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‘Sous Chef’ cooks up a peek behind closed doors

Published: Thursday, May. 29, 2014 - 9:13 am

Most of us have wondered what really goes on behind the closed doors of restaurant kitchens. Is there a secret society back there? Is the labor really as hard as we’ve heard? What about the artistry of the cuisine? Does that get dilluted on nights when the dining room is jammed? Of course, the biggest question is, Just what are they doing to our food?

The answers are in “Sous Chef: 24 Hours On the Line” by chef Michael Gibney (Ballantine, $25, 240 pages). In this startlingly frank memoir, the reader dons an apron to stand alongside the chef as he serves a slice of life in the kitchen in a typical “upscale Manhattan restaurant.” He’s well-qualified to do so, having worked at such New York dining destinations as Alinea, Per Se, Bouley, Ducasse and Momofuku.

As he explains in the preface, “I’ve compiled material from several restaurants and several periods in time. I only hope to provide a genuine impression of the industry.”

We’ll have what he’s having.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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