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Extended Audio Sample The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute, 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 Riggenbac Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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! "

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About the Author
Author Michael Ruhlman

Michael Ruhlman is the author of many books, including The Elements of Cooking and The French Laundry Cookbook. He lives in Cleveland with his wife, daughter, and son, is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, and has a highly popular blog at Ruhlman.com.