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Tales from the Kitchen: Books and Films About Chefs & Restaurants

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Tales from the Kitchen: Books and Films About Chefs & Restaurants

tales from the kitchen

Are you one of the millions of viewers who feasted upon Hulu’s Emmy-nominated series The Bear this summer? And are you now hungry for more stories from the exciting world of the culinary arts? Here are some books, movies, and documentaries you can check out for free with your Livingston Library card…

(Descriptions provided by the publishers)

kitchen confidential

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain spares no one’s appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same “take-no-prisoners” attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From Bourdain’s first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as dishwasher in a honky tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown (where he witnesses for the first time the real delights of being a chef); from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the east village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again, Bourdain’s tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable.

My Life In France by Julia Child

Although she would later singlehandedly create a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, Julia Child was not always a master chef. Indeed, when she first arrived in France in 1948 with her husband, Paul, who was to work for the USIS, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever with her newfound passion for cooking and teaching. Julia’s unforgettable story—struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, a wonderful, nearly fifty-year long marriage that took the Childs across the globe—unfolds with the spirit so key to Julia’s success as a chef and a writer, brilliantly capturing one of America’s most endearing personalities.

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from his grandmother’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, had only just begun–in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs and, most important, the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room–a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.

eat drink man woman

Eat Drink Man Woman (1994, directed by Ang Lee)

A delicious comedy about food, fatherhood and family ties. Widower Tao Chu, Taiwan’s most famous chef, struggles with accepting his three daughters’ newfound appetite for boys, an interest that begins to break the family apart with hilarious and often touching results.

Big Night (1996, directed by Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott)

New Jersey, 1950s. Two brothers run an Italian restaurant. Business is not going well as a rival Italian restaurant is out-competing them. In a final effort to save the restaurant, the brothers plan to put on an evening of incredible food.

Chef (2014, directed by Jon Favreau)

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

ratatouille

Ratatouille (2007, directed by Brad Bird)

A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great chef despite his family’s wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unwanted visitor in the kitchen of one of Paris’ most exclusive restaurants, Remy forms an unlikely partnership with Linguini, the garbage boy, who inadvertently discovers Remy’s amazing talents. They strike a deal, ultimately setting into motion a chain of extraordinary events that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

Three Stars: International Top Restaurants and the Michelin Star System (2010, directed by Lutz Hachmeister)

Focusing on ten world-class chefs, Three Stars depicts the everyday drama of life in gourmet restaurants and includes exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access to these multi-talented culinary artisans as they explore new creations in their gastronomic laboratories, hunt for exquisite ingredients in local markets, and gather rare edible plants along rough coastlines. By highlighting not only their culinary philosophies but also their daily kitchen routines, the film reveals the business of cooking on the highest level. It also opens a window into what goes into the world’s most important restaurant review book – the iconic red Michelin Guide. Featuring chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, René Redzepi, Yannick Alléno, Nadia Santini, Olivier Roellinger, Sergio Herman, Sven Elverfeld, Hideki Ishikawa, Juan Mari & Elena Arzak.

The Heat – A Kitchen (R)evolution: Seven Female Chefs at the Vanguard of Change (2019, directed by Maya Gallus

Restaurant kitchens are a pressurized stew of brutal hours, high stress and sleep deprivation. Acting out goes with the territory and anyone lower in the hierarchy is fair game. But the familiar macho posturing of celebrity chefs has reached a tipping point. Now with an influx of women at the helm of restaurants, and a younger generation unwilling to submit to the brutal conditions once considered the norm, the rules of “kitchen culture” as we know it are being rewritten.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012, directed by David Gelb)

A thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro Ono’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world and a loving yet complicated father.

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions

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