Sweet Trouble

Rants, raves, book reviews and one girl's thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Seasoning of a Chef by Doug Psaltis

The Seasoning of a Chef by Doug Psaltis (with Michael Psaltis) is subtitled "My Journey from Diner to Ducasse and Beyond." I picked it up at a hotel while on vacation as part of a Read It and Return It program which also supports literacy and book buying charities. I had no idea who Alain Ducasse was but I liked the style of first chapter and kept reading.

The first half of this book is grand, the reader cannot help but root for the spunky preteen working for his grizzled diner owning grandpa. The hard working young man, just out of high school and looking for his place in life is just as endearing. It took me so long to learn what I wanted to do with my life that seeing someone else figure that out and set goals, then achieve them made for a wonderful story.

The second half of the memoir made me more melancholy. It was not because of anything happening in the book, which remained well written and engaging. In fact, it was because it was so descriptive that I began to want to see some of these places the young chef slaved away in. I wanted to eat at them and experience them! As I'm unlikely to ever go to Monaco and dine at a Ducasse restaurant it was a sort of bittersweet longing.

I was so fascinated by this new world of international cuisine that I began to wiki and google some of the restaurants and chef's mentioned within. I managed to broaden my horizons about the world of high class food, but I also discovered that it is a rather insular world. Entire online communities exist made up of chefs and food reviewers. I noticed that there is a mixed reaction to this book in those places. I don't know enough about any of their complaints to say one way or another if they are accurate. As a reader unfamiliar with their world I CAN say that I did not feel it portrayed any person or restaurant negatively. Seasoning of a Chef was a fascinating and enjoying read for me. Because of the book I am MUCH more likely to eat at the type of restaurant mentioned. The naysayers should be thankful that Chef Psaltis and his brother are as handy with words as with food and bring new custom to all of their restaurants! Perhaps someday, on just such a trip, I'll get to try a duck confit. (Genre: Memoir)


  • At 1:18 PM, Blogger Michelle said…

    Sounds like an interesting read, I hadn't heard of it before. Thanks!

  • At 2:07 PM, Blogger Talia said…

    Even one reply like that makes me glad I review a book! "Chef" was a fascinating read both for the glimpse into professional cooking and because of Psaltis' narrative voice. Being a person without much drive I was fascinated by someone who really knew what they wanted to do!


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