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Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef
     

Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef

by Leonardo Lucarelli, Lorena Rossi Gori (Translator), Danielle Rossi (Translator)
 

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With the wit and pace of Anthony Bourdain, Italian chef and anthropologist Leonardo Lucarelli sketches the exhilarating life behind the closed doors of restaurants, and the unlikely work ethics of the kitchen.
 
In Italy, five-star restaurants and celebrity chefs may seem, on the surface, a part of the landscape. In reality, the restaurant

Overview

With the wit and pace of Anthony Bourdain, Italian chef and anthropologist Leonardo Lucarelli sketches the exhilarating life behind the closed doors of restaurants, and the unlikely work ethics of the kitchen.
 
In Italy, five-star restaurants and celebrity chefs may seem, on the surface, a part of the landscape. In reality, the restaurant industry is as tough, cutthroat, and unforgiving as anywhere else in the world--sometimes even colluding with the shady world of organized crime. The powerful voice of Leonardo Lucarelli takes us through the underbelly of Italy's restaurant world. Lucarelli is a professional chef who for almost two decades has been roaming Italy opening restaurants, training underpaid, sometimes hopelessly incompetent sous-chefs, courting waitresses, working long hours, riding high on drugs, and cursing a culinary passion he inherited as a teenager from his hippie father. In his debut, Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef, Lucarelli teaches us that even among rogues and misfits, there is a moral code in the kitchen that must, above all else, always be upheld.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/14/2016
Italian chef and consultant Lucarelli has worked in kitchens ranging from holes in the wall to chic Michelin-starred eateries. Though he doesn’t revisit all of them, he gives readers a glimpse at the day-to-day lives of those working the line under harsh conditions. It’s a story that’s been told, and told better, many times before. Lucarelli’s tale includes lots of drugs, cops, lurid sex, busy nights, short fuses, and high stakes. He offers insight into what it really takes to not only become a chef but sustain a career, in addition to moments of solipsistic reflection. The urge to compare the book to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential is inevitable, and under that scrutiny Lucarelli’s work falls far short. His themes are similar to Bourdain’s, but his book is a lesser version of the same story. Lucarelli, though a talented writer, doesn’t have the same bravado and chutzpah. Those in the restaurant and hospitality industry will likely recognize themselves in some of the book’s vignettes. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
The bad-boy chef memoir might as well have its own section in bookstores and Mincemeat places itself squarely in a tradition personified by Anthony Bourdain…Mr. Lucarelli is also a hilariously funny writer…His book reads like a picaresque novel as he roams from kitchen to kitchen, encountering thick-necked mobsters, lustful waitresses and cheating bosses. His description of an encounter with a pastry chef he meets at a party in Rome is delivered in typical deadpan humor.” –Wall Street Journal

"If you're in the mood for an internationally acclaimed, intellectually captivating memoir with an almost Conradian atmosphere, you'll be served well by maverick chef Leonardo Lucarelli's Mincemeat." –ELLE

“Wise and often very funny, the book offers sumptuous glimpses into human foibles and provides readers an unforgettable taste of the unabashedly sordid realities that underlie the high-gloss world of Italian cuisine. A wickedly candid memoir.” –Kirkus Reviews

“If you love food but not cooking, satisfy your appetite with Mincemeat: the Education of an Italian Chef, Leonardo Lucarelli’s kitchen confidential from bel paese.” –Family Circle Magazine

"Enthralling." –BBC.com

“Celebrated chef Lucarelli has a bad-boy reputation, but he’s more than just the Italian Anthony Bourdain. In his new memoir, the chef and anthropologist writes about his experiences working in some of Italy’s finest restaurants, where employees live hard and wild, but always adhere to an unwritten code of loyalty.” –MensJournal.com

“Personal and heartfelt…Mincemeat is a damn good memoir.” –Shelf Awareness 

"Translated from the Italian, Lucarelli’s culinary autobiography moves at breakneck speed, just like his kitchen." –Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
2016-09-26
An Italian chef’s no-holds-barred memoir of his love-hate relationship with cooking and the cutthroat world of restaurant cuisine.The India-born son of “Italian hippies,” Lucarelli stumbled into his profession at age 19 when he told Sandro, a man who had just lost his sous-chef, that he knew “how to cook a little.” His experience was greater than Lucarelli let on: at home, his father had shown him how to turn “cooking into pleasure.” Though an impoverished university student in Rome at the time, he began to work in the kitchen; the author’s adroitness as a shoplifter allowed him to buy expensive foods he used for culinary experiments popular among his friends. Lucarelli never intended on making cooking a career, but the next job that followed—for which he submitted a resume “jam-packed with blatant lies”—was also in the kitchen. As he moved from restaurant to restaurant in Rome and northern Italy, he quickly learned that while the food business never guaranteed security, it also never lacked for colorful characters, such as bosses who could never be trusted to pay on time (or even at all) and co-workers “with troubled pasts and present lives wasted by drugs and alcohol.” In between screaming at other chefs, finding and losing jobs, dating sleazy waitresses, drinking, and doing drugs, Lucarelli also learned how to set up and organize restaurant kitchens and menus. Yet rather than continue to follow the tortured and chaotic path to culinary stardom, he fell in love with a “very shy girl” named Giuliana. Together, they had a son, who taught Lucarelli that the most meaningful life emphasized family over the pursuit of egoistical pleasures like opening his own restaurant and relentlessly running after Michelin star–glory. Wise and often very funny, the book offers sumptuous glimpses into human foibles and provides readers an unforgettable taste of the unabashedly sordid realities that underlie the high-gloss world of Italian cuisine. A wickedly candid memoir.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590517918
Publisher:
Other Press, LLC
Publication date:
12/06/2016
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
233,631
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Leonardo Lucarelli was born in India and has since resided in regions all across Italy, including Rome, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, Veneta, Trentino, and Tuscany. He entered the culinary world while a college student, and after completing a degree in anthropology, he became a chef. He has worked in the kitchens of fifteen restaurants—some Michelin-starred, and seven of which he served as chef. Lucarelli currently lives in L’Aquila, where he consults for several restaurants in Rome.
 
Lorena Rossi Gori, who was born in Scotland and raised in Australia, came to Italy on a family holiday and never left. An avid traveler and opera fan, she works as a conference interpreter and translator.
 
Danielle Rossi was born in Melbourne, Australia, and lived and studied in Hobart, Florence, Lucca, and Milan before eventually resettling in Melbourne, where she teaches Italian and translating at Monash University. Danielle and Lorena come from a long line of hoteliers and restaurateurs and know a thing or two about demented knife-hurling chefs.

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