Friday, June 3, 2011

Spiced: A Book Review

Spiced: A Pastry Chef's true stories of trials by fire, after-hours exploits, and what really goes on in the kitchen

"I love the joy that comes with knowing that something I made brought a smile and maybe even sincere pleasure to people ... The novelty of finding a new restaurant, discovering new taste or a fresh way of mixing flavors remains endlessly invigorating, and food is still the most exhilarating part of any trip." - Dalia Jurgensen

Spiced is Dalia Jurgensen's deliciously entertaining memoir of trading in her office job to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.

One of the chapters highlighting Dalia's time working in the
Martha Stewart test kitchen - great stories!
Part of me wishes I could be like Dalia - but after reading her book I'm also pretty sure I'm not thick skinned enough to make it in a kitchen. She highlights the challenges she faces as a female in a male-driven world, and talks about the endless weeks working 70+ hours for little pay. She reminds the reader how hierarchical a restaurant is - giving insight into who sits at the top of the food chain (the chef), and how hard and long she had to work before she was taken seriously as a pastry chef. The other piece I've always thought would be difficult about working in the food business, only confirmed by Dalia's stories, are the late hours on nights and weekends. She talked about how hectic her schedule was, working until the very last customer put their order in, only to go out with the kitchen staff afterwards and start all over again the next morning. Her stories are entertaining and enlightening - and it's a nice, quick read that reminds you just how hard those people are working behind the scenes when you go to a restaurant!

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