'My Training as a Chef Included Setting Fire to Myself in a Shop' ; the 5-Minute Interview Bill Buford Writer and Chef

By Roberts, Genevive | The Independent (London, England), July 13, 2006 | Go to article overview
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'My Training as a Chef Included Setting Fire to Myself in a Shop' ; the 5-Minute Interview Bill Buford Writer and Chef


Roberts, Genevive, The Independent (London, England)


Bill Buford, 51, gave up his job as fiction editor of 'The New Yorker 'to work in the kitchen of Mario Batalli, owner of Babbo restaurant in New York. His tale of culinary education by humiliation is told in his new book 'Heat'

What did you learn by going into the kitchen?

I learnt how ignorant we are about food. And I learnt the importance of ingredients and how to prepare them. I learnt the elegance of simplicity. It included cutting off most of the outer extremities of my fingers, losing several layers of skin and finally catching on fire making a giant pot of Ragu in an Italian butcher's shop.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Walking in St James' Park with my wife Jessica and our nine- month old twins, George and Frederick

A phrase I use far too often is...

I'm sorry. My knack for infuriating just about everyone I care for leads me to use the words a lot.

I wish people would take more notice of.

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