I highly recommend this book to anyone with any sort of interest in food or cooking. I cook, because I have a family and I sort of enjoy it. That's about the extent of interest you need to have to find this book interesting, funny, profound, and highly enjoyable. The food itself is as much a character as the people Buford encounters (and boy, are they colorful!). Buford has a great gift for description - I could see everything he was talking about even though much of it was foreign to me (and to him). He becomes as swept away by his mission as I got reading the book. And the last section of the book, "Dinner With Mario," is as great an ending to a book as any fiction or thriller has ever had. I loved this book, and I will never look at food (in a restaurant, grocery store, or my kitchen) the same again.
Bette R. reviewed Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Heat is a great treat and must read for a foodie. There is a lot of information about the author's relationship with Mario Batali. He spent a lot of time working and learning in Babbo, one of Batali's restaurants. The book is also a culinary journey into Tuscan food. Mr. Buford has spent a lot of time in Italy learning how to make pasta, how to be a butcher, and just absorbing the lure of Italian cooking.
This is a well told story of a New York writer who went to work for Mario Batali at Babbo before journeying to Italy to learn more about the food and the language. He learns pasta and butchering as told with insight and humor. Prepare to be hungry.
This book is for people who really love to cook or really love to eat. Buford goes into depth exploring his passion (food and how to prepare it). At times the reader finds themselves saying, "Enough. Next, please!" Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable look into the inner workings of a high stakes restaurant and I would recommend reading it. Beware, however, that this is not a book that you can read in one sitting-- I had to read a chapter or two at time and I suspect others will have a similar experience.
Donna F. reviewed Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany on
Helpful Score: 1
I recently completed a professional level cooking course and reading this book was one of our assignments. If you've ever wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes in a real restaurant you'll enjoy this book
Lori M. (lormac) reviewed Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany on + 120 more book reviews
An interesting book to listen to, although I don't know if I would have enjoyed reading it as much. The author meets Mario Battali on an informal basis and becomes interested in (a) Mario as a individual in re: how he became a world-class chef and (b) how one actually becomes a chef. The rest of the book covers the author's work in Battali's kitchen, visits to chefs Battali worked for and with, trips to learn to make pasta the way Battali makes it, and his apprenticeship with a butcher who worked with Battali's father at one point. However what seems to be a very Battali-centric book becomes much more - a book about food and our attitudes towards food and the author's efforts to understand the whole foodie culture. By the end, I recognized that Battali was really just a framework for the author to hang his story on and not the focus of the book at all
This is an entertaining book that is great if you're interested in "behind the scenes" at a top restaurant or if you're more broadly interested in where your food comes from. I found the first part of the book, while the author is working at Babbo, and the second part of the book, while he's at a butcher shop in Tuscany, to be almost different books, but both were really interesting. The author is great at writing scenes that you can easily visualize.
Lesley S. reviewed Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany on + 50 more book reviews
Professional chefs and people who cook with a passion bordering on fanaticism are unquestionably weird, wild, and woolly. After enthusiastic dinnerparty cook - and amateur kitchen bumbler - Bill Buford inadvertently ends up with (in)famous chef Mario Batali as a guest one evening, they become friends...after which Buford takes a hiatus from his job as 40-something NYC magazine editor to become a kitchen "bitch" in Batali's Babbo restaurant. Although I personally hate to cook, I did love having a peek into a world I'll never enter: the high-pressure, high stakes daily frenzy of what it takes for a chi chi urban restaurant to serve (and satisfy) its persnickety clientele night after night. Buford then heads to Italy to apprentice for a stint with a melodramatic, but famous, butcher in Tuscany to "learn" meat. He ends up waxing poetic the joys of handmade "slow" food, reminding me of the same locavore message of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Animal Vegetable Miracle." The Italian butchery part of the book dragged, but the initial Babbo portion where Buford starts as a bungler and rises to proficient, hardcore cook is fun and fascinating.
Wonderful book! If you've ever wondered what it might be like to cook professionally, if you've been curious about what really goes on in a restaurant kitchen, this is the book to read. It is fascinating, informative and sometimes hilarious. Do yourself a big favor and read it - SOON! This author wondered about all the above and finally found himself working with chefs such as Mario Batali and cooking in restaurants in parts of Italy. This was a dream come true on several levels.
Reading this book made me realize what back-breaking and difficult work this is. What I did instead was to open a successful gourmet cheesecake business, do some catering (when I felt like it), bake a lot of breads and brownies and feed a huge number of people in NY & TX over the years including some of the top restauranteurs and caterers in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area. I loved it!