The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America Summary & Study Guide

Michael Ruhlman
This Study Guide consists of approximately 22 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Making of a Chef.
This section contains 449 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America Study Guide

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America Summary & Study Guide Description

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman.

The novel is a biographical account of Ruhlman, the author and narrator and his quest to learn how to become a chef through the Culinary Institute of America school of training. One of the top cooking schools in the country, the Culinary Institute of America, otherwise known as the CIA, has produced some of the world's greatest chefs and Ruhlman's account details the intense process that is required of anyone who wants to become a graduate of their school.

A writer, Ruhlman moves his wife (a photographer with paying clients) and young daughter from Cleveland Ohio to New York to the CIA setting. It is his goal to write an unbiased account of what happens when a person decides to enroll in one of the most influential cooking schools in the country.

Initially, Ruhlman details the steps of learning how to make a good brown stock. To the average layman, a brown stock is nothing short of boring and dull. To a great chef, however, the brown stock is the very foundation on which numerous classic and impressive dishes are created. In this first class, he learns how to make a superior mise en place and other foundational pieces that will lead him to be a better cook.

Essentially, Ruhlman sees himself as a "writer in a cooking school" versus a "chef that writes." However, this perception changes after a lecture from Chef Pardus. Although there is a blizzard outside, Chef Pardus expects everyone to be there and tells Ruhlman he is not cut from the same cloth as the rest of the future chefs in the room. This remark infuriates Ruhlman and he sets out in the snow to drive to class. He makes it there and afterwards, he feels something has changed inside him. Now, he is fully committed to becoming a chef and graduate of the CIA; he wants to be a chef who just happens to also be able to write.

Ruhlman continues on with his studies at the CIA and occasionally, he will encounter other chefs who have heard about the "Blizzard incident" and know that he is a writer. Nevertheless, as Ruhlman completes each session course—including American Bounty, Oriental, waiting tables at the St. Andrew's Cafe and working the grill station in the St. Andrew's kitchen—and proves himself with each accomplishment.

By the time Ruhlman is working the grill station in St. Andrew's, one of the toughest stations in the kitchen, his fellow students are calling him a real cook, not just a writer. Upon graduation and finishing his courses, Ruhlman visits Chef Pardus's home to share a cocktail. In the end, even Pardus acknowledges that Ruhlman is a true cook and his goal is finally accomplished.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 449 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America Study Guide
Copyrights
BookRags
The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America from BookRags. (c)2014 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.