The author was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali who runs one of New York's most successful three-star restaurants. Buford accepted the commission, on the condition Batali allow him to work in his kitchen, as his slave. This memoir presents his kitchen adventures, and the story of Batali's rise to culinary fame.
Heat is the story of an amateur cook surviving - or, perhaps more accurately, trying to survive - in a professional kitchen.Until recently, Bill Buford was an enthusiastic, if rather chaotic, home cook. His meals were characterized by two incompatible qualities- their ambition and his inexperience at preparing them. Nevertheless, his lifelong regret was that he'd never worked in a professional kitchen.Then, three years ago, an opportunity presented itself. Buford was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali, a Falstaffian figure of voracious appetites who ran one of New York's most successful three-star restaurants. Batali had learned his craft by years of training - first, working in London with the young Marco Pierre White; then in California during the Food Revolution; and finally in Italy, being taught how to make pasta by hand in a hillside trattoria. Buford accepted the commission, if Batali would let him work in his kitchen, as his slave. He worked his way up to being a 'line cook' and then left New York to apprentice himself under the very teachers who had taught his teacher- preparing game with Marco Pierre White, making pasta in a hillside trattoria, and finally, in a town in Northern Italy, becoming an Italian butcher.HEAT is a marvellous hybrid- a memoir of Buford's kitchen adventure, the story of Batali's amazing rise to culinary fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters. It is a book to delight in, and to savour.
Bill Buford is a staff writer and European correspondent for the New Yorker, where he was previously the fiction editor for eight years. He was the editor-in-chief for Granta magazine for sixteen years and was also the publisher of Granta Books. He is the author of Among the Thugs. He lives in New York City.
With an endlessly inquisitive mind writes with great humour ... I suspect it might become a kitchen classic. It deserves to -- Ray Connelly Daily Mail A dazzling and fun account of two magnificently mad years Guardian I have never read a funnier or more authentic account of the making of a serious cook. Give Mr Buford three stars -- Peter Mayle I lingered over every sentence like a heavily truffled risotto -- Anthony Bourdain It's a brilliant book, a high-brow kitchen soap opera Daily Telegraph
'Heat is by far the funniest, most passionately felt and intensely flavoured piece of writing about food, its possibilities and its culture, you are likely to read' - Tim Adams, Observer
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