Book Review: The Soul of A Chef


The Soul of A Chef, one of Michael Ruhlman’s most frequently quoted books, has found a place on my bookshelf as one of my favorite culinary reads of all time.

He dives into several aspects of the culinary industry: behind the line of busy, successful restaurants, within the walls of the Certified Master Chef Exam, inside the quiet, well-run machine that is fine dining.

What does make the soul of a chef? The title? The stamina?

Is it the ability to taste and replicate?

Is it the ability to build on old techniques while still being able to incorporate originality?

Is it simply a passion for food?

The short answer is yes, to all of the above. Throughout his investigation, Ruhlman touches on several points that lead the reader to the answer. Although it’s vague (can anyone ever really answer what makes a soul?) it would appear that unrelenting passion is what makes a chef. What else could give anyone the stamina enough to work long, hard, hot hours every night and sacrifice family, personal time and many a holiday to feed others?

Well written and insightful, The Soul of A Chef brings to light the difficult and rewarding challenges that make a chef more than just a talented cook. Certainly worth the read.

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