[Disclaimer: Juliette Rossant wrote a blurb that endorses this book.]
Norman Van Aken is a keen observer and memoirist. No Experience Necessary: The Culinary Odyssey of a Chef (Taylor 2013) will be snapped up for all of Norman’s memories of Chef Charlie Trotter, who passed away recently. But there are plenty of other reasons to read his book beyond all the famous chefs Norman works with (and some very good stories about them!).
Getting into the mind of chef – or rather following how a young person grows into the chef he will be, makes for fascinating reading – plenty of wild parties, drinking, and drugs – plenty of good food as well. He includes recipes at the end of each chapter that are fascinating for how they illuminate the last few decades. He moves from a meaty Chef Salad for Miss Kitty (p. 37) to an Asian inspired MIRA Tuna Tartare (p.270) towards the end of the book.
It is how this all adds up to make an imaginative, creative, and daring chef that makes No Experience Necessary a must read – maybe a holiday gift for that student who dreams of becoming a chef – or a gift for that dreamer who thought that they always wanted to run a restaurant.