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How I Learned to Cook

Culinary Educations from the World’s Greatest Chefs
Edited by Kimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan

How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World’s Greatest Chefs

For as polished as they appear on their televised cooking shows, you might think that culinary superstars like Mario Batali and Mary Sue Milliken were born with silver measuring spoons in their hands. But as you’ll see in How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World’s Greatest Chefs, for many, this was certainly not the case. This collection of bite-size essays from an impressive roster of 40 chefs chronicles their early trials and triumphs, as well as the epicurean epiphanies that inspired them to dedicate their life’s work to food. Tamara Murphy of Brasa started her culinary career with Easy-Bake oven experiments, while some were inspired by mentors like Julia Child, Madeleine Kamman and Paul Bocuse. Other chefs nearly stayed out of the kitchen entirely–Masaharu Morimoto describes how he almost became a professional baseball player instead of an Iron Chef. Each essay expresses the unique personality of the chef behind it–from the bravado of Kitchen Confidential author Anthony Bourdain to the creativity of molecular gastronomist Ferrán Adrià. The stories are all entertaining, but they also illustrate the value of hard work and discipline, as well as the courage not to give up after a first fantastic failure–just the thing to inspire any kitchen klutz.

Reviewed by Becky Sauer

(Updated: 12/02/08 SB)

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