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Letters to a Young Chef

By Daniel Boulud

"Letters to a Young Chef" by Daniel Boulud

etters to a Young Chef
drives home an essential point: skill in the kitchen does not mean being a chef. You need talent, discipline, a tremendous amount of knowledge, business savvy, people skills, etc. Ideally, you'll have spent at least two years traveling the world and you must work with 20 top chefs—the latter piece of advice stems from Boulud's Ten Commandments of a Chef.

Unless you're a young aspiring chef (under 30 for these purposes) or someone utterly fascinated with the arduous process of becoming one, you will have not much use for this slim volume. If, however, you are indeed hoping to become a top toque, this is the book for you—although a lot of its content is rather general, common sense. The very small recipe section also aims at a very specific audience. It seems as though dishes like Chicken Grand-Mère Francine and others are tests of mastery of sorts to see, for instance, how able you are to caramelize meat properly.

Nevertheless, Boulud is a culinary celebrity, and we have become a nation obsessed with the celebrity chef. You may want to find out what advice this culinary aristocrat has to offer to those that aspire to his echelons. We couldn't have put it better than Publisher's Weekly when they wrote: "This book is the Monsieur Hyde to the Dr. Jekyll version of culinary training presented in Jacques Pepin's The Apprentice." We, for our part, would rather eat than read—at Boulud's Daniel that is.

(Updated: 12/02/08 SB)

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