Inside what life is really like for the new generation of professional cooks—a captivating tale of the make-or-break first year at a young chef’s new restaurant. For many young people, being a chef is as compelling a dream as being a rock star or professional athlete. Skill and creativity in the kitchen are more profitable than ever before, as cooks scramble to reach the top—but talent isn’t enough. Today’s chef needs the business savvy of a high-risk entrepreneur, determination, and big dose of luck.
The heart of Generation Chef is the story of Jonah Miller, who at age twenty-four attempts to fulfill a lifelong dream by opening the Basque restaurant Huertas in New York City, still the high-stakes center of the restaurant business for an ambitious young chef. Miller, a rising star who has been named to the 30-Under-30 list of both Forbes and Zagat, quits his job as a sous chef, creates a business plan, lines up investors, leases a space, hires a staff, and gets ready to put his reputation and his future on the line.
Journalist and food writer Karen Stabiner takes us inside Huertas’s roller-coaster first year, but also provides insight into the challenging world a young chef faces today—the intense financial pressures, the overcrowded field of aspiring cooks, and the impact of reviews and social media, which can dictate who survives.
A fast-paced narrative filled with suspense, Generation Chef is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at drive and passion in one of today’s hottest professions.
About the Author
Karen Stabiner is a journalist and author of narrative non-fiction. She has co-authored the cookbooks Family Table, a collection of staff meal recipes and backstage stories from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants, and The Valentino Cookbook with Piero Selvaggio. Her feature articles and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as in the Los Angeles Times, Saveur, Travel & Leisure and Gourmet. Her work has appeared in Best Food Writing anthologies. Stabiner teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
"Generation Chef is as appetising a start-up tale as a plate of bite-sized Basque pintxos served up by protagonist chef Jonah Miller." —Financial Times
"You'll gobble up this delicious behind-the-scenes account of a start-up restaurant in New York City...This book is as much about dreams and passion as it is about food." —Star Tribune
“Karen Stabiner’s Generation Chef is a model of great reporting and great storytelling on a subject that remains endlessly fascinating. A young cook putting everything on the line to pursue the one dream that matters to him, cooking for people in the toughest restaurant city in the world. The chapters leading up to and following the New York Times critic’s visits are worth the price of admission. I truly admire this book.” —Michael Ruhlman, author of The Soul of a ChefandRuhlman’s Twenty
"Generation Chef is the warp-speed tale of passion on a plate, a frank inside look at a twenty-six year old chef who opens his first restaurant. Karen Stabiner has a sharp eye for the story inside the story – anyone with a big dream, whether it’s food or something else, will identify with what this chef has to do to make his come true." —Chef Mario Batali, chef, author, philanthropist
“Stabiner has done more than tell the riveting story of one young chef on the cusp of stardom; she’s plunged us right into the bubbling epicenter of a culinary moment like no other. Witty and well-observed, Generation Chef isn’t just a book for New Yorkers or for the food-obsessed; it’s for anyone anywhere who loves a great read.” —Tom Colicchio, Chef/Owner Crafted Hospitality, Head Judge Top Chef
“Karen Stabiner gives readers a corner table from which to observe the journey of today’s entrepreneur. Although its stories are rooted in restaurants, Generation Chef and the lessons it contains are an invaluable resource and reference for anyone with a start-up dream.” —Danny Meyer, CEO Union Square Hospitality Group and author ofSetting the Table
"A deftly written look at the high stakes, low glamour back story of launching a restaurant. Deeply insightful, this is a must-read for culinary school grads or anyone getting into the industry." —Kathleen Flinn, author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry andBurnt Toast Makes You Sing Good