A snapshot of the process on either side of the kitchen door.
Secrets from America's Leading Critics, Chefs and Restaurateurs
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page
Paperback - 400 pages (October 1998)
John Wiley & Sons (T); ISBN: 047129277X
Dimensions (in inches): 0.94 x 9.12 x 7.45
List Price: $29.95 Our estimated Price: $19.16 Order
|Publishers Weekly: Anybody who has ever dreamed of joining a restaurant critic's inner
circle will thoroughly enjoy this gossipy, insider's view by the 1996 winners of the James
Beard Book Award for Best Writing on Food (Becoming a Chef).
Interviews with leading critics and restaurateurs are a major part of the authors'
investigation into the methods employed by critics and the effect they have on
restaurateurs' culinary ideals. It's a (relatively) serious topic, but one Dornenburg and
Page address in a vibrant, conversational tone. Thanks to the unexpectedly dramatic lives
of the characters involved, the pages buzz with often surprising tension, humor, and
Readers hear from restaurateurs who have staked fortunes on a creative vision, only to
find that success often rests in the hands of a single, highly-opinionated, sometimes
unpredictable writer. The critics meanwhile (most notably The New York Times' Ruth Reichl,
teasingly shown on the cover wearing a face-obscuring hat), don wigs to maintain
anonymity, fend off attacks from knife-wielding chefs, and eat such dubious delicacies as
braised goat penis and worms fried in lard. After being regaled with so many tart and
entertaining observations, the final 100 service-oriented pages (Internet review sites,
critics' favorite restaurants in selected cities) are somewhat anti-climactic. But just
treat them like the after-dinner mint and the rest of the meal will get high marks for its
appealing presentation, spice and color. 50 photos.
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