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Extended Audio Sample Heat: An Amateurs Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany Audiobook, by Bill Buford Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (12,537 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bill Buford Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2006 ISBN: 9781415935262
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From one of our most interesting literary figures—former editor of Granta, former fiction editor at the New Yorker, acclaimed author of Among the Thugs—a sharp, funny, exuberant, close-up account of his headlong plunge into the life of a professional cook.

Expanding on his James Beard Award–winning New Yorker article, Bill Buford gives us a richly evocative chronicle of his experience as “slave” to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali’s three-star New York restaurant, Babbo.

In a fast-paced, candid narrative, Buford describes three frenetic years of trials and errors, disappointments and triumphs, as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from “kitchen bitch” to line cook; his relationship with the larger-than-life Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters; and his immersion in the arts of butchery in Northern Italy, of preparing game in London, and making handmade pasta at an Italian hillside trattoria.

Heat is a marvelous hybrid: a memoir of Buford’s kitchen adventure, the story of Batali’s amazing rise to culinary (and extra-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 savor.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A GLOBE & MAIL BEST BOOK OF 2006
    A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2006
  • Sharing Buford’s table talk is a pleasure not to be passed up. Michael Redhill, The Globe and Mail
  • Heat is a book about obsession, written by a man in the grip of one. It is fuelled by food, but food is not its only subject — love, sex, comradeship, terror and pain are all part of the story too. The Telegraph
  • A dazzling and funny account of two magnificently mad years. The Guardian
  • [Buford] excels at vibrantly colourful descriptive writing. . . . What shines through is the story of Bill Buford falling in love with food, and his passionate journey of learning. Vancouver Sun
  • “it is clear that Buford can hold his own with anyone in the foodie pedantry stakes…. Heat is a subtle, expletive-heavy, genuine account of a writer’s engagement with food…. [an] ultimately nourishing book. Times Literary Supplement
  • A messy, brilliant book, a high-brow kitchen soap opera, which never skates over the characters’ flaws but is suffused with an infectious love of food and the people who devote their lives to it. The Telegraph (UK)
  • An incisive, cracklingly funny book. Time (Canada)
  • Heat, tightly written, evocative and compelling, is a feast in its own right. Edmonton Journal
  • “A difficult book to put down — if Heat was a movie, you’d be viewing it from behind your fingers. The book is an intoxicating drug we can’t get enough of in paragraph after breathless paragraph of fast-paced and candid prose that leaves both the writer and the reader humbled. . . . And when one reluctantly turns the last page on Heat, it is with a sadness and a hungering for more. Toronto Sun
  • One of the 2006 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Anne | 2/15/2014

    " Compare part 6 with chapter 6 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 2/13/2014

    " I didn't love the cadence of this book but the adventure was very cool to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicky | 2/12/2014

    " An amazing book. A must read for a foodie who is into Italian food!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caleb Zigas | 2/9/2014

    " I legitimately believe that this is one of the best books I've ever read about actually being in a kitchen. He understands the dynamics of a working kitchen like no one else I've read, and Batali is simply captivating. Better than working on a line, guaranteed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy Hollister | 2/6/2014

    " All foodies will love this book which is so heartfelt through the stomach "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Britney | 2/1/2014

    " who knew working in a kitchen is so tough "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 1/29/2014

    " This took an inordinate amount of time to finish for a 300-page book. I got kind of bored and bogged down in all the details of gluttonous feasts (35 plates just for an appetizer course? really?) and, as a vegetarian, the butchery. The consumption described in this book just seemed way over the top. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsey | 1/12/2014

    " Another fairly interesting window into the restaurant world. It left me with a sort of horror-fascination with that whole subculture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J5ullivan | 1/7/2014

    " Interesting glimpse into the world of professional cooking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Flora | 12/11/2013

    " I love this book! I learned a lot about cooking in general and northern Italian food in particular. It shed light on many topics that I thought would always be mysteries. It will take you into the strange and exotic world of professional chefs. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/1/2013

    " Admittedly, this was a skim through read. Too much name dropping. Babbo was only okay. Why the hoopla? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dawn | 11/25/2013

    " I wish more chapters were like the last one...kind of slow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ebony | 11/19/2013

    " part quick-fire kitchen baptism, part food history lesson, all foodie fun. a unique look inside a famous chef's kitchen through the eyes of a man on his own food journey. funny, witty, smart reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jana | 5/18/2013

    " So-so, behind the scenes in famous kitchens, mostly Mario Battalli (what a jerk). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger | 3/26/2013

    " This is a 4.5. A great book: funny and very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 brookerains | 3/11/2013

    " Good. Sometimes a little too detailed/side tracked. Makes me not want to order a meat dish ever again but I'm sure I'll get over that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Perrin | 2/15/2013

    " OH MY GOD SO GOOD. the best food writing since MFK Fisher. READ NOW. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber P | 7/27/2012

    " would be lovely to have the time to pursue a culinary dream like this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erinelizwill | 3/22/2012

    " I'm not big on nonfiction, but I ate this book up (I know I am corny). It changed the way I cook pasta and made me realize that you are not married to one profession/career throughout your life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 1/30/2012

    " I really enjoyed this description of learning how to be a cook, working with Mario Batalli, and what goes on in a real kitchen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanyalex | 12/2/2011

    " learned a lot, yearned for traveling, great foodie read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John McNeilly | 11/15/2011

    " The first half of the book was quite fun...if you are interested in Mario Batelli, it's a must read. But when Buford follows in Mario's steps to study cooking in Italy, the book slows to a crawl. I forced myself to finish, but ended up feeling "feh." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ethicurean Reads | 11/3/2011

    " The subtitle says it all. A New Yorker contributor, Buford is a very entertaining writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 6/28/2011

    " I'm on the chapter about ragu. Loving it so far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 6/14/2011

    " loved this book-- recommend it to all my friends who like to cook, travel, appreciate Italy :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 6/12/2011

    " Good book, though it slows down as you go. I still read without reading other books in the interim. I'd highly recommend to anyone who likes food writing. It gave me an incredible desire to eat good pasta. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cryselle | 5/7/2011

    " Must be fun to have the sort of life that will accommodate this sort of singleminded experiment in learning to be a chef and REALLY amazing that Mario Batali would help the project along. But it makes my job sound a lot better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 4/26/2011

    " If you are a cook, you'll really appreciate the life of a chef. I love the way it was written and totally get Mario Batali's personality now... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deb | 4/18/2011

    " This might be the most boring book I have ever read. I wish I could remember why I thought it was a good idea to buy it. What a waste of perfectly good U.S. dollars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tuck | 4/18/2011

    " buford is humbled by the wetback pasta maker in battli's nyc restaurante, then takes himself to italy and cooks with old folks, learns about Chianti cattle and farming, wine, butchering, and how to cook your ass off. very entertaining and somewhat informative, though a bit big city fey. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darlene | 4/13/2011

    " Another great book about the lives of chefs, from someone who wasn't trained that way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 4/4/2011

    " Great description on how to make delicious 4 hour polenta. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 3/31/2011

    " I learned three things from this book. 1) never order pasta from a restaurant after 8:00pm. 2) never try to get a table at a restaurant at the end of the night. 3) never eat salami again. Very entertaining read, if you like cooking and Italian food. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 3/10/2011

    " Journalist works his way up to a line cook in the mad whirl of Mario Batalia's world - also goes off to Italy to learn the fine art of pasta and butchery. A must for foodies "

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About the Author
Author Bill BufordBill Buford is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where he was the fiction editor for eight years. He was the founding editor of Granta magazine and was also the publisher of Granta Books. His previous book, Among the Thugs, is a nonfiction account of crowd violence and British soccer hooliganism. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jessica Green, and their two sons.
About the Narrator

Michael Kramer has narrated many audiobooks over the last twenty years; his favorite authors include Donald E. Westlake, Thomas Perry, and Robert Jordan. He has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. He lives in the DC area, where he also works in theater as an actor and director.