Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; the soulless catering factories that helped pay the rent; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a difficult and prickly marriage that nonetheless yields rich and lasting dividends.
Out of the Frying Pan: a chef's memoir of hot kitchens, single motherhood, and the family meal by Gillian Clark
Out of the Frying Pan is an empowering memoir that traces Gillian Clark’s rise from a beginner to a top chef. But managing a kitchen also taught her about parenting. With a wealth of experience and wisdom, and a healthy dash of humor, Gillian now shares her life’s recipes, from the solutions she cooked up for parenting challenges to her favorite culinary creations. Beating intense odds, Gillian is now head chef and proprietor of the successful and popular Colorado Kitchen, which is ranked among the top 100 restaurants in Washington, D.C. This puts her simple café in the company of the city’s finest dining establishments.
Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica
This sarcastic yet poignant blog-turned-memoir will give you all the dirt about tyrannical chefs, parsimonious customers and corrupt restaurant owners - all the drama of waiting tables at an upscale NYC restaurant.
Waiting: the true confessions of a waitress by Debra Ginsberg
A veteran waitress dishes up a spicy and robust account of life as it really exists behind kitchen doors. Part memoir, part social commentary, part guide to how to behave when dining out, Debra Ginsberg's book takes readers on her twentyyear journey as a waitress at a soap-operatic Italian restaurant, an exclusive five-star dining club, the dingiest of diners, and more. While chronicling her evolution as a writer, Ginsberg takes a behind-the-scenes look at restaurant life-revealing that yes, when pushed, a server will spit in food, and, no, that's not really decaf you're getting-and how most people in this business are in a constant state of waiting to do something else.
Life, on the Line: a chef's story of chasing greatness, facing death, and redefining the way we eat by Grant Achatz; Nick Kokonas
Life, on the Line tells the story of a culinary trailblazer's love affair with cooking, but it is also a book about survival, about nurturing creativity, and about profound friendship. Already much- anticipated by followers of progressive cuisine, Grant and Nick's gripping narrative is filled with stories from the world's most renowned kitchens-The French Laundry, Charlie Trotter's, el Bulli- and sure to expand the audience that made Alinea the number-one selling restaurant cookbook in America last year.
Heat: an amateur's adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta-maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford
Expanding on his James Beard Award-winning New Yorker article, Bill Buford gives us a richly evocative chronicle of his experience as “slave” to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali’s three-star New York restaurant, Babbo. In a fast-paced, candid narrative, Buford describes three frenetic years of trials and errors, disappointments and triumphs, as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from “kitchen bitch” to line cook . . . his relationship with the larger-than-life Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters . . . and his immersion in the arts of butchery in Northern Italy, of preparing game in London, and making handmade pasta at an Italian hillside trattoria. Heat is a marvelous hybrid: a memoir of Buford’s kitchen adventure, the story of Batali’s amazing rise to culinary (and extra-culinary) fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters.
Kitchen Confidential: adventures in the culinary underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
New York Chef Tony Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir/expose. Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine."
Dishwasher: one man's quest to wash dishes in all fifty states by Pete Jordan
Dishwasher is the true story of a man on a mission: to clean dirty dishes professionally in every state in America. Part adventure, part parody, and part miraculous journey of self-discovery, it is the unforgettable account of Pete Jordan's transformation from itinerant seeker into "Dishwasher Pete"—unlikely folk hero, writer, publisher of his own cult zine, and the ultimate professional dish dog—and how he gave it all up for love. Pete Jordan spent 12 years washing dishes all across the United States and writing zines about his experiences. The zines are compiled in this volume.
Garlic and Sapphires: the secret life of a critic in disguise by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world—a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us—along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews—her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.
I'd love to hear your recommendations.