Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America

Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America

Jonathan Dixon / May 25, 2019

Beaten Seared and Sauced On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America Millions of people fantasize about leaving their old lives behind enrolling in cooking school and training to become a chef But for those who make the decision the difference between the dream and

  • Title: Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America
  • Author: Jonathan Dixon
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 144
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Millions of people fantasize about leaving their old lives behind, enrolling in cooking school, and training to become a chef But for those who make the decision, the difference between the dream and reality can be gigantic especially at the top cooking school in the country For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America s history, a book will give readers the fMillions of people fantasize about leaving their old lives behind, enrolling in cooking school, and training to become a chef But for those who make the decision, the difference between the dream and reality can be gigantic especially at the top cooking school in the country For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America s history, a book will give readers the firsthand experience of being a full time student facing all of the challenges of the legendary course in its entirety.On the eve of his thirty eighth birthday and after shuffling through a series of unsatisfying jobs, Jonathan Dixon enrolled in the CIA on a scholarship to pursue his passion for cooking In Beaten, Seared, and Sauced he tells hilarious and harrowing stories of life at the CIA as he and his classmates navigate the institution s many rules and customs under the watchful and critical eyes of their instructors Each part of the curriculum is covered, from knife skills and stock making to the high pressure cooking tests and the daunting wine course the undoing of many a student Dixon also details his externship in the kitchen of Danny Meyer s Tabla, giving readers a look into the inner workings of a celebrated New York City restaurant With the benefit of his age to give perspective to his experience, Dixon delivers a gripping day to day chronicle of his transformation from amateur to professional From the daily tongue lashings in class to learning the ropes fast at a top NYC kitchen, Beaten, Seared, and Sauced is a fascinating and intimate first person view of one of America s most famous culinary institutions and one of the world s most coveted jobs.From the Hardcover edition.

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    About "Jonathan Dixon"

      • Jonathan Dixon

        Jonathan Dixon Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America book, this is one of the most wanted Jonathan Dixon author readers around the world.


    1. ”I took another bite, then sawed at the duck, and started getting pissed off.‘Whoever did this,’ I said, ‘is a jackass.’‘Yeah,’ Adam said. ‘This is pretty shameful. I can’t eat this.’ He pushed it away.‘I agree,’ Lombardi said. ‘What would happen if you took it back to the kitchen and told them it sucked? Would they give you another entree or something? Isn’t that actually the responsible thing to do in this case? Shouldn’t they know how bad it is?’….‘And---da [...]

    2. Finished the book and upgraded it to 10 stars. This really is an outstanding book. The CIA is described so differently than in other books of student chefs. The element of reverence is entirely lacking. He is not impressed that this is the Holy of Holies for the future superstar chefs. Instead, he is a student concerned with learning as much as he can before embarking on a second career - he was a writer in his late thirties when he embarked on cooking as a way of life.More than any other book I [...]

    3. Ah, yes. Another memoir about an interesting experience that I wish had been written by someone else. I want to go inside the Culinary Institute of America in New York -- but it turns out I don't want to go with Jonathan Dixon. Our author and CIA tour guide is conflicted, (but in a boring way), and a tiny bit sullen, and he keeps thinking I care about what bands he saw or enjoyed in the 1980s. He is wrong about that. I do not care. In one sense, this book can be summed up by a scene in which Dix [...]

    4. Whether Tom Brown's Schooldays or the Harry Potter series, I'm a sucker for books in which a neophyte goes to school for the first time, endures its rigors and harsh realities, and emerges a better person after learning some hard-earned truths about himself and the limits of endurance. Ultimately the success of the story depends on the hero's transformation by graduation. While Jonathan Dixon's memoir of his education at the Culinary Institute of America follows the skeleton of the old schoolboy [...]

    5. Really really liked this one. I think anyone who enjoys cooking has thought of going to culinary school and becoming a professional chef after reading this I'm pretty sure that path isn't for me as I know I couldn't handle the rigors and the yelling (at me!)! Really well written - I could picture the kitchens and the things Dixon cooked/baked/learned, even the feeling of being broke :). I admired his take on "clean" meat and treating the animals (and everything, really) that we eat with the hig [...]

    6. An unsparing account of the life of a culinary student at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). At turns horrifying, inspiring and even a little gut-wrenching. I'm amazed by the students who come out of this program with confidence, the fires in their bellies stoked and raging even stronger than when they began. Dixon falls somewhere closer to the place I'd find myself- exhausted, humbled, nearly broken. I don't believe the world of professional cooking requires a caste system akin to the mil [...]

    7. I can't do better than PetraX's review. The CIA from the inside, and from someone who never wanted to, and didn't, become a chef. As the title suggests, the author pares the experience down to the essentials: ingredients; tradition; preparation; smelling; tasting; and, oh yeah, cooking. Author Jonathan Dixon apprentices at Tabla, a New York resturant I used to frequent whenever I was visiting. When he talked about his prep list, knew that menu; knew (mostly) what dishes they were for. I wanted t [...]

    8. I'm not sure what it is about me that makes me slog through these memoirs written by people that, at least personally, drive me up the wall. Perhaps it's just a severely overdeveloped sense of schadenfreude that keeps me going through pages and pages of self-doubt or maybe just plain old morbid curiosity.At least in this case, the content was interesting. Although my dreams of being a chef died some time before I hit my teenage years, I've always been fascinated by cooking, and was interested to [...]

    9. While I appreciated Dixon's insight into the goings-on at the CIA, I really didn't connect with the author's personal experience. It's Dixon's lack of motivation to be anything beyond a cook that I guess really got to me. He's neither as good of a writer as Michael Ruhlman, nor is he as good of a chef as innumerable chefs out there. Dixon seems to focus on his own Peter Pan syndrome, never wanting to grow up. He's 38 and returning to school, because he just hasn't figured it out yet. His girlfri [...]

    10. Almost forty, freelance writer Jonathan Dixon finds himself at a professional crossroads. A former staff writer for Martha Stewart Living, Dixon heads for Hyde Park, New York to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He takes all his savings and signs up for two years of intensive training, even though he isn’t certain what he will do with that training once he graduates.He admits the end result was unclear. “I knew I wanted to cook for the rest of my life and I wanted to do it f [...]

    11. Given my obsession with food memoirs, it's surprising that I missed this when it was published in 2011. Dixon's superb tale is engaging and honest, and I found it impossible to put down. Given that the author is a writer first and foremost, the poor grammar and word choices were inordinately disappointing.

    12. Jonathan Dixon drifted. For years. Decades. One day he woke up and realized he was almost forty and had no career. He decided, with the help of his girlfriend, to become a chef. Further, he decided to become a chef by enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America, a rigorous training program.I was fascinated with this story, Dixon’s account of his struggle to become a chef. I was especially intrigued with Dixon’s difficulties with the program, the same difficulties he had faced in earlier a [...]

    13. Account of the author's experiences as a student in a very high-end cooking school, Culinary Inst. of America. Clearly conveys how demanding the instructors are, the long hours, the strain on his relationship with his girlfriend, etc. Minor quibbles: Most of the depictions of other students did not go far. I got the sense he didn't interview anybody for the book as such, so it's limited to what he happens to have conversed with them about -- this guy likes jazz, that woman was 20 years old and p [...]

    14. I read this as part of the Pi Phi Book Club, and I thought it was an interesting description of the CIA and working in restaurant kitchens. It's also odd to read a food memoir by someone who is not a culinary rockstar (as opposed to something like Yes, Chef: A Memoir or Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef - both of which I love for different reasons). But it was weird that the narrative almost subverts itself, instead of watching him triumph, you begin of real [...]

    15. Dixon is a good writer. The book presents an insider view of life at the CIA, and he describes it well. He's an older student, and his colleagues call him Grampslies himself hard, and makes it to graduation, which a lot of folks don't achieve. At the end of the book, he pretty much admits that he doesn't want to work in a restaurant, maybe he'll be a caterer, and anyway he really went to the CIA so he could write a book about it. Not a bad idea, in light of all the food books coming out, like Ga [...]

    16. When Jonathan Dixon was thirty eight. Which was just a few years ago, he decided to pursue a new, exciting and somewhat scary challenge. He was going to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Jonathan had shared a love for food. He was a former writer for Martha Stewart Living magazine after all. Though, Mr. Dixon quickly learned that even the simplest of things like buttering meat or cutting fish is harder than you would think. There is an art form to what you are taught at CIA. Thi [...]

    17. Anyone who has ever thought about attending the CIA needs to read this book. Anyone who has harbored fantasies about leaving responsibilities behind to attend cooking school, anyone who has ever romanticized about being a chef, anyone who has thought about changing their life at middle age needs to read this book. It is a realistic, thoughtful, and sometimes cruel picture of what it takes to be a graduate of the most prestigious cooking school in America. It is also somewhat depressing, without [...]

    18. This book should be re-titled "Jonathan Dixon's Boring Diary". While I enjoyed the insight into culinary school, along with some fun new cooking vocabulary to impress my friends with, this book was seriously sub-par. His lack of story-telling skills is cushioned with bad writing, and a general carelessness for the reader. It should have been published as a diary, not a novel.Here's how it goes: Dixon guides you from class to class, outlining: the professor's attitude, dishes he cooks, complaints [...]

    19. So while I loved the descriptions of what went on in class, I found Dixon himself a little whiny and self serving. I was willing to go along with him for most of his journey through his classes, butwhen we got to the section on his internship, I really was just annoyed with him. But his descriptions of the food he prepared and the ingredients he worked with throughout his education were beautiful and lyrical. Even his description of the butchering scene was bright and vivid. So overall, can't sa [...]

    20. Jonathan Dixon's "Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America" was an interesting read, but he seems overly self-congratulatory while simultaneously overly critical of those around him. For those interested in the world of chefs, Dixon's book is reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain's Ktichen Confidential as an insider's look behind the curtain, but Bourdain also seems more willing to take personal responsibility for his faults.

    21. Great inside viewGreat inside view of the cooking world and the various personality types that thrive, fail, or just get by there. I liked the conclusion that you can make a successful life for yourself if you remain open to learning, and persist through the boring or just plain painful parts of school or on the job training. Knowing who you are helps tremendously in choosing a satisfying way to make a living.

    22. Okay, this guy went to the CIA when he was 40 and just graduated last year. I went to school there when I was 36 and graduated in 2006. His first few impressions of the CIA were right on as I had the same ones when I was there. His descriptions of the chefs, and I had a few of the same ones, made me laugh. Especially the asshole who taught Asian cuisine, I had forgotten how much I hated him!

    23. I often fantasize about going to culinary school. This was a great glimpse of the CIA and how HARD it is!

    24. I had to slow myself down to make the book last longer. I loved, loved, loved it. But I suspect you have to like cooking and meal preparation to enjoy this book. A+

    25. Overall, I felt like this book was really well written. It wasn't a hard read, but defiantly kept you interested to the end. I was able to understand the text without having to re read and sit and really think about what the author is trying to tell me. Dixon just says it like it is. I enjoyed how the author was relatable and personal in all parts of the book. Jonathan Dixon was also extremely honest in his book. He didn't only talk about the good parts of the CIA and how amazing it is. Dixon re [...]

    26. I thought this book was well written and really explained a personal experience of what it's like at the CIA. I have been in culinary school at another location and how Johnathan talks about the classes is very familiar to my schooling. I was able to relate to a good deal of his story. I things that made me have a hard time getting into this book was the jumping back and forth between what happened on a particular day then some random thought. It took me twice as long to read and really get into [...]

    27. Jonathan Dixon's memoir of his two years at the Culinary Institute of America is a fascinating read. I had no idea how difficult culinary school is and I enjoyed learning about the culture of working in restaurants. I also enjoyed his writing style, and I appreciated his honesty and ability to see his own shortcomings. I think that was the biggest lesson for me in the book, knowing where your strengths lie and where you really can excel. I read this book because my husband read it and is interes [...]

    28. Disclaimer: If you're expecting to hear that I loved everything about this book from the high stars I have given it, you're not going to get that. I rated it highly because it's impressive. It has left (possibly lasting) marks with me. I'm going to remember that moment where this book made me realize "Damn, I'd be dead at this school; I'd bawl my eyes out getting bitched out. I'm never setting foot in the CIA." Well, from the less than stellar stars this book has, my best hope is that it's got s [...]

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