Beaten, Seared, and Sauced

Beaten, Seared, and Sauced

On Becoming A Chef at the Culinary Institute of America

Book - 2011 | 1st ed.
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Millions of people fantasize about leaving their old lives behind, enrolling in cooking school, and training to become a chef. But for those who make the decision, the difference between the dream and reality can be gigantic--especially at the top cooking school in the country. For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America's history, a book will give readers the firsthand experience of being a full-time student facing all of the challenges of the legendary course in its entirety.

On the eve of his thirty-eighth birthday and after shuffling through a series of unsatisfying jobs, Jonathan Dixon enrolled in the CIA (on a scholarship) to pursue his passion for cooking. In Beaten, Seared, and Sauced he tells hilarious and harrowing stories of life at the CIA as he and his classmates navigate the institution's many rules and customs under the watchful and critical eyes of their instructors. Each part of the curriculum is covered, from knife skills and stock making to the high-pressure cooking tests and the daunting wine course (the undoing of many a student). Dixon also details his externship in the kitchen of Danny Meyer's Tabla, giving readers a look into the inner workings of a celebrated New York City restaurant.

With the benefit of his age to give perspective to his experience, Dixon delivers a gripping day-to-day chronicle of his transformation from amateur to professional. From the daily tongue-lashings in class to learning the ropes--fast--at a top NYC kitchen, Beaten, Seared, and Sauced is a fascinating and intimate first-person view of one of America's most famous culinary institutions and one of the world's most coveted jobs.
Publisher: New York : Clarkson Potter, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307589033
Branch Call Number: 641.5092 DIXON
Characteristics: 266 p. ; 25 cm.


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lhkara Oct 05, 2012

Interesting inside view of culinary school, but not very well written.

Dec 03, 2011

recommended by bev

skindrea Oct 23, 2011

A fascinating exploration of Jonathan Dixon's experiences at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). Showed the challenges of volcanic instructors, precise cooking methods, and student colleagues in a humorous way.

ksoles Sep 01, 2011

I have read a lot of foodie books recently: Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything," Alan Richman's "Fork it Over" (both dated but highly enjoyable) and, most recently, Jonathan Dixon's "Beaten, Seared and Sauced." On one hand, Dixon's memoir falls into the overdone genre of kitchen war stories, tales chronicling the long hours, grueling work and heinous bosses that make up life in a professional kitchen. On the other, his account of training at the Culinary Institute of America reads like a humourous and engaging odyssey and provides a unique perspective on a revered institution.

Dixon creates a likable persona and the reader sympathizes with his struggles to evenly dice onions, pass a wine course with a 30% failure rate and survive a dismal externship. I rooted for Dixon as I read and also appreciated his fast-paced writing packed with practical information. Without long winded explanations or recipes, the book describes how to filet fish, prepare classic French sauces and roast the perfect chicken. Above all, Dixon conveys a boundless passion for cooking and proves that "Every gesture, no matter how small, [is[ about the individual attempting to be great."

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