I read this book after receiving it from a friend, and I now include it with “Heat” by Bill Buford, “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain, and “My Life in France” by Julia Child as one of the best chef memoir/biographies I have ever read.
But this? This is one of the best written memoirs of any genre I’ve ever read, in that it is raw, engaging, hilarious, moving and absolutely fearless. Gabrielle Hamilton describes her bizarre family, her derelict upbringing, her stumbling road to being a chef…all in graphically beautiful and lyrical prose that reinforces that she’s not like anyone else at all. In any way.
Her descriptions of the writer’s workshop small groups in college absolutely unraveled me with laughter. Her description of a reunion with her meddling mother gave me probably the hugest laugh I’d gotten from any book thus far. In fact, there were many times I woke my husband with my smothered and wheezing laughter while reading this book in bed.
And yet, there were parts of the book that so moved me I cried. Gabrielle Hamilton is a gifted writer and gifted chef, and happily, both gifts were equally on display in this book.