The Seasoning of a Chef

The Seasoning of a Chef : My Journey from Diner to Ducasse and Beyond

3.18 (80 ratings by Goodreads)
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The fascinating diner-to-Ducasse true story of a young New Yorker's meteoric rise from his grandfather's Greek diner in Queens to the kitchens of some of the world's greatest restaurants.

Meet the man Alain Ducasse called “the best cook in my kitchen”—Doug Psaltis, a culinary Horatio Alger, whose stubborn passion for perfection and dogged idealism propelled him from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of the food world. Doug began working at his grandfather's diner in Jamaica, Queens, when he was just ten years old—barely big enough to haul a sack of potatoes. His next real restaurant job, following a brief stint in college and some time spent in Colorado kitchens, was in Huntington, Long Island, his hometown. Drivingly ambitious and hardworking, he would travel into Manhattan on his days off to work, often for twelve hours or more without pay, in some of New York’s premiere restaurants.

He eventually was offered a regular job at David Bouley's new restaurant, Bouley Bakery, where he worked six days a week with double shifts at one of New York’s hottest and most acclaimed restaurants, often leaving the house before dawn and returning home to grab a couple of hours of sleep before taking the train back into the city. From there he went to Alain Ducasse New York, which eventually won four stars from the New York Times. Doug caught Ducasse's eye and was selected as the first American chef in the Ducasse empire and the chef to lead the next Ducasse restaurant in New York, Mix. Running the kitchen of Mix was both a dream job and a formidable challenge. Doug guided the restaurant through many crises in the face of mounting pressure and tension from all sides—before an explosive conclusion. After leaving Mix, Doug was offered a job working for Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, arguably America's restaurant mecca, where he helped lead the kitchen with Keller. Today, just past thirty, he is starting a whole new chapter in a remarkable career—a seasoned chef at last.

Filled with rampant egos, cutthroat kitchen politics, and settings ranging from Monte Carlo to Paris and Napa Valley, The Seasoning of a Chef is a real and rare glimpse into the food industry. More than anyone until now, Doug Psaltis reveals vividly and honestly the hardships, sacrifices, and dreams of glory that are all part of becoming a great chef.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 294 pages
  • 149.9 x 210.8 x 27.9mm | 362.88g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0767919688
  • 9780767919685

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Review quote

Advance Praise for THE SEASONING OF A CHEF

“I have never read a better book about the passion and commitment and mind-boggling energy it takes to turn oneself into a world-class chef. I think coal mining or putting out fires in oil fields would be easier work. The book has all the markings of a classic text.”
—Pat Conroy

“The Seasoning of a Chef is riveting—it’s the ultimate insider’s account. But it’s not about cooking. It’s about obsession. Doug Psaltis rose to the top of New York’s food chain because of his relentless, almost unnerving, single-minded quest for perfection.
Wherever Psaltis is cooking, I’m eating.”
—Patricia Volk, author of Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family

“The long hours, the cuts and burns, the personal sacrifices – all are part of The Seasoning of a Chef, and all well-documented in this chronicling of Doug Psaltis’ professional journey from a Greek diner in Queens to celebrated restaurants in the culinary stratosphere. This book shouldn’t be missed by aspiring culinarians wanting to know what the behind-the-scenes life of a chef on the rise is really like.”
—Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, James Beard Award-winning authors of Becoming a Chef, Culinary Artistry, and The New American Chef

“Chef Psaltis has been on a glorious and exhilarating ride through some of the world's top kitchens, and as a result has risen right to the top. This is a thrilling gastronomic bildungsroman; a work that will gust you along with its passion.”
—Charlie Trotter
“Doug and Michael Psaltis' book has the energy, passion, and adventure of a well-written novel. This book rings of truth from beginning to end and should be required reading for anyone who wonders what it takes for a great restaurant chef to rise to the top of his or her profession.”
—James Villas, author of Between Bites: Memoirs of a Hungry Hedonist

“Like any great insider account, it brims with intriguing tidbits about various players and politics in the restaurant world.…An appetizing indulgence for anyone who's ever wondered about the workings of a world-class kitchen.”
—Publishers Weekly
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About Doug Psaltis

Doug Psaltis is the executive chef of a Manhattan restaurant that opened earlier this year. Michael Psaltis is a writer and literary agent in New York City. He and Doug are twins, and they live in Manhattan.
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Rating details

80 ratings
3.18 out of 5 stars
5 9% (7)
4 28% (22)
3 42% (34)
2 16% (13)
1 5% (4)
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