I'm so excited to share this news!!
My forthcoming memoir, Feast: True Love In and Out of the Kitchen will be published by Little A, an Amazon Publishing imprint, in early 2018. Morgan Parker is my brilliant editor, which is proof the world is an amazing place.
A little teaser...
I’m 18 and hungry when I get hired at Picholine, the fanciest of fancy restaurants on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. At pre-shift meetings, we swirl gewürztraminer on starched linens under opulent chandeliers, stick noses deep into glasses; discuss. “Rose petals,” a server says, his tie inhumanly perfect. “The first ones that fall, from a lush garden in high summer.”
“Lychee and honeycomb.”
“Pumpkin seeds, roasting in a hot, hot oven.”
“A Bartlett pear, not quite ripe, but getting there.”
I don’t know what to say, or what exactly I smell, but I feel at home, giddy. The manic energy and knife-sharp focus, the boxes of heady truffles and sunshine-colored kumquats, the excruciatingly late nights, fur coats, basement arguments, VIPs, rabbit risotto, twinkly eyes. I’ve found my people, my place.
I am also hungry because this is what I eat on a “good” day: one apple, two coffees, maybe three, and a small frozen yogurt. I have a ritual: savoring a spoonful, sucking the spoon clean, repeat. When the fro-yo is gone, I feel a pang of terror.
What I know about food: it brings me to my knees. It has me on the floor, jeans not zipping, not even close, mouth salty with tears. It keeps me up at night, planning canapés, menus for someone’s party, for summertime. Counting calories. Counting time. I am its lover. I am its prisoner. My life is a food life because there is no other choice, no other path.
During college, then after, I work my way through restaurants, first in New York, then in LA and Philadelphia. Everywhere I go, I bring my deepest shame: I am at the mercy of my eating disorder.
I make a career in food, following its siren call, struggling to succeed and stay true to myself in this male-dominated industry. I work in humid cheese caves, nursing epoisses while it ripens into feety goodness, cook on a kitchen’s hot line for a sadistic chef, wait tables long enough to have server nightmares (I wake up panicked, rooting through my kitchen drawers for a wine key). I write descriptions for pancake boxes: “Ditch the diner for the fluffy flapjacks of your wildest dreams!”
This is my story of working in the boy’s club of restaurant-land and of my ecstatic, destructive love affair with food. Of its magic and its brutality. And it’s also the story about me becoming a woman cooking on a sweat-drenched line, chefs barking orders, their words hot in my ear, table 47 waiting for their amuse. It’s about the brilliant chefs I revere and detest, the restaurateurs with vast egos who feed me the richest lies, feed me translucent slices of illegal charcuterie they make in their basements. After parties and after after parties and watching the sun come up, rhapsodic.
It’s about a world that is obsessed with food and infatuated with thinness.
It’s about falling in love, hard. My kitchen full of ribbons of fresh pasta, hanging everywhere, veggies roasting, making love on the countertops. I break my arm cleaning the kitchen floor, my elbow all jutting and crooked. My arm heals, but my heart is more stubborn.
It’s about traveling, loving, writing, obsession, fucking up, the amazing and quirky people who taught me about fleur de sel and sous-viding and heartbreak.
This isn’t a Kitchen Confidential story of one of those guys; it’s my story of being a woman in their world, of love and self-hatred and more love, of war and peace with my body, my soul, and my quest for true and stunning deliciousness.