Two weekends ago I finally finished Heat and I’m going to stick with my initial assessment of it. Anyone interested in behind the scenes information about restaurant kitchens should find this book to their liking. It gives great insight into family meals and the hierarchies used to make a kitchen run well. This is written for a reader and not someone who spends most of their day in a restaurant.
Buford shows his ability to laugh at himself when he writes about his adventures. Some of the situations are humorous because he’s out of his comfort zone or can’t understand why his mentors behave in a specific way.
While in Italy he learns how to make pasta and be a butcher. Buford comes across as an advocate for the slow food movement based on these experiences. On the surface this appears to be a contradiction to the fast pace of his work in Batali’s retaurant kitchen. Think about it though… a fine dining establishment is going to use the freshest ingredients possible. Even better from a business point of view, the restaurant will have to pay less if the ingredients are local. The restaurant is going to use as much of the ingredients as possible leaving little waste. It’s often more cost effective to make pasta from scratch instead of using dry pasta.
By the end, one wonders if Buford has figured out he’s an advocate for the slow food movement.