Friday, October 06, 2017

Booknote: Mincemeat

Leonardo Lucarelli, Mincemeat: the Education of an Italian Chef. New York: Other Press, 2016.  ISBN: 978-1590517918.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: memoir, chefs, cooking
Format: hardcover
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

I recently finished reading this. . . barely. The author has been compared to Anthony Bourdain, which is part of why I picked up this book. Let me warn you not to be fooled. Apparently, being a drug addict, a womanizer, a thief at times, and often an asshole can all be forgiven if you can cook decently enough.

Bourdain and Lucarelli can both be dicks, but I do not recall Bourdain actively stealing from places he worked at. Also, Bourdain after a while learns some humility, albeit the hard way, and he displays a degree of  humanity that you will not see in Lucarelli's book. Lucarelli makes bad choice after bad choice, barely redeeming himself because he has the ability to cook. Other than that, there just isn't much substance to this book, at least until he settles down a bit to teach and consult, but by then the book is over, and you could not care less about the guy.

This seems to be a trend in chef memoirs: it does not matter how big of an asshole or poor human being you are, as long as you can cook fancy food, you can get away with it if there are people willing to pay for it. Very few can do it well, and Lucarelli is not one of them. You get tired of his antics, and the asshole schtick wears out pretty fast. The book is jut not really compelling. This is a book to skip.

1 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:


heather said...

I've never understood why this kind of behavior seems to be so tolerated in professional kitchens.

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

Thanks for reviewing this...I felt the same way about Marcus Samuellson's story.....