In this week's cookbook review, we bring you something different from usual. Chefwise is a groundbreaking guide and one of the first books to provide an insider look into the contemporary culinary industry rather than focus just on recipes or techniques.
In this book, Shari Bayer, a culinary and hospitality PR veteran and host of the All in the Industry podcast, brings us the stories of chefs who represent leaders of today and tomorrow who cook across various cuisines worldwide. Many of these chefs own and operate internationally acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurants, of which Shari had the privilege of personally visiting these establishments.
During her visits, she conducted interviews with both esteemed veterans and promising newcomers in the culinary scene, including renowned names such as Gaggan Anand, Carolina Bazán, Massimo Bottura, Nina Compton, Wylie Dufresne, Suzanne Goin, Virgilio Martinez, Enrique Olvera, Eric Ripert, Clare Smyth, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Alice Waters, among others.
For Chefwise, Shari tailored her interview questions to each chef and their culinary and personal backgrounds, asking specific questions about running kitchens and restaurant life, and invited the chefs to share their most poignant lessons. Chefs were enthusiastic and eager to contribute, sharing their insightful anecdotes based on their own singular stories.
Throughout the pages of this book, renowned chefs from various corners of the globe share their personal beliefs and perspectives, each offering unique insights. Hélène Darroze encourages simplicity and authenticity with her powerful advice to "be yourself," while Nigerian chef Michael Elégbèdé emphasizes the significance of experiential learning, stating that "experience is the best teacher."
The chefs openly discuss their culinary journeys, addressing triumphs and challenges and the invaluable lessons they've gained. With humility, they reveal their ongoing aspirations to improve and refine their craft. They also reflect on the changes occurring in the culinary world, acknowledging the positive and less favorable developments while expressing their hopes for the future.
Divided into fourteen sections such as Philosophy, Leadership, Sourcing, Business, Technology, Activism, Work-Life Balance, Fundamentals, and Future, among others, the chefs share their insights and advice on a wide range of subjects.
These topics include crafting seasonal menus, utilizing top-quality ingredients, essential cooking tools, sustainable practices, the significance of restaurant profit and loss statements (P&Ls), and strategies for effective engagement on Instagram.
You'll find prominent pull quotes within the chefs' responses that showcase particularly noteworthy words of wisdom, emphasizing the most impactful and thought-provoking ideas.
Last but not least, and a cool fact that we could not fail to mention, Chefwise comes in a compact and eye-catching design, with its cover presenting an imitation cloth case that mimics the appearance and texture of a chef's apron.
As we said in the beggining of this review, Chefwise is different from everything we ever reviewed.
Chefwise offers a treasure trove of diverse subjects and accumulated expertise, offering practical perspectives on the inner workings of the culinary world. The valuable guidance and personal experiences shared by industry insiders will captivate not just aspiring chefs, culinary experts, and devoted celebrity chef enthusiasts, but also individuals aspiring to open their own restaurants, as well as those with a keen interest in business and leadership.
Chefwise is an indispensable gem in the culinary literature. With its thought-provoking interviews and profound insights from a diverse array of chefs, this book offers a unique glimpse into the inner workings of the culinary industry.