Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

Title: Sous Chef
Author: Michael Gibney
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: March 25th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Ballantine Books & Goodreads Firstreads


Four and a half stars, rounded up.


Sous Chef is a nonfiction book that lets the reader experience what it is like to be a sous chef in a kitchen for a twenty-four hour period of time. The pressures, defeats, victories, and the massive amount of work are all beautifully illustrated in the text, immersing the reader in the culinary world and all it has to offer.

When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. In addition to being a foodie to the core, I'm also the daughter of an executive chef. I've pretty much grown up in the kitchen and in the industry, and I'm no stranger to just how intense things on the line can be. I was curious to gain this first hand experience from a chef himself about what a typical day was like, and I was not disappointed.

I'm actually really surprised by what I'm about to say, but I loved that this book was written in second-person. It made it completely easy to sink yourself into the story and become the character in the book. It enabled me to feel things like guilt or pressure personally, as though the head chef was really mad at ME or that I actually did a great job cooking, even though I was reading a book on a train.

The writing itself is vivid and descriptive. Whether Gibney is talking about the other kitchen workers or the delicious dishes being prepared, you can picture it clearly in your mind and damn near smell the food on the fire and hear the familiar hum of a kitchen working in sync.

Though personally I knew most of the culinary terms or phrases, Gibney includes a glossary in the back in case the reader is unsure of things like foods or cooking techniques. It's extremely helpful and explains a lot that can help with comprehension of the story.

Honestly, I wish it didn't end. I knew the twenty-four hours were up, but I didn't want them to be. I read this in one sitting, and was so sad when I ran out of pages. To me, that's the ultimate sign of a great book. I recommend it to foodies and cooks alike, and even those who are just interested in learning more about the life. Fans of Kitchen Confidential should check it out especially. There is profane language at times but it's true to the kitchen life.

Thanks to Netgalley, Ballantine Books & Goodreads Firstreads for my copy[ies] of this book.


  1. I'd love to read this. Thanks to you, I've been getting into more cooking/chef books and shows, and this one sounds really interesting.

    1. In my head, it was totally the cast of Kitchen Confidential. I won't lie to you about that.

  2. Oh how different! I've not read one like that but it does sound interesting. Glad it held up to what some of your experiences are!

    1. It really was different, and I'm really glad it panned out!

  3. This one sounds interesting. I love watching cooking shows on tv, so this sounds like something I would enjoy. Working in a professional kitchen seems incredibly stressful!

    1. I'm addicted to cooking shows, haha. The Taste, Hell's Kitchen, and Chopped are some of my favorites.