Burn the Place by Iliana Regan

Burn the Place

A singular, powerfully expressive debut memoir that traces one chef's struggle to find her place and what happens once she does.Burn the Place is a galvanizing memoir that chronicles Iliana Regan's journey from foraging on the family farm to running her Michelin-starred restaurant, Elizabeth. Her story is raw like that first bite of wild onion, alive with startling imagery, and told with uncommon emotional power.Regan grew up the youngest of four...

Details Burn the Place

TitleBurn the Place
Release DateJul 16th, 2019
PublisherAgate Midway
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Biography Memoir, LGBT

Reviews Burn the Place

  • Kasa Cotugno
    I chose this because some of my most beloved books, beginning with Kitchen Confidential, have been memoirs by established chefs and Iliana Regan's arc seemed to echo that of Gabrielle Hamilton. Yes there are similarities. Both come from large, unconventional families, with a strong background in earth to table cooking, both have college degrees in writing but not in food services, they share sexual identities and have michelin starred restaurants...
  • Megan Prokott
    I felt very moved by Regan’s honesty and her ability to forge her own path throughout this book, but especially as she speaks about her sexuality and the trials of being gay in rural American. I look around Chicago today and see a flourishing Pride parade, rainbows on every corner, and outspoken acceptance of the queer population. It’s easy to forget that things weren’t always that way and things still aren’t that way in so many places. R...
  • Tracey
    I had never heard of this author or her two famous restaurants before reading this book. I just saw it pop up in my library app and thought I would give it a shot. It's a pretty straightforward memoir of this chef's life. She grew up on a farm, struggled with her identity and sexuality, became an alcoholic and drug addict, then realized she was a good cook and tried to turn it into a career. At one point near the end she talks about other chefs w...
  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    Summary:A fascinating memoir, enjoyable both for the author's emotional account of her struggles and for the cool technical details of her career.Iliana Regan is perhaps best known for her Michelin-starred restaurant, Elizabeth, but I first heard of her as the author of this National Book Award long-listed memoir. The book blurb sells it as searingly honest, which it is. It covers the sort of difficult topics the phrase 'searingly honest' conjure...
  • Sam
    This memoir by Ilana Regan shows her life through glimpses, from childhood self proclaimed hillbilly, on to substance abusing young adult, and finally to a successful chef/restaurant owner, with reflection in all three sections on her sexuality. The book was an entertaining read but I would not be a target reader, since I no longer am interested reading about the rock and roll lifestyle of others. For me the charm was in the less dramatic moments...
  • Viral
    Thanks to Agate Midway for the ARC at BEA 2019!I wasn't particularly interested in this book at first, because I thought it was just a chef's memoir. I sure am glad I got it and read it anyways, because it is so much more than that! This book is Regan's memoir about growing up with gender dysphoria, facing discrimination, homo/transphobia, and general bullying growing up. It then shows Iliana struggle living paycheck to paycheck and struggle with...
  • Zach
    Five stars for the first 75 pages. Then it just...It's all over the place and sometimes that works and sometimes it's like you're eating something rich and wonderful and then they just keep feeding it to you.
  • Ron
    Like Iliana Regan, I was raised a short hop off US 421 in northwest Indiana, in the middle of nowhere, with limited role models for who or what I might eventually become. We were 90 minutes or less from Chicago, where we would both spend much of our adult years, but worlds away. “Burn the Place” reminds me that so much of our becoming is the struggle of kids in such an environment – to work our way through and out of such landscapes, and fo...
  • Jess
    Regan’s upbringing is so interesting and I got a real sense of how the artist as chef was formed. Will return to this book later.
  • Dan Gibson
    This is culinary memoir (or memoir-ish) #4 of 2019, which isn't super surprising, I suppose, considering how much time I think about food at work (and let's face it, in life). Regan's struggle to develop a sense of self is definitely interesting and more contemporary than the standard chef's rise to prominence story, especially since there are hints throughout of how she arrived on her "new gatherer" ethos, but I wish the writing were a little be...
  • Nick
    I live in Chicago. The Michelin-starred restaurant Elizabeth is a local hero; I celebrated an anniversary at Kitsune. Had I read the book reviews before diving in, I would have realized this is not so much a culinary memoir as it is one woman’s struggle with drugs, alcohol, and her sexual and personal identity. As a lesbian coming-of-age story for folks in and around “The Industry,” it is frank and sincere in capturing a moment in Chicago...
  • Nicole
    "The best book i've read in a long ass time." — me, in a text just now to my friendsThis memoir was SO GOOD. Memoirs are so tricky. I can always tell when authors want to seem relatable, or self-deprecating, or funny. It's hard to be authentic, I get that, but I can spot a put-on tone a MILE AWAY. Iliana gave me none of that. She was brutally honest about herself, whether she sounded "right" or not. I picked this book up for two reasons: first,...
  • Donna Lee
    This book is marketed as a “culinary memoir” that chronicles Iliana Regan’s journey from cooking and foraging on the family farm to opening her Michelin-starred restaurant Elizabeth in Chicago within walking distance of my home. While the book is that, it is also the story of growing up the youngest of four girls in an embattled household, her trying to come to terms with her sexuality, and her struggle with alcohol addiction. Iliana is a b...
  • Kate
    A bit sporadic but ultimately very satisfying. Midwest culinary memoirs resonate with me despite the fact that I myself am the type of home cook the views beans on toast as an acceptable daily supper
  • Michelle
    A chef memoir unlike any other I have read. Truthful, vulnerable and unflinching. The author doesn't seem to care what we think of her, but not in the "whatever, bro" bravado way. More in the "my life decisions have led me to this corner and I will fight my way out" way.Fucking finally! She takes full responsibility for her actions and works to change in a sincere and meaningful way. No signs of toxic sobriety anywhere.It has stayed with me since...
  • Kevin Greene
    I’m starting to think that “nonfiction by womxn with alcoholism” may be my favorite subgenre of literature.In a year that’s brought Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison into my life, Iliana Regan’s memoir joins a generous and empathetic inner circle. Regan has a special place in it as well as the owner and head chef of multiple restaurants in my current home of choice, Chicago. Albeit restaurants I cannot afford to go to but still. Regan gi...
  • Eve Studnicka
    This is a chef memoir for those of us who hate chef memoirs. Regan subverts every dead horse cliche of the bad boy rockstar chef narrative, giving us instead a tale of rural queerness, escapism, wry humor, and honest reflection. Her voice - like her cooking - is tender and bold with an approachable warmth, a touch of whimsy, and an embracement of darkness that honors to the brutality and grit of a life lived without compromise. She substitutes eg...
  • Lynn
    I love memories and I love food so reading this book was a no-brainer. The author was an Indianan farm girl who was pathologically shy and thought she was a boy. She grew up to be an alcoholic, lesbian, server, cook, chef, and Michelin star restaurant owner. Her story is a bumpy one but worth the read. I particularly liked the beginning of the book. In it, she describes her life on her magical farm and the food it produced. Her description of hun...
  • Orla
    I think I have driven everyone around me to distraction talking about this book, and how I want to go eat at Elizabeth or spend a weekend at the Milkweed Inn. It's not just because the food all sounds amazing, and the thought and care that goes in to how Regan develops recipes is evident. It's not just because she's a little nerdy (loves Lego and video games). It's because kid and teen Iliana sounds so much like little me that this book almost fl...
  • Laurie
    Iliana Regan is the owner of the Michelin Star restaurant “Elizabeth”, named for her sister who died in a jail holding cell. She was exposed to food a lot as a child- they lived on a farm and grew, foraged, baked, and preserved most of their food, but until the point her mother rebelled at having to do all that and they moved to a city. Oh, and they also helped out in Regan’s grandmother’s restaurant, too. Little wonder her mother got exh...
  • Jill Meyer
    Creativity in a person can manifest itself in many, many ways. For Iliana Regan, the author of "Burn the Place", she's both creative in the kitchen and at a computer. Her book, a memoir of the rather interesting times in her life, as well as the people involved, seems to be as honest as a memoir writer can be. Regan is the owner of "Elizabeth", a Michelin one-star restaurant in Chicago, as well as a couple of other eateries. To gain a Michelin st...
  • Jeannie Boutelle
    Well, for a period of time, I tried to dine at Iliana Regan's restaurant Elisabeth each season. After reading this book, I now realize I have been pronouncing her name wrong this whole time, it is Il-ay-nuh and I have been saying Ill-ee-ah-nuh.After finishing this book, I said to myself "wow, it is amazing she is still alive and not dead. She must have a guardian angel". This is a book about addiction, sexual identity and coming of age and of lis...
  • Emily
    This book packs a punch, it's full of a kind of raw honesty about brutal situations that fills the reader with pride when it reaches the successes in Regan's life. There's no wallowing in self pity or trying to put some grand moral lesson on the hard times, the good and the bad are all facets of her life. It's direct and bold and infused with love for the people in her life.I was close to loving this book but the style held me back. I'm not an au...
  • Jessica
    I love chef memoirs even if I'm not familiar with the chef, but this one was not great. Iliana Regan grew up in rural Indiana and always felt out of place. She was gay before she really understood what that meant. She grew up on a farm and was raised growing vegetables, canning food, hunting, foraging, and cooking. While her family was super dysfunctional, she did inherit a love of food and inherent cooking skills. Alcoholism and addiction ran in...
  • MaryJo
    This memoir of a young Chicago based chef has some interesting parts. It is mostly about her youth, adolescent and young adult years. She struggled with alcoholism, as did other members of her family. While I sympathize with the effort the narrator makes to get and stay sober, especially in the restaurant world, I tend to find descriptions of one drunken incident after another tedious. She also writes of her learning to negotiate relationships wi...
  • Phillip Oliver
    Regan, the chef and owner of Michelin-starred Elizabeth Restaurant and Kitsune in Chicago, writes about growing up on a family farm in Indiana with three sisters. She grew up exploring the woods around her home and learning about mushrooms, flowers and other wild foods that she would later incorporate into her restaurant menus. Her life story wasn't all that idyllic however. She knew she was different from a very early age and describes the confu...
  • Steph Winter
    This author was highlighted in the New York Times recently and, after my brother-in-law shared the article with me, he immediately bought me a copy of her book thinking that her life somewhat paralleled my own. My evaluation? Not so much except for several details. But certain things are true: Iliana Regan is a good writer and an incredibly creative, talented, and highly regarded forager and chef. Her journey to achieve that status is filled with...
  • Shannon Martincic
    A candid journey through the development of an extremely talented and unique chef and person. The books journey humbles this genuine creative genius. While it doesn't take us too in depth in her creative process (we want more!) It does give life to the way she got where she is. The story is nothing short of emotional, sexy, vulnerable, and action packed. An amazing account of overcoming all her obstacles, facing her fears and putting on her best ...
  • Daniela Groza
    I noticed one of the reviews mentioned Iliana is too young to write a memoir. As a young person myself, I say ~ WRITE PUBLISH TELL YOUR STORY ! We grow up with antiquated texts and wise advice from the elder, and it's wonderful to read about lives well lived, they're inspiring and sometimes great lessons are handed down to us. However, nothing like a young memoir, nothing like writing while the fire is still burning, nothing like having less apol...