May 19, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Reach of a Chef

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Michael Ruhlman
publisher
Viking
genre
Nonfiction
We gave it a B

Ruhlman tries to define the chef’s role in our ”sprawling, food-neurotic country” by profiling trendsetters from Masayoshi Takayama to Rachael Ray.

Kitchen Hero
Ruhlman has a terminal case of chef worship, but he reserves his most obsequious praise for Thomas Keller, the ”artist-monk” of California’s French Laundry.

The Skinny
A fun page-turner on what happens in restaurants, but Ruhlman’s breathless accounts of minor kitchen mishaps — spilled vinaigrette, broken egg yolks — border on self-parody.

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