My restaurant industry coworkers and I have always said everyone should be required to work in food service at some point in their lives. It would really make you think twice before talking to your server like she is a brain-dead loser, and even more, it would give you some insight into all the drama, hookups and heartbreaks that go along with your dinner.
New York pastry chef Dalia Jurgensen has worked in the industry for nearly 15 years, and her new book, Spiced, gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the industry that is almost always dominated by men. Jurgensen’s story would give many of us hope—she left the office job that made her miserable and landed a gig as a pastry chef at a pretty decent New York restaurant, but Spiced is also the story of the awful bosses and experiences she has had over the years.
Spiced has been getting mixed reviews, but nearly all of them mention her “very brief” lesbian fling with a waitress — apparently her first lesbian experience, which must not have worked out since it was followed by a romance with a male chef at another restaurant. Bookslut.com also said she doesn’t delve too deeply into the sexy details, which is a serious bummer, but a Metromix.com reviewer’s summary of the book actually makes me want to check it out:
It’s a sometimes brutal, all-the-time honest journey peppered with nasty injuries, a lesbian love scene and lots of pastry talk — the chef’s inner-struggle with serving the fan favorite, and blasé, molten chocolate cake is particularly rich food porn. She also vividly writes about the longtime chef tradition of drinking heavily, post-shift.
Make that server tradition, too. Let me tell you.
Jurgensen is a hot, tattooed woman who can craft passion fruit cheesecakes with wine-stewed berries in her sleep — she may not be Anthony Bourdain (as nearly all the reviews of her book also mentioned) but I want to hear what she has to say anyway:
“I hope that whenever I put [sex tales] into the story, they served a purpose and showed something larger,” Jurgensen told Metromix. “When you open a restaurant, it becomes your life, so it’s hard to separate your personal and professional sides. That’s why a lot of affairs happen. I don’t think about ‘too much” or ‘too little.’ I just want to tell the story.”
Will you be reading Spiced?