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.