It's Bliss at Boiling Point ; Heat by Bill Buford JONATHAN CAPE Pounds 16.99 (319Pp) Pounds 15.50 (Free P&p) on 0870 079 8897
Hirst, Christopher, The Independent (London, England)
As career moves go, only Arthur Rimbaud's decision to become an arms dealer in Africa is comparable. After 24 years as a top-flight editor, first with Granta then The New Yorker, Bill Buford started working in the kitchen of Babbo, a fashionable Italian restaurant in Manhattan. This unlikely shift came about when he decided to write a profile of the restaurant's chef/patron Mario Batali, a Rabelaisian figure renowned for both his TV appearances and his appetites (he has been known to drink his way through half a case of wine over dinner).
Batali agreed to take on Buford as a "kitchen slave". His research rapidly revealed the yawning gulf between the enthusiastic amateur cook and a professional kitchen. Buford's description of his culinary activities at home ("chaotic, late, messy") will chime with many who get the urge to perform on the range. In the cramped, steamy kitchen of Babbo, he was expected to operate efficiently from the onset. In his first half-hour, he managed to slice himself while boning duck: "The top of my finger erupted in a gush of blood."
This is the first in a series of self-inflicted wounds. Frying ribs, Buford splashes himself with hot fat. Then he splashes himself again. "Blisters on blisters.. I became airborne." Not all wounds were visible. Buford gives graphic accounts of tongue-lashings from Batali and others. But …
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Publication information: Article title: It's Bliss at Boiling Point ; Heat by Bill Buford JONATHAN CAPE Pounds 16.99 (319Pp) Pounds 15.50 (Free P&p) on 0870 079 8897. Contributors: Hirst, Christopher - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: July 14, 2006. Page number: 23. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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