Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey

Four Kitchens

At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren Shockey learned to salt food properly, cook fearlessly over high heat, and knock back beers like a pro. But she also discovered that her real culinary education wouldn't begin until she actually worked in a restaurant. After a somewhat disappointing apprenticeship in the French provinces, Shockey hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four high-end restaurants around the world. She started in ...

Details Four Kitchens

TitleFour Kitchens
Release DateJul 27th, 2011
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
GenreFood and Drink, Food, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Travel, Cooking, Cookbooks, Biography, Foodie, Culinary, Cultural, France

Reviews Four Kitchens

  • lana
    As someone who works in kitchens, I found myself wanting to tell the author-repeatedly- that staging in a restaurant feels nothing like working there. She receives a lot of praise and seems to do well as an intern, but her self-congratulating tone gets old quickly. She does do a good job of dispelling the notion that kitchen work is exciting or glamorous- it's often repetitive and tedious, especially for new initiates- and I think it's been a whi...
  • Jessica Malzman
    Four Kitchens is a must read! I could not put this book down. Lauren riveting tale of her year traveling the globe as a stagier is truly inspiring. She is a brave young woman and a witty and insightful writer. As both an avid traveler and a “foodie” myself I found her story utterly captivating. She is exceptionally observant and her descriptions successfully capture the essence not only of the cities that she lives in but of the people that s...
  • Emily
    A well-written and engaging book, but unfortunately, the writing doesn’t do much to make the writer terribly likable. Ms. Shockey portrays herself as nearly faultless - every restaurant seems to think her the best stage ever to work there, all offer her a job - or comment that she’s obviously going far better places than staying in the kitchen with them. The book would have benefited greatly from a degree of humility about things more than in...
  • Liz
    I hate to bash on an ambitious young person, since I am only a few years older than this author, but man, does she need a slice of humble pie. The premise is that after growing up in Manhattan and graduating from the U of C, she decides to spend her savings (?) from a year at a crappy PR job to support a four-country jaunt as a stage in highly regarded restaurant kitchens, then write a book about it. She comes from a family whose parents have "ea...
  • Elizabeth
    I've read a number of autobiographical tales from behind the spoon. Each one offers a unique view of cultures and experiences that as a home cook, I will doubtfully ever experience myself. Congrats to Lauren Shockey for having the guts to follow her dreams. It takes courage and spirit to travel the world and find your bliss. I enjoyed the descriptive aspect of the new scenery though the conversations were not well written. However, the level of w...
  • Pam
    The book had its good points, like the recipes and descriptions of what kind of work goes into a kitchen like wd-50's. But the biggest problem I had with this book was that I just didn't like the author. Since this is a memoir, not liking the author and her voice is a big problem. She started coming off as a bit entitled and never really happy with anything. wd-50 was too bogged-down in technique rather than satisfying food. La Verticale had deli...
  • Zovig
    Following in a spate of food memoirs that I've read recently that are by extraordinarily talented writers (Ruth Reichl and Fucshia Dunlop among the best), this book about a young culinary school grad who stages at restaurants in nyc, paris, vietnam, and israel, is underwhelming. The author never recognizes the privilege of her life as an upper middle class kid who gets the chance to stage around the world (with parents who can afford to visit her...
  • N.N. Light
    What a great book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading her life in the kitchens around the world. If you like reading about what life is really like behind the scenes, pick this up.My Rating: 5 stars
  • Randal
    I really wanted to like this book -- it's been on my to-read list for a couple of years. The content is fine -- working as an intern (called throughout a stage) at restaurants around the world, including Wylie Dufrense's wd~50. The recipes are worth looking at. But overall it falls flat.A few little pas amusants to go with all the amuses the author samples along the way ...* As noted by many reviewers here, her combination of self-entitlement and...
  • Cheryl
    I applaud Lauren for knowing what she wanted and finding a way to pursue her dreams of wanting to be a chef. After Lauren’s disaster in France, some people would have thrown in the towel and been done but Lauren decided to try again only this time at three different locations. Lauren would apprenticeship. The first being in her home town of New York, than Tel Aviv, Israel and finally to Paris, France. Lauren’s first stop…wd-50. Wylie Dufres...
  • Jessica
    Four Kitchens follows Lauren Shockey as she apprentices in four well-known restaurants in four countries around the world. After going to culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, Lauren knows her real world culinary education will start once she's working in a restaurant. She works at wd-50 in New York City, La Verticale in Hanoi, Vietnam, Carmella Bistro in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Senderens in Paris, France. Each restaurant is vastly diff...
  • Denise
    I'm calling this "read" even though I am only 82% done. This book is taking me forever to read - I want to read it (mostly), I read a little every night, I don't want to DNF it, but it puts me to sleep every time. It moves so slow, there are so many scenes of cutting vegetables (I now hate shallots), and it just seems like there could have been much more.The author decides after culinary school to "stage" at 4 different restaurants in 4 different...
  • Valerie
    The author had the richness of 4 separate countries and restaurant kitchens to work with. She chose to focus on bland dialogue and avoided the soul searching emotions that would surely come from a journey such as the one she took. Weirdly, she chose to criticize quite publicly the chef-owners for whom she worked while staying away from any comments on her co-workers. Maybe working in a restaurant kitchen just isn't enough material to make an inte...
  • Gretchen Hicks
    I liked this even more than I thought I would. I am an avid home cook with occasional aspirations of becoming pro. It was like she did everything I have dreamed of doing, described it in great detail and came to the same conclusion I think I would. That being a chef is not really what she wanted to do with her life and that she was not able to express herself through cooking in the medium of a professional kitchen.
  • Michelle
    I found the cooking pretty interesting and enjoyed some of the cultural info. I had a hard time putting aside the feeling that the author had no idea how privileged she was to stop grad school, complete cooking school, then work around the world unpaid for a year without ever mentioning money concerns.
  • Glen U
    Enjoyable, informative, surprisingly well written, this book follows an American woman through her travails and discoveries , as she works as an unpaid intern in four different but reputable restaurants around the globe. A good read, but Anthony Bourdain does it better.
  • Robin
    While she did have a romantic view of what it was to be a chef and restaurant kitchen life in general -- until she did it -- the travel background of the book is very interesting
  • Joni
    Got 3/4 of the way through and returned it to the library. I got sick of the author 'humble-bragging' about her kitchen prowess and travels around the world.
  • Elizabeth C. Haynes
    It's just...boring. It's ok writing overall with the exception of dialogue, which is very badly written. Really there just is nothing particularly interesting going on. Going to the giveaway pile.
  • Anita Yoder
    Fun and funny! A delightful holiday read.
  • Josephine
    I suppose I’m on a “cooking theme” lately — I have Ruth Reichl’s boringly named “Garlic and Sapphires” lined up after this — with Lauren Shockey’s “Four Kitchens” following not too shortly after Michael Ruhlman’s “The Making of a Chef.”It’s Shockey’s assertion that, in culinary school (in her case, the French Culinary Institute), all you really learn is how to salt food properly, get over your fear of cooking over ...
  • Asma
    i enjoyed reading this book. i found it informative about food and cultures. Lauren was really brave to make it and prove herself in a male dominated field. her year of being stagiere taught her alot more than what she had learned in culunary school. the only thing that i noticed is that she mentioned briefly about her love life but she never said what happened at the end or why she did not succeed in devolopping long relationships. this left me ...
  • Monica Williams
    While the title of the book pretty much sums up the storyline, it's what happens at each of the places that makes the book a great read! Shockey, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute went through a disappointing internship after she graduated. Returning home she decided the only way to know if she wanted to become a chef was to work as one. Chefs can participate in what is called at "stage" basically an unpaid internship with brutal hours ...
  • Shoshanah
    When I first saw this book I remember being intrigued by seeing Tel Aviv in the title. In general, I'm a fan of cooking memoirs, but that was what won me over. (Also there was the tiny detail that I found it at a Borders closing sale so it was crazy discounted.)After culinary school Shockey decides to stage, or what you could call a restaurant intern, at four restaurants across the world. In her memoir so goes into what it's like working in a fan...
  • Brooke Everett
    A quick and breezy read. I love food and cooking, and I love travel, so how could I not like a book about combining the two? Her description of Tel Aviv really made me want to check it out (add it to my never-ending travel wish list!).On wd~50: "It's true that not everything is delicious at wd~50, but I don't think that's the restaurant's sole purpose. Wylie pushes boundaries and intellectualizes the meal; his cuisine engenders a timely discourse...
  • Luna Raven
    I really want to give this 3 1/2 stars, most especially for the delicious recipes. A good read with an interesting revelation for me: this woman traveled many miles to have a similar experience to many other women who work in kitchens, so the problems that exist really are industry wide.My personal favorite portions of the book took place Hanoi and Tel Aviv. You could feel what the author was talking about as though you were there with her as she...
  • Shannon
    Very enjoyable book about a culinary journey around the world. The autheor spent time in four countries learning to cook their cousine and trying to learn as much as she could about herself as a chef and the culture behind the food - a fascinating look at the author's personal journey and the intersting things (and people) that go on behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens. This was my first exposure to the concept of moleculor gastronomy, which...
  • Janie
    Shockey, Lauren. Four Kitchens: My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris. Grand Central. Jul. 2011. c.352p. ISBN 9780446559874. $24.99. COOKINGShockey, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and a food writer for the Village Voice and other publications, has penned a memoir of her time working as an unpaid kitchen apprentice in four different countries. Even with college credentials, she quickly learns that real-life...
  • Annita
    Shockey's book is only disappointing in that she didn't have time to go to more "stages". She does a great job of sharing the unique restaurant menus and personalities. She has the advantage of apparently unlimited parental support for her quest and maybe unlimited funds? Her book takes the reader inside kitchens in restaurants without the Disney Ratatouille version involving rats. There is a clear inclusion of clean work areas, clean vegetables ...
  • Rebecca
    Ohmigod, what am I doing with my life? Boofuckinghoo. Other then the typicalness of the protag being white upper class east coast girl who of course writes a book, I kind of liked it. I liked that if she wanted to stay in New York and work for a restaurant there, she could have, but she choose to kind of take a year off and work and travel around the world at totally different types of places. Heck, some the places she worked at wasn't even that ...