Extended Audio Sample

Download The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute Audiobook, by Michael Ruhlman Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,354 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Ruhlman Narrator: Jeff Riggenbach Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9781455174560
Regular Price: $22.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

In the winter of 1996, writer Michael Ruhlman donned a chef’s jacket and entered the Culinary Institute of America, known as the Harvard of cooking schools, to learn the art of cooking. His vivid and eye-opening record of that experience, The Making of a Chef, takes us into the heart of this food-knowledge mecca. Here we meet a coterie of talented chefs, an astonishing and driven breed, and experience the pressure and perfectionism of their job. Ruhlman learns fundamental skills and information about the behavior of food that make cooking anything possible. He propels himself and his readers through a score of kitchens and classrooms—from Asian and American regional cuisines to lunch cookery—in search of the elusive, unnameable elements of great cooking. This book was nominated for a 1998 James Beard Foundation award in the Writing on Food category.

Download and start listening now!

BK_BLAK_004518

Quotes & Awards

  • “Well reported and heartfelt. Ruhlman communicates the passion that draws the acolyte to this precise and frantic profession.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Ruhlman’s love of cooking bubbles on every page.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “After reading this title, boot camp and law school will seem like child’s play…An enjoyable read…required for aspiring great chefs.”

    Library Journal

  • “Jeff Riggenbach stands in for Ruhlman well as a narrator of this first person account…so well that we can believe he has been the one juggling sauce pans and fighting for the stove space while the teacher waits to grade.” 

    Jonathan Lowe

  • “It’s a world where, when everything is going right, time halts and consciousness expands. And when a few things go wrong, the earth begins to wobble on its axis. Ruhlman has the writerly skills to make the education of a chef a visceral experience.”

    Amazon.com Review

  • “Ruhlman effectively captures [students’] excitement and exhaustion as they learn about the real world of cooking…his insights into his teachers and students are often interesting…An attractive mise en place.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Nominated for the 1998James Beard Foundation Award in the Writing on Food category

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 2/18/2014

    " Ruhlman enrolls at the Culinary Institute of America to experience what it's like to learn to be a cook/chef. To say its not easy is an understatement. He says that he "wanted to know what happens to you when you learn to cook, what it means to be a cook and a chef, and to know what the world of professional cooking has to tell us about food and cooking generally." I enjoyed how he portrayed life at the CIA, the constant pressure to be the best you can be, so that cooks are ready for the incredibly fast paced, exhausting lives these people have chosen. Fascinating! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick Kennedy | 2/5/2014

    " A must read for any aspiring chef! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jess | 2/4/2014

    " I just can't see what all the fuss is about. I found it repetitive, rather priggish, and kinda dull. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanne | 1/24/2014

    " If you have ever wondered what it is like to go to the Culinary Institute of America to become a chef, this is the roadmap. Each module of training is in 6-week increments built on the skills necessary to work in a kitchen. As you learn each skill, you are required to build your mastery with speed so that you can finish a course of items within a prescribed time, and be able to fix anything (short of burning food) to get a full course of meals out to your customers at the same time, beautifully displayed, delicious and at the correct temperature. After reading this book I had to buy the CIA textbook, which is another amazing book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 1/17/2014

    " The Making of a Chef made me want to quit my job and go to cooking school (which in reality is not the best plan on earth given that I just had a baby a little over 4 months ago). Ruhlman does an excellent job in this book going into detail about what it is like to be a student at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). His food descriptions are mouth watering and his descriptions of the curriculum made the CIA sound like a good deal of hard work. "

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

    " If you ever wondered how elite chefs learn to make such exquisite food, this is the book for you. Home cooks and aspiring foodies will love The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerry Della | 1/9/2014

    " Story of progressing through Culinary Institute of America "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janelle | 1/5/2014

    " This book was great! It is really inspiring and things they talk about can be applied to many professions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/5/2014

    " Although it is out dated on how the CIA operates now, it's still a great idea of how culinary school works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 1/5/2014

    " A highly readable and educational (but not TOO much) look at what it's like to be trained at the Culinary Institute of America. This is a great read, especially for foodies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harlan | 1/4/2014

    " This is a mediocre book about a really great experience. Mr. Ruhlman's writing is inconsistent, and a little hero-worship-y. This said, it is a book about become good at something that he (and the other chefs and students in the book) clearly loves, and the enthusiasm shines through and makes for a compelling read. This said again, this is only a compelling read if you know something about fine dining and food, and are interested in immersing yourself in that world. There's not much to this book for non-foodie readers, and his dwelling on points of roux color and plating would bore many potential readers. As for me, it made me want to go to cooking school, but made me definitely not want to become a chef! "

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

    " Interesting book about becoming a Chef. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb Holden | 1/1/2014

    " A bit dry but somewhat interesting look at being a student at the CIA. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 12/26/2013

    " Anyone who is thinking of becoming a chef should read this - then head for the hills. Amazing what goes on in kitchens. jk "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 12/23/2013

    " brings the rigors and realities of the nation's most demanding culinary school to life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Saeidedward | 12/17/2013

    " informative / thorough / eurocentric / essentialist "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 12/8/2013

    " THE best book I've read so far about the culinary school experience. The author shares amazing real-life insights to why and how people choose cooking as a profession. I could read this book several times and continually come away with something new. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas Bennett | 12/1/2013

    " I want to be at the service of a potato, too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fatbaldguy60 | 11/26/2013

    " Absolutely fascinating look at the world of professional cooking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan | 11/21/2013

    " Very good insight into how chefs think, what drives them and what it takes to become a chef. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicky | 11/21/2013

    " This is a great book if you want an insiders view of what it is like in the CIA's cooking school... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Savas | 11/19/2013

    " Great narrative about the CIA, but his constant talk of brown roux was bizarre and, at times, annoying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne Van | 11/11/2013

    " A fun read! The writer, a reporter, goes to cooking school full-time (for a while) and thrives in the heat of a professional kitchen. Some tidbits about the why's and how's of learning how to cook. "

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

    " Read about half of this before my brother started CIA and had fun finishing it as he went through- we had some great conversations as took the same classes with a lot of the same chefs. "Mise en place" has become a personal mantra... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 10/27/2013

    " Michale Ruhlman provides a behind the scene look at the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shivam Bhatt | 10/24/2013

    " As a foodie, i loved Ruhlman's trek through the Culinary Institute. He's a great writer, and his images are vivid and interesting. Totally worth it if you like books like Heat or Kitchen Confidential. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tallulah | 10/23/2013

    " Highly recommend this book. It gives an insight to what the aspiring chefs go through while in the CIA. Their dedication and passion are truly admirable and inspiring.:) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 10/6/2013

    " A highly readable and educational (but not TOO much) look at what it's like to be trained at the Culinary Institute of America. This is a great read, especially for foodies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yuliya | 9/20/2013

    " This is interesting, but goes very indepth into actual cooking knowledge so at times becomes difficult to read if you do not get excited about 10 pages on how to make a good stock. But still entertaining and certainly a learning experience. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria | 8/30/2013

    " If you ever wondered what it's like to train to be a cook/chef, this is a book for you! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 6/11/2013

    " brings the rigors and realities of the nation's most demanding culinary school to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 5/3/2013

    " Must read for anyone with a curiosity of what its like in the restaurant industry or for anyone attempting to pursue it as a trade or career move or opportunity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 2/5/2013

    " Fantastic book! You learn what culinary school is all about and get a real feel for the life of a professional chef. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda S | 1/31/2013

    " I enjoyed this inside look at what students go through at the CIA. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 bette | 12/26/2012

    " Reading a book like this makes me want to cook. Have to say I learned new procedures. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kendra | 12/11/2012

    " It's official . . . I WILL NOT be attending culinary school. I can't finish it and put myself through the torture of what could be. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kendra | 12/1/2012

    " It's official . . . I WILL NOT be attending culinary school. I can't finish it and put myself through the torture of what could be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kurt Adam | 10/20/2012

    " Very enjoyable tale of a writer working his way through one of the top culinary schools in the world. Fascinating behind the scenes stuff along with interesting details on various cooking processes and techniques. Highly recommended for fans of books like Kitchen Confidential and Heat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alissa | 9/8/2012

    " from what i remember i enjoyed it. It was at a time in my life where i needed a kick in the ass to become what i am now. with that said, if you like reading about kitchens, read this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 8/28/2012

    " Great book! If you ever wondered what it takes to become a real chef, this is the book for you! Ruhlman gives a detailed view into the path through the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marc | 6/16/2012

    " Damn but these people work hard! Don't they ever go home? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 4/11/2012

    " I've often wondered what it would be like to go to Culinary school, and Mr. Ruhlman provides some excellent insight on that subject in this book. Ruhlman writes well and focuses both on the school experience and the chefs who teach there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin Waits | 1/31/2012

    " As a Culinary School graduate, I loved this book however I think that it appeals to a wide audience. It gives us an inside look into what it takes to create and serve really good food; it's not as easy as it looks - or tastes! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Conley | 1/17/2012

    " These books helped me confirm my decision to attend the Culinary Institute of America in January. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adriana | 12/28/2011

    " For those who have daydreamed about becoming a chef, about making beautiful and tasty dishes, about how fun life would be if cooking was your career... this book is a great eyeopener! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Greg Tunstall | 12/5/2011

    " The best of the series "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlie | 12/1/2011

    " I enjoyed the book, but really wasn't too interested in the topic. I like to cook, I love behind the scenes chef stuff, but I didn't need this much detail. But, I think I should give one of his other books a try. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 11/22/2011

    " A writer goes through the CIA and learns to become a cook. Kudos to my cousin Aaron for surviving this! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brooke Matuszczak | 11/3/2011

    " If you ever thought about attending the CIA you should read this first. Ruhlman thoroughly but interestingly describes how tough it is to become a chef. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephwaters | 9/8/2011

    " I think the average person would find this book rather boring but I found it fascinating to learn about the education of chefs at the C.I.A. (ie. Culinary Institute of America). It's a whole different world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heidi | 9/4/2011

    " This book made me want to go to culinary school... but if you're not interested in cooking, you will likely find the lengthy discussions on making a perfect stock mind-numbing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 7/11/2011

    " Although it is out dated on how the CIA operates now, it's still a great idea of how culinary school works. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yuliya | 7/7/2011

    " This is interesting, but goes very indepth into actual cooking knowledge so at times becomes difficult to read if you do not get excited about 10 pages on how to make a good stock. But still entertaining and certainly a learning experience. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Evelyn Reyes | 5/22/2011

    " Food again...it's one of my favorite topics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shivam | 5/9/2011

    " As a foodie, i loved Ruhlman's trek through the Culinary Institute. He's a great writer, and his images are vivid and interesting. Totally worth it if you like books like Heat or Kitchen Confidential. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crystal | 4/25/2011

    " I was sad when I finished this book because I couldn't read it anymore. I loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 4/15/2011

    " First cookbook I've gotten in a long while that I've started on page one and read straight through. I find it difficult to give the 5 stars because I haven't made one thing from the book yet. Soon though, hopefully soon. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 4/10/2011

    " Yummy!!!! In all the ways possible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Saeidedward | 4/2/2011

    " informative / thorough / eurocentric / essentialist "

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

    " The pleasures and pitfalls of culinary school at the CIA, retold by a seasoned writer who has since made an entire new career out of food writing. Tremendous stuff! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 kt | 2/1/2011

    " In some perverse way, it makes me want to enroll. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 1/30/2011

    " Great narrative about the CIA, but his constant talk of brown roux was bizarre and, at times, annoying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 1/23/2011

    " Very clear book re technique. I may buy this one. I am certainly not 'done' reading this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 1/20/2011

    " Amazing reference on all things salted and cured "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jed | 1/17/2011

    " I wish I could give it 6 stars "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 12/8/2010

    " After working at a culinary school for several years, I think that this book provides an excellent insight into the gauntlet of culinary education. My only complaint is that the author only went through the motions of a culinary education, rather than immersing himself fully, as the students do. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 10/7/2010

    " One of my favorite cook books... who can say no to preserved meats? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 8/27/2010

    " Someday I would like to have a kitchen large enough to grind, smoke and preserve all the amazing recipes in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 8/7/2010

    " I'm not a huge nonfiction fan, but I really enjoyed this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Britta | 6/18/2010

    " Interesting - I'd love to eat at one of the CIA restaurants! Not so sure about the selection of episodes he chose to tell. Preferred "Ratio" by the same author, but then again, that is basically a cookbook (but it seems to be better written!). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 S. | 3/20/2010

    " Not as good as I had been hoping for. Though it sure makes you want to go to Hyde Park to eat at the CIA restaurant. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 3/16/2010

    " A fascinating account of what it takes to be a chef. I had no idea! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 2/4/2010

    " Was torn between 4 and 5 stars on this one. It didn't hit me on an emotional level as it has for some, but I found the information fascinating, and further found the book difficult to put down once I picked it up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 12/16/2009

    " Everything I ever wanted to know about preserving meat, fish, and fowl. How to whack, grind, chop, salt, brine, smoke, dry and otherwise create the yummiest meat, fish, and poultry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick | 11/22/2009

    " This is the result of Ruhlman meeting Brian Polcyn while Polcyn was taking the Master chef's Exam. It is a fantastic read and I highly recommend this for anyone in the field or hobbyists that love food and are willing to try some advanced preparations and cooking techniques. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 11/16/2009

    " This is one of the best books on the subject of curing meats. Kinda hard to say anything different, but Michael Rhulman is GREAT. I recommend his blog as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 10/21/2009

    " Dave REALLY LOVES this book - curing and smoking meat. He said this is one to BUY... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 9/21/2009

    " Yummy. I totally want to make all these recipes. Not many pictures, as I recall.

    Also includes a vague recipe on making lard. :D "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 5/27/2009

    " Haven't made anything from the recipes in this book, but the reading was fascinating. Lots of commentary on each recipe, detailed technique sections. Enjoyable to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bhall | 4/5/2009

    " while not the most used, and also not the most successful, this is my favorite cookbook. everytime something works it creates serious pride. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Michael RuhlmanMichael Ruhlman has collaborated on several bestselling cookbooks, including The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, and Alinea. He is the author of critically acclaimed books including The Soul of a Chef, The Elements of Cooking, Ratio, and Ruhlman’s Twenty. Ruhlman has written about food and cooking for the New York Times, Gourmet, Food Arts, and other publications. He lives in New York City.
About the Narrator

Jeff Riggenbach has worked in radio in San Francisco for over thirty years, earning a Golden Mike Award for journalistic excellence and an Earphones Award for narration.