Sunday, June 5, 2011

BRUNCH WITH BINGO: BEATEN, SEARED, AND SAUCED - A REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

WELCOME TO BOOKIN' WITH BINGO'S
"BRUNCH WITH BINGO DAY"
I AM EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THIS SUNDAY'S
 
FOOD BOOK CHOICE IS.....
 
GIVEAWAY ENDED
BEATEN, SEARED, AND SAUCED
On Becoming a Chef at the 
Culinary Institute of America
 BY JONATHAN DIXON

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Millions of people fantasize about leaving their old lives behind, enrolling in cooking school, and training to become a chef. But for those who make the decision, the difference between the dream and reality can be gigantic—especially at the top cooking school in the country. For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America’s history, a book will give readers the firsthand experience of being a full-time student facing all of the challenges of the legendary course in its entirety.

On the eve of his thirty-eighth birthday and after shuffling through a series of unsatisfying jobs, Jonathan Dixon enrolled in the CIA (on a scholarship) to pursue his passion for cooking. In Beaten, Seared, and Sauced he tells hilarious and harrowing stories of life at the CIA as he and his classmates navigate the institution’s many rules and customs under the watchful and critical eyes of their instructors. Each part of the curriculum is covered, from knife skills and stock making to the high-pressure cooking tests and the daunting wine course (the undoing of many a student). Dixon also details his externship in the kitchen of Danny Meyer’s Tabla, giving readers a look into the inner workings of a celebrated New York City restaurant.

With the benefit of his age to give perspective to his experience, Dixon delivers a gripping day-to-day chronicle of his transformation from amateur to professional. From the daily tongue-lashings in class to learning the ropes—fast—at a top NYC kitchen, Beaten, Seared, and Sauced is a fascinating and intimate first-person view of one of America’s most famous culinary institutions and one of the world’s most coveted jobs.
You can read an excerpt from this fascinating memoir HERE.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
JONATHAN DIXON is a former inspector of nurses’ shoes, janitor in a coffin factory, messenger, nanny, newspaper book and music critic, staff writer at Martha Stewart Living, and creative writing instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He received his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America in 2010.

PRAISE FOR BEATEN, SEARED, AND SAUCED:
“How lucky for those of us who are fascinated by food and the people who make it that Jonathan Dixon chose to go to the CIA and to write about it. All about it. With wit and insight and a hefty dose of humor. You could probably learn just a smidgen more if you went to the CIA yourself, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as sitting in your favorite chair, sipping your favorite drink, and reading Jonathan’s story."
--Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table

“Jonathan Dixon's talents are such that I simultaneously envied and pitied him while reading his book. He brings the trials of joining the rigorous Culinary Institute of America to terrifying life. I enjoyed the journey so much that I never wanted him to graduate.”
--Joe Garden, features editor of The Onion
 
“If you think culinary school is just about slicing and dicing, think again. Jonathan Dixon’s compelling, deeply personal account of his trial by fire at the Culinary Institute of America lays bare the physicality, politics, and soul-searching that are part and parcel of a cook’s education. Third-degree burns, public humiliation, and a bubble-bursting externship at a beloved New York City restaurant are just a few highlights of this coming-of-age journey that the author—insanely? commendably—embarked on when he was nearly forty.  He’s a better man than I.”
--Andrew Friedman, author of Knives at Dawn
 
“There are certain experiences in our lives that we never forget and help define who we are and what we become. The CIA is one of those life-changing experiences. I never thought it could be put into words until I read these pages. Congratulations, Jonathan, for both surviving and your ability to share this with the world.”
--Johnny Iuzzini, James Beard Award winner and author of Dessert FourPlay
 
“With an original and refreshing voice, Dixon excels at capturing the mixed emotions of promises delivered and denied as he challenges convention and conquers the odds. VERDICT Rock star chefs have added to the allure of culinary education, and Dixon’s vivid and honest portrayal should provide a reality check for fans of TV cooking competitions. Shelve this next to Michael Ruhlman’s The Making of a Chef for a well-rounded collection.”
--Library Journal

“A companion of sorts to Michael Ruhlman’s more clinical The Making of a Chef (1997), Dixon’s candid course-by-course account charts his education as he gets whipped into shape by intimidating instructors (whose default temperaments seem to be near apoplectic) alongside classmates often half his age. …[A]s a writer he has the steady-tempoed, clarified ability to make his pages-long descriptions of crafting a test menu rival the drama of anything you’ll see on a competition cooking show.”
--Booklist

“Beaten, Seared, and Sauced, Jonathan Dixon's account of his chef-training at the CIA, is funny, gripping and immensely enjoyable. It reads like a picaresque novel.”
--The Wall Street Journal 
 
 
MY REVIEW/THOUGHTS:
The popularity of cooking shows and books the last few years has improved for those of us who take a real interest in all things food. With celebrated names like Rocco Dispirito, Duff Goldman, Sara Moulton, Cat Cora, Todd English, and Anthony Bourdain, many people have become more than mildly interested in the CIA. THIS CIA is, of course, the prestigious Culinary Institute of America from which these aforementioned chefs have all graduated. So in Jonathan Dixon’s BEATEN, SEARED, AND SAUCED: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America, readers will find more than the typical chef memoir.

Jonathan Dixon decided he wanted to become a chef when he grew up. However, he did this at age thirty-eight after working at different jobs over the years. As a free lance writer, Jonathan had written for such influential publications as Newsday and the New York Times, plus he had spent time with Martha Stewart Living as a staff writer where he shared his interest in food. When he decided he wanted to become a chef, he knew that attending the CIA in Hyde Park, New York, was the place to go in order to earn a degree working with the largest staff of Certified Master Chefs.

With his experienced writing skills, Dixon has written a narrative that is fascinating, fun, and even inspiring to read from beginning to end. He covers all his time at the CIA from enrollment and his first day in classes. The detailed descriptions create mental images of what Jonathan experienced as he procured his degree. Cooking something to serve is far from the first thing that students learn at CIA. Also, the demands and behavior of the professors are described and add to the total picture. Classes first include subjects areas such as culinary math, product knowledge, and gastronomy before going into course work in learning the precise way to cut meats and vegetables.

Then in the middle of course work, hands-on training takes place as students take an externship in a real restaurant. Jonathan found this experience to be a bit overwhelming as he was asked to prepare sauces, marinades, and stews as well as fry foods to order. Jonathan describes his real emotions as he tries very hard but doesn’t seem to receive much respect from the chef and crew at Tabla restaurant in New York City where he did this externship. Upon returning to CIA however, Dixon begins to excel in classes and finds upon his graduation in 2010 that he is ready to embark on his cooking career but not sure that it will be in a restaurant role. At his age, Jonathan wants to now use his newly learned skills to provide a good life for his family’s future and that may just be more in the way of being a private chef or caterer.

I am a Food Network/cooking show junkie and I found this book to a fascinating read. Jonathan Dixon revealed not only his experiences in this new career choice but also how he handled it emotionally. I felt I really got to know the author and became engrossed in his story from the first pages. His writing style is easy to read and entertaining, and I highly recommend BEATEN, SEARED, AND SAUCED to all who love memoirs or cooking or just a really good read!


GIVEAWAY
 
THANKS TO CARLY AND THE GOOD FOLKS
AT CROWN PUBLISHING AND 
CLARKSON POTTER FOR A COPY OF 
THIS MEMOIR FOR ME TO GIVE AWAY
TO ONE OF MY LUCKY READERS
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE 
TO COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:
 
+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT BEATEN, SEARED, AND SAUCED AND WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO WIN THIS ONE

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK THAT I CAN FOLLOW

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING BY VISITING THE CIA (CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA) WEBSITE HERE. IF YOU ARE A "FOODIE" YOU WILL LOVE ALL THE INTERVIEWS AND INFORMATION.
 
GIVEAWAY ENDS AT 
6 PM, EST, JUNE 16
GOOD LUCK!
 

53 comments:

debbie said...

I have always wondered what it would be like to attend the CIA. I remember reading once, where Anthony Bourdain said if you are 40 forget going to it. I think all the stress and stamina that it takes would favor the younger chef, but it sounds like he did really well. I would really like to read this book.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I would love to attend one of their boot camps. I bet you could learn alot in just a couple of days.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Carol W. said...

Many years ago we ate at one of the Hyde Park restaurants (Italian, I believe). It was such an interesting experience. This book would provide the behind-the-scene view that restaurant visitors never see.

chipotlecraving(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol W. said...

I was interested to discover that there are many wine studies courses. Some are as short as half a day.

chipotlecraving(at)gmail(dot)com

bloggingmom said...

I would have loved to attend the CIA when I was younger. I find it interesting that this guy did it at almost age 40. The book sounds amazing.

Tore said...

I think it is interestingto learn about how someone becomes a chef and what its like to attend the CIA. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

bloggingmom said...

I would love to attend the Parent and Teen day at the CIA. If only I still lived in New York.

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

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Lisa R/alterlisa said...

I love to cook and this would be an awesome book to win

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traveler said...

It would be fascinating to read this great book. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

To experience this training and become an expert is quite an accomplishment. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

An interesting idea to attend CIA. He must be talented. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I would find this experience interesting and reading his encounters there. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

rubynreba said...

Never read a book about a cooking school and it sounds interesting!
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rubynreba said...

The Alumni Homecoming is June 14 & 15. What fun they will have comparing notes!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Margie said...

It would be fascinating to learn the ins and outs of culinary school. It is great that this author is following his passion.
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allisonsbj3 said...

I like that it gives you a behind the scenes look at becoming a chef.

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

allisonsbj3 said...

I learned that they have a restaurant.

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I know someone who attended there, would be interested to read this! Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

heavenisabookstore said...

I cannot get enough of culinary books and this one sounds just as fabulous! How great is it that at 38 you can still start your life over and go for your dreams?! Thanks for a great giveaway!!

mamabunny13 said...

I want to win this because I have a cookbook addiction! lol
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Pat L. said...

Anything that has to do with food count me in.

patoct@yahoo.com

Colleen Turner said...

I love cooking shows but the first thing I have learned from them is that I DO NOT want to drop everything and become a chef! You really have to dedicate your entire life and do so without making a lot of money just for the chance to be great. It would be interesting to read just how hard it truly is!
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Colleen Turner said...

I learned from the CIA website that their degrees require 1,300-plus hands-on kitchen hours! That is a lot of cooking!
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Amy (ArtsyBookishGal) said...

I really enjoy memoirs and my roomie enjoys cooking, so this book is perfect for both of us!

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clenna said...

I would like to read this because it's a real story and it's humorous! Oh and it's about a life goal. All of which sound awesome!

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