I knew of his background. So it was a pleasure to get a deeper dive into both his life and his food.

I liked the structure of the book. Breaking things up with the 12 recipes was logical and I think it worked well. It brought the food front and center. And, after all, it's all about the food in the end, isn't it?

All that said, the prose was a bit rough around the edges and sometimes the narrative felt clunky. I didn't feel
...more
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