Tuesday, May 19, 2009

REVIEW: Spiced, by Dalia Jurgensen

Spiced : A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes On in the Kitchen, by Dalia Jurgensen. Published 2009 by G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Click here to buy Spiced from your favorite indie bookseller.

Spiced, pastry chef Dalia Jurgensen's memoir of her formative years in the restaurant world, is a fun read, light as a pate aux choux and sweet as fresh cream. I read Spiced in about a day and a half and enjoyed every morsel and bite.

Jurgensen takes us from her decision to change careers, leaving the publishing world in her twenties to enroll in culinary school and work as an intern at Nobu, a high-end Japanese restaurant in New York City. It quickly becomes clear to her that experience, not schooling, is what makes a chef, and she immerses herself in the restaurant world. She also discovers that the work of a pastry chef is, for her, immensely satisfying. Her book follows her progress as she takes on the long days, the physical exhaustion, the sexism endemic to the restaurant world, and other challenges for the satisfaction of perfecting her craft and building a new life.

I had a lot of fun reading Spiced. As I said, it was a quick read for me but one that I enjoyed very much. Jurgensen has had quite a varied career that's taken her from underling status at upscale eateries to television to the hotel business and neighborhood restaurants. It was fascinating and fun to follow her progress and see where she went next. I think Spiced would be great for the beach or the hammock- a yummy treat of a summer read.

Jurgensen also has a fun blog at www.MySpicedLife.com with a journal, recipes and more.

Rating: BEACH

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.

11 comments:

Candy Schultz said...

I've got this one here somewhere and look forward to it.

You didn't say how you got The Children's Book.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I thought Spiced was very fun too. I really got an appreciation for all the hard work that goes into a restaurant. It made me feel that the waitstaff should be splitting the tips with the cook staff!

bermudaonion said...

My husband's not much of a reader and he read this one quickly too. He enjoyed it.

Molly said...

This one is definitely on my TBR list - and then I plan to quickly loan it to my 10th grade daughter, who is seriously contemplating this as a career.

Zibilee said...

I loved this book as well, and think it would make a great summer read. Great review!

Dar said...

I saw this one somewhere else the other day and thought it sounded good so your's is another good vote. I've got it on the wishlist.

Heather said...

I'd thought about reading this one, but it got some bad reviews (the one that sticks out as most memorable was Entertainment Weekly's, which suggested--if you're looking for a good memoir on kitchen life--reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain). But, Marie, you've never steered me wrong, so I may put this one on hold at the library. Thanks.

Marie said...

Heather- how sweet! I hope you enjoy it. It's not War&Peace- it's a light read, and Bourdain is probably better in some respects- but as I said, I enjoyed it. it just depends what you're looking for. :-)

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

I have this on my shelf and I need to review it. I am so glad you liked it, the other reviews have made me nervous about reading it. I know bermudaonion's hubby liked it too! Yay, so that is two thumbs up from you guys.

S. Krishna said...

I love food memoirs! Thanks for the review.

booktrash said...

This looks like fun - I'll give it a go!