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
PAUL LIEBRANDT, the chef and co-owner of the Elm, is one of the superstars of the culinary world, having received two Michelin stars and three stars from the New York Times (at age twenty-four, the youngest chef to do so). He was the star of the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt (winner of a James Beard Award for best documentary). He lives in New York.
ANDREW FRIEDMAN is the author of Knives at Dawn, about the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition, and the founder and chief contributor to the chef-focused website Toqueland.com. He is also the coeditor of the popular anthology Don’t Try This at Home, and has collaborated on more than twenty books with some of America’s finest and most well-known chefs, including Alfred Portale, Michelle Bernstein, Laurent Tourondel, and former White House chef Walter Scheib. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family.
Praise for To the Bone…
“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