Is there high drama behind the swinging doors of a New York kitchen? Mamma mia!
Insatiable curiosity and an encounter with a legendary chef led Bill Buford, a staff writer for The New Yorker, to a job in the prep kitchen of Babbo, Mario Batali’s three-star Italian restaurant in Manhattan.
Buford found working in a hell-hot kitchen punctuated by the staccato chop-chop-chop of razor-edged knives and the endless sizzle of sautéing meat is no piece of cake, but it does provide the ingredients for a juicy story.
Heat folds one tale into another: Batali’s odyssey through the Italian countryside, honing his chops in a series of traditional cucinas, and Buford’s eye-opening experience in the kitchen, where tempers often run hotter than the fiery grill, and where exacting detail—such as the zero-tolerance specifications of cubed carrots—is the recipe for Mario’s mantra: consistency, consistency, consistency.
Buford’s transparent reporting drops readers into the thick of the soup. Heat is delectable. You won’t read it without salivating.