Title

  • Beaten, Seared, and Sauced

Author

Publisher

Beaten, Seared, and Sauced

On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America

Overview

From the publisher

Millions of people fantasize about leaving their old lives behind, enrolling in cooking school, and training to become a chef. But for those who make the decision, the difference between the dream and reality can be gigantic — especially at the top cooking school in the country.

For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America’s history, a memoir gives readers the firsthand experience of being a full-time student facing all of the challenges of the legendary course in its entirety.

On the eve of his 38th birthday and after shuffling through a series of unsatisfying jobs, Jonathan Dixon enrolled in the CIA (on a scholarship) to pursue his passion for cooking. In Beaten, Seared, and Sauced, he tells hilarious and harrowing stories of life at the CIA as he and his classmates navigate the institution’s many rules and customs under the watchful and critical eyes of their instructors.

Each part of the curriculum is covered, from knife skills and stock making to the high-pressure cooking tests and the daunting wine course (the undoing of many a student). Dixon also details his externship in the kitchen of Danny Meyer’s Tabla, giving readers a look into the inner workings of a celebrated New York City restaurant.

With the benefit of his age to give perspective to his experience, Dixon delivers a gripping day-to-day chronicle of his transformation from amateur to professional. From the daily tongue-lashings in class to learning the ropes — fast — at a top NYC kitchen, Beaten, Seared, and Sauced is a fascinating and intimate first-person view of one of America’s most famous culinary institutions and one of the world’s most coveted jobs.

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1. by thomas cappiello on Aug 14, 2012 at 3:10 PM PDT

I really regret not staying a cook back in my youth, and really going for it as a career. At the time, there was no money or prestige but it was an open playing field for those who aspired and wanted in. So much of what Bourdain describes was real for me. Now everyone and their second cousins are into this and the field is so competitive and cut throat, I can’t imagine. I loved it, I loved having orders up the butt hanging and getting all done and plated and sent out and hopefully making people happy, such a rush. Cleaning up after midnight, getting friendly with the waitresses (or not-sometimes) and getting extra hours at the bar. I probably wouldn’t have the stamina to do it now unfortunately but would sure love a part time gig.

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