The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen
Michael Ruhlman has enjoyed a long love affair with cooking and food. His explorations of kitchens and the professionals who call them home led Anthony Bourdain to call him "the greatest living writer on the subject of chefsand on the business of preparing food." But ev...more
“The work is hard; no one’s forcing you to be here. If you don’t like it, leave. If it’s too hard, if you can’t do it, we’ll find someone who can — nothing personal — but service starts at 5:30 and there’s a lot to do.” (p.119)
It gave me pause because it made me realize that this applied to every work environment and not just a restaurant kitchen.
I know it’s a little unrealistic to compare a restaurant kitch ...more
The reader is granted an inside look at restaurants the average person will probably never get to actually eat at--and reading about the details of the chefs who founded them and the menus/venues they've created is (almost) the n ...more
This book helped me understand the differences between a chef like Jose Andres and a chef like Barton Seaver -- they're passionate about food in different ways, and those differences are amplified out in all aspects of their careers, both in and out of the kitchen. This book was published in 2006, with most of the research and writing a ...more
“Reach” came across more as Re-Visiting episodes of “The Soul of a Chef” and “The Making of a Chef” than a book unto itself. Which isn’t a bad thing. If you’ve read the other two, you’ll find plenty to feed your interest in the restaurant world, and in the larger picture of our times
I get it: chefs have it hard. Chefs are tough. But if I hear one more time about how chefs must "be unusually driven just to stay alive", I'm going to use this book as fuel to cook marshmallow!
The whole behind-the-kitchen stories was interesting when Bourdain came out of the closet. It was touching to read how tough Achatz had it. But I think I've ...more
They are excellent craftsmen
They are innovators – they do something that no one has done before
They are ”on-trend” – innovations perceived to be of value; people buy their stuff; they aren’t tragic and misunderstood, appreciated for their innovations after they’re dead
They are influential – others begin to do what they started
A good phrase, “on the bus and in the right seat.”
Thomas Keller (F ...more
1) I started this book, but when it got sluggish I set it aside in favor of reading Catching Fire. When I was done with Catching Fire, I had no desire to return to this title, so instead I went forward with Mockingjay, happily.
2) I skipped/skimmed about 100 pages in the middle of the book. I think it's either the entirety of Section III, or both Section II and III.
I liked The Soul of a Chef quite a bit, and expected more from this title. Instead, Ruhlman talked about himself far ...more
Ruhlman's sketch portraits of Grant Achatz from A ...more
I loved The Soul of a Chef; the wider focus of The Reach of a Chef was less intense and so less riveting, but I liked it a lot. Ruhlman's writing is crisp ...more
An interesting update on the American restaurant world, but just not as arresting as his first 2 books. In fairness, perhaps that's because the subject matter isn't as romantic compared to the first 2 books (i.e ...more
The first half/third is more of a set up, putting things into context -- cooking schools and how they've changed with the way cooki ...more
This is the third in a series, following MAKING OF A CHEF and SOUL OF A CHEF. I didn't read the first two but from reading reviews by others, I gather that the first two were much better than this one. I didn't read the first two, but found this a very entertaining and informative read. Did skim over large sections because it went into much more detail than I needed about the peculiar antics of given chefs. Certainly did not endear me to the world of celebrity cooking or working in the kitchen ...more
I appreciated the sections dealing with the CIA more than some of the latter specific restaurant and individual chef bios. There were some interesting pieces of overview of the restaurant business which were also quite interesting. I'm curious how there isn't a show on the Food Network wh ...more
I'm not sure that I'd recommend this as a book of his to start with (you'll have much more fun if you've read his previous work) but his style is, as always, great fun, and there's lots of excellent food geekery.
--"on trend": innovation perceived to be of value, people buy; not tragic, misunderstood, or only
--influential - others copy
Cases: Thomas Keller of French Laundry & PerSe (NYC)
Melissa Kelly of Primo (Maine + Tucson Marriott)
Grant Achatz of Alinea (Chicago)
Masayoshi Takayama of Masa (NYC)
Ruhlman grew up in Cleveland and was educated at University School (a private boys' day school in Cleveland) and at Duke University, graduating from the latter in 1985. He worked a se ...more