Four Kitchens

Four Kitchens : My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris

3.39 (780 ratings by Goodreads)
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Conceived in the spirit of Kitchen Confidential and Heat, FOUR KITCHENS is the first book in which a young woman takes readers inside the hyper-masculine world of restaurant kitchens. Lauren Shockey decided to quit the 9-to-5 grind, take out massive loans, and attend cooking school. At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren learned a lot but mostly that a real culinary education begins once you're actually working in a restaurant. After a disappointing start in rural France Lauren hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four kitchens around the world. She starts in her hometown of New York City, where she works under the famed chef Wylie Dufresne and then heads to Vietnam, Israel, and back to France, each setting presenting its own set of challenges, from language barriers to stronger-than-usual resistance to a woman in a professional kitchen. As she grows into a more accomplished and confident cook, the reader follows the yearlong challenges and adventures of one extremely bright and restless young woman against a background drama of restaurant life
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 146 x 216 x 30mm | 472g
  • Grand Central Publishing
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0446559873
  • 9780446559874
  • 749,960

Review quote

"What makes the book come alive are the stories. Shockey clearly understands what it takes to get along with the varied and often ego driven personalities. . . The four kitchen adventures are challenging and Shockey makes the most of each one. The smells and rhythms of the countries permeate her writing, as does her appreciation of what she is learning."--Jewish Book World "Kitchen memoirs are common enough, but how many are composed by actual writers? Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey is one of them, well enough written that it can stand next to Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. The prose is smooth and free-flowing, exciting enough that you'll race to the end of each section. What's more, like any good travelogue, we learn more about these places than we would from a guidebook-and pick up a wealth of cooking tips along the way, along with valuable insights into why chefs go through what they do to become chefs."--Robert Sietsema, author of The Food Lover's Guide to the Best Ethnic Eating in New York City "An insider's ode to all the sweat, blood and tears that goes into the finest meals of the world, told with reverence, affection and honesty. Lauren Shockey is a fearless chef without borders, and her appetite is infectious."--Cathy Erway, author of The Art of Eating In "Kitchen Confidential meets Eat, Pray, Love; Shockey's book is full of heart and humor and is essential reading for anyone who plans to work in a restaurant kitchen."--Adam Roberts, creator of The Amateur Gourmet "Aspiring cooks will love following Lauren's trials and tribulations as she immerses herself in each kitchen's microcosm, and shares the lessons she learns."--Clotilde Dusoulier, author of Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris and founder of Chocolate and Zucchini "With Four Kitchens, Lauren Shockey immediately establishes herself as an adventurer and raconteur-and as one of the most appealing food writers of her generation."--Amanda Hesser, co-founder of and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook "An American woman's transcultural education and discovery that an unpaid culinary apprenticeship is 'not just a culinary experience' but 'a human experience' . . . reveals the pride and frustration of learning and mastering innovative as well as classical approaches. In her travels-which included enduring hierarchical, occasionally sexist commentary in New York and Paris, sampling challenging (to her Western palate) fare in Hanoi, or rediscovering casual dining in Tel Aviv-veteran foodies and Top Chef fans will recognize the tedious prepwork and the burden of performing over long hours . . . She provides convincing evidence that immersion can be the fastest, most effective route to learning. As she remarks at several points, culinary school did not prepare her for what she encountered. Realizing that few chefs actually spend time behind the burner and that the role is often managerial created disappointment, but led to the rewarding affirmation that home-cooking is a passionate, inspiring, valid outlet. Each section includes recipes, many of which translate to the average kitchen. Cooking for clientele and friends alike, Shockey highlights the importance of hands-on, communal involvement-food as nourishment with 'soul' rather than high artistry."--Kirkus Reviews "Rich descriptions of coworkers and locales accompany her main theme of struggle and growth, and recipes inspired by items on the menus of the restaurants she worked further enhance it. . . . Just as her talent and skill earned Shockey respect in the kitchens in which she worked, her unique memoir will garner her favor from the world of food writing."--Booklist "This interesting blend of history, culture, cooking, and travel is highly recommended for any lover of literary travel writing. Those who enjoy cooking will learn through her experiences and be inspired to try Shockey's kitchen-friendly recipes featuring the spices and flavors she discovers along the way."--Jane Hebert, Orange Cty. Lib. Syst., Orlando, FL, Library Journal "Four kitchens, four countries and four delicious adventures from a young cook with moxie. So many food lovers have dreamed of cooking their way around the world, Lauren actually did it! Luckily for readers, along with her knives, she traveled with a sense of humor and an ear for a good story."--Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table "A charmer, an honest and good-humoured behind-the-scenes look at life in the kitchen, very much in the vein of Bill Buford's Heat or Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential." --The Globe and Mail "Something hot to read this summer."--The Providence Journal
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About Lauren Shockey

Lauren Shockey is a food writer and cook based in New York City. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times Style Magazine, Gastronomica, Slate, ELLEgirl, Chile Pepper, Interiors, amNY, Brides, Page Six Magazine and Zink, among others.
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Rating details

780 ratings
3.39 out of 5 stars
5 15% (118)
4 29% (226)
3 39% (305)
2 14% (107)
1 3% (24)
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