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"Must Read" books for chowhounds?

What do you guys think are "must read" books for those looking for insight into the restaurant industry, chefs, kitchens, etc.? One book suggested has been Kitchen Confidential - are there others worth reading we well?

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  1. kitchen confidential really is a basic. i know before i started culinary school i read michael ruhlman's making of a chef about the culinary institute of america's culinary program and then followed up with his soul of a chef, about the CMC exam. i just got his third book, the reach of a chef but haven't been able to begin reading it yet. i really love his dedication and his true curiosity into the industry. i would definitely get into reading those. if you're up for blogging on epicurious.com there was a whole little "blog series" on students who go to the cia. other than that, this really doesn't have to do much with the industry, but the book julie and julia was awesome, i literally couldn't put it down. if you have any interest in italian cooking and the workings of a big kitchen, heat was also a great book.

    4 Replies
    1. re: radioactivebetty

      I love Ruth Reichl's books, and Jeffrey Steingarten is great too. MFK Fischer is another one...

      Here is a list of recommended reading from the Le Cordon Bleu Master of Arts in Gastronomy program. I would say it's *quite* comprehensive!

      http://www.gastronomy.adelaide.edu.au...

      1. re: HomeCookKirsten

        I second the recommendation for M.F.K. Fischer. The Art of Eating, specifically.

        1. re: Condimentality

          M. F. K. Fisher is great, but she doesn't offer much insight into the restaurant industry. Neither does Jeffrey Steingarten.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            True! More just general love of all things food related.

            The link I gave of the reading list from LCB is probably a closer match to what someone would want if they wanted more insight into the industry.

    2. Danny Meyer's book, Setting the Table. For anyone interested in the "hospitality" industry, this book should be required reading.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pat Hammond

        This is definately and interesting read. I worked for the Danny Meyer Restaurant Group, and I think his philosophy of hospitality is and "x" factor to success that many very talented chefs haven't considered as to what differentiates a "great" restaurant from an "extraordinary" restaurant. This book is a "must read" over any business "how to" book that culinary professionals should read.

      2. Bourdain recommends a couple of other books at the beginning of The Nasty Bits.

        1. buford's "heat" and ruhlman's book about the cia, "the making of a chef" are terrific reads.

          1. I loved Buford's "Heat". Read it twice. And I am not even in the restaurant business!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Seattle Rose

              Yeah, Heat was very good, although that one part about his stay in Italy almost seemed like a separate story and should have been abreviated or maybe made into another book...just my opinion. :)

              Otherwise, it was great in a can't-put-it-down kind of way.

              1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                I liked Heat, but you are absolutely right, it was two separate books. It was as if he didn't have enough for a full book based on his Babbo experience so he went off to Italy to make it more "meaty."

                1. re: BronxBoy

                  bb may be onto something. buford's original piece appeared in the new yorker where he was a staffer. the italian apprentice stuff expanded on the original magazine piece thus given a measure of added value to those of us who read the original story. i agree the transition was abrupt but i didn't mind. i did find the boozy batali meal at the end to be a bit goofy and, perhaps, gratuitous but so what. just a minor quibble on my part.

                  1. re: steve h.

                    I keep hoping he will make a sequel to 'Heat' where he focuses on French cuisine....