No Experience Necessary: The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken

No Experience Necessary The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken No Experience Necessary is Chef Norman Van Aken s joyride of a memoir In it he spans twenty plus years and nearly as many jobs including the fateful job advertisement in the local paper for a short or

  • Title: No Experience Necessary: The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken
  • Author: Norman Van Aken
  • ISBN: 9781589799141
  • Page: 297
  • Format: Hardcover
  • No Experience Necessary is Chef Norman Van Aken s joyride of a memoir In it he spans twenty plus years and nearly as many jobs including the fateful job advertisement in the local paper for a short order cook with no experience necessary Long considered a culinary renegade and a pioneering chef, Van Aken is an American original who chopped and charred, sweated and searedNo Experience Necessary is Chef Norman Van Aken s joyride of a memoir In it he spans twenty plus years and nearly as many jobs including the fateful job advertisement in the local paper for a short order cook with no experience necessary Long considered a culinary renegade and a pioneering chef, Van Aken is an American original who chopped and charred, sweated and seared his way to cooking stardom with no formal training, but with extra helpings of energy, creativity, and faith After landing on the deceptively breezy shores of Key West, Van Aken faced hurricanes, economic downturns, and mercurial moneymen during the decades when a restaurant could open and close faster than you can type haute cuisine From a graveyard shift grunt at an all night barbeque joint to a James Beard award finalist for best restaurant in America, Van Aken put his trusting heart, poetic soul, natural talent, and ever expanding experience into every venture and helped transform the American culinary landscape along the way In the irreverent tradition of Anthony Bourdain s Kitchen Confidential, and populated by a rogues gallery of colorful characters including movie stars, legendary musicians, and culinary giants Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, and Charlie Trotter No Experience Necessary offers a uniquely personal, highly entertaining under the tablecloth view of the high stakes world of American cuisine told with wit, insight, and great affection by a natural storyteller.

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      Published :2019-01-08T03:02:08+00:00

    1 thought on “No Experience Necessary: The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken”

    1. I wanted to like NO Experience Necessary a lot more than I did. It was definitely fun - chock full of stories and recipes. The book feels like you're hanging out on a bar stool listening to Mr. Van Aken tells stories on a long summer night and this is a plus, but much of the book rambles about and many tales seem somewhat superfluous to Mr. Van Aken's journey with food. Maybe my problem with the book is related to my problem with much of the New American cooking so popular in the eighties and ni [...]

    2. I have read many books written by chefs and food critics and have generally found them very interesting, well-written, and worthwhile. I cannot say the same about NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY by Norman Van Aken. I completed only three chapters, then skipped ahead several times to see if I would be able to finish it. Final decision: No.The prologue was a delightful story about how he worked with Emeril Lagasse to conceive, prepare, and serve the first course at a birthday dinner for Julia Child. The t [...]

    3. I love reading of adventures in the world of chef's, their path to where they are now. This was an adventure, he had a wild and sometimes crazy path to success. Unfortunately, it was also riddled with many rambling stories that really had little to do with his career path. I did enjoy the story, it just needed some trimming. I found the ending rough, well it just stopped so I expect to see book two following soon. If you like to read about people who came up from the bottom this is a good book. [...]

    4. If you enjoyed reading Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain, then you will appreciate No Experience Necessary. The author "earns his bones" in the culinary world the hard, old school way. He starts out as a short order cook with no previous experience (hence the title of the book). At the time,(early '70s) it was a way to earn a paycheck when other options seemed unavailable.Similar to Kitchen Confidential, the author provides insight to the hardworking, dirty, and exhausting life that is a [...]

    5. Here's my bias:I've met Chef Van Aken a few times and have eaten at his restaurant Tuyo. I find his food and personality to be delightful. Here's my review:This book had me sucked in from the start, which describes an event where he and two other famous chefs got into a bit of misadventure. I could see myself doing what he and his boys did, and that was a common theme for me throughout this read.The book details the early/mid stages of Norman's adventures into the culinary world, during which he [...]

    6. I was given an advanced copy of Norman Van Aken’s No Experience Necessary and knew I was going to enjoy it having been a long time fan of his prose. What I did not realize was how much I was going to fall in love with his story. I continually found myself stopping to reread sections and even speaking his words aloud to hear how beautiful they sounded.No Experience Necessary reads like a who’s who of chefs in the 80’s and 90’s. Chef Norman was involved and cooked with all the greats; Emer [...]

    7. I found this to be a lively and entertaining book about chefs and the world of fine dining. Norman Van Aken is now a well-known chef, and the story of how he got there is fascinating. He started out as a line cook after answering an employment ad that said "no experience necessary." He never went to culinary school. He learned from many mentors in the kitchen, and from reading all the cookbooks he could get his hands on. (I would also add that he seems to have a naturally outstanding palate.) He [...]

    8. Okay, so having struggled mightily through Neil Young's autobiography, I could not believe that the next book up was another autobiographyt that I have anything against autobiographies but a couple a year is usually my limit (really Little Failure is queued next?? Oy!) Anyway I really liked this book; it didn't shy away from detailing the real work involved in becoming a true chef and also didn't shy away from calling himself out for less than appropriate behavior. The apparent random evolution [...]

    9. If you love chef memoirs, then "No Experience Necessary," by Chef Norman Van Aken is for you. I listened, which was great, because Norman got to narrate. It was like listening to an old friend tell a good story. He's a terrific writer minded me a little of Hemingway's prose and that's good, since a lot of the book takes place in Key West, a Hemingway hangout.This book took me back to the early days (late 70s, 80, & early 90s) when the American food explosion was so much fun to be part of (an [...]

    10. The flow of this memoir made it a frustrating read. I enjoyed the first 200 or so pages when we learn how the chef got his start and discovered his passion for cooking. Then the book becomes rushed, lacking, previously engaging details, moving too quickly through the story of his failed Key West restaurant, Mira. Perhaps the author didn't want to relive the details, or he was embarrassed, or was hiding facts around the failure- either way, this was an uncomfortable switch in pace for the reader. [...]

    11. 3.5 stars. I am a sucker for chef books. This one was more about the business - relationships with investors and how it can be marvelous or sour. It's such a backbreaking job, and holding up the end with investors who may be running out of patience, money or interest can be disheartening. It was also about Norman Van Aken's journey - he seriously got a job in a restaurant that advertised "no experience necessary" The journey was fascinating the mentors he met along the way, and he was a great me [...]

    12. I enjoyed reading about the places and people from my childhood in the first many chapters of Chef Norman's book. So nice to recognize the places (Fireside, where my mom was a waitress, for example).I lost touch with Norman after high school, so I was fascinated with his path through the 70s, 80s, and beyond. For someone who started out with "No Experience" Norman has had enough captivating experiences to fill this book, and I am sure, many many more.Thanks for sharing your story, Chef. It's a p [...]

    13. This is an enjoyable, if a bit scattered, memoir of chef Norman Van Aken's entry into and rise in restaurant business. I hadn't heard of Van Aken before reading this book, but lots of other household name chefs appear in this book, such as Emeril Lagasse, Charlie Trotter, and Julia Child. Sometimes the chapters are a bit stream of consciousness, with anecdotes following each other without necessarily advancing the story much, but Van Aken's story is an interesting one.

    14. There were times when this 'zero to hero' chef memoir seemed to read slowly and drag on. Despite this, I still enjoyed reading about how the chef's passion for cooking grew through time. There were times when I really enjoyed this book, and there were times when I just wanted to "finish it already".

    15. This book tells the adventures of Chef Norman Van Aken from his twenties until 1993 when he was nominated for a James Beard Award. His learning curve of cooking and food was different from most chefs. However he survived with his marriage intact which is a major accomplishment in the culinary industry.

    16. Delightful.ciouslectablea Dionysian romp through a storied career by one of America's great chefs. Meet Chef Norman Van Aken on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds, Wednesday, January 29, 3 pm ET online live & the podcast @ bit/U4EEMd

    17. A very decent read, but, frankly, I felt like it was written for chefs and others in the restaurant industry, and not for those outside of it. Van Aken is very good with words, but I wasn't drawn into this book, and I don't think I would suggest it to others.

    18. I had forgotten how much I like biography's, and especially ones that deal with the world inside a restaurant. The fact that most of this centers in Southern Florida was a nice bonus.

    19. A not to be missed read by anyone one aspires to be a chef, aspires to live in Key West or aspires to follow an unknown path. It will take you places you did not imagine.

    20. This was pretty good but it made me realize I don't want to be a chef at someone else's restaurant. So unpredictable, the long hours and instability. Dragged on a bit, but overall enjoyable.

    21. Very enjoyable read. It did become difficult to keep all the characters straight, but the stories were entertaining, well-written and insightful. Loved the inclusion of recipes.

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