What defines a chef?
Despite the glamour attached to the profession today, a successful life in the kitchen is determined more by sacrifice than stardom, demanding a dedication bordering on obsession, all in pursuit of The Food. In this meditation on the culinary life that blends elements of memoir and cookbook, Paul Liebrandt shares the story of his own struggle to become a chef and define his personal style.
To the Bone is Liebrandt’s exploration of his culinary roots and creative development. At fifteen, he began his foray into the restaurant world and soon found himself cooking in the finest dining temples of London, Paris, and ultimately, New York. Taking inspiration from the methods and menus of Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Pierre Gagnaire, Liebrandt dedicated himself to learning his craft for close to a decade. Then, at New York City’s Atlas, he announced himself as a worldclass talent, putting his hard-earned technique to the test with a startlingly personal cuisine. He continued to further his reputation at restaurants such as Gilt, Corton, and now the Elm, becoming known for a singular, graphic style that has captured the public’s imagination and earned him the respect of his peers.
Punctuated throughout with dishes that mark the stages of his personal and professional life, all of them captured in breathtaking color photography, this is Liebrandt’s literary tasting menu, a portrait of a chef putting it together and constantly pushing himself to challenge the way he, and we, think about the possibilities of food.
About the Author
Andrew Friedman has made a career of getting to know the heads and hearts of professional cooks and athletes. For more than ten years, Friedman has collaborated with many of the nation's best and most revered chefs on cookbooks and other writing projects. His writing career began in 1997, when Alfred Portale, asked him to collaborate on the "Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook". The book received wide acclaim and since then he has worked as a cookbook collaborator on more than twenty projects, helping a number of the nation's best chefs (Alfred Portale, David Waltuck, Tom Valenti, and many others) share their unique culinary viewpoints with readers. As coauthor of the "New York Times "bestseller "Breaking Back", the memoir of American tennis star James Blake, he took readers inside an athlete's mind during training and competition, and he does the same as a frequent contributor to "Tennis Magazine". In "KNIVES AT DAWN: The American Team and the Bocuse d'Or 2009", Friedman combines these two personal passions to tell the story of the premier cooking competition in the world. Friedman has contributed articles to "O--The Oprah Magazine" and other publications and websites. He has been profiled in "The New York Daily News" and "New York Magazine", and interviewed for, or featured in articles in, "The New York Times "and "The Wall Street Journal", as well as on NPR's "Taste of the Nation" and WOR Radio's "Food Talk". He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from ColumbiaUniversity, and is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute's "La Technique" cooking program. He lives in New York City with his family.
“By any measure, Paul Liebrandt’s career in the kitchen has been a wild success. But it hasn't been a mad dash toward celebrity, as anyone who reads To the Bone will see. More than a collection of recipes, this impressive book is a coming-of-age story, a narrative that tells of a chef's often painstaking creative growth. Liebrandt spares us any phony glamour, focusing instead on the desire and commitment that restaurant work requires. That's a lot more real than anything you see on ‘reality’ TV.”
“Ever since first learning about Paul's cooking while he was Atlas, I have followed him for his no-holds-barred risk-taking style of cooking. It takes a determined and self-confident person to eschew the standard conventions, and by doing so Paul has changed the way people view cooking and its possibilities.”
“Paul is not a categorically ‘French,’ ‘American,’ or ‘British’ chef, but he has absorbed knowledge from three cultures . . . solidifying his reputation as a chef to be reckoned with through his passion and hard work. His food is more than art on the plate—it is an intricate extension of himself . . . and showcases the evolution of one of America’s most creative young chefs today."
“If you’ve ever wondered where the heck a modern chef gets his inspiration from, these pages will give you some idea of how it works. [This is] privileged access to one of the most innovative, skillful, and idiosyncratic chefs in America. . . . Dig in and enjoy.”
—from the foreword by Heston Blumenthal