Knives at Dawn – A Book Review

Knives at Dawn: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d'Or Competition by Andrew Friedman

H-O-L-Y C-O-W…  I found this book in the bargain (WAY bargain) book section and purchased it.  My main reason was because I am familiar with both Chef Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry) and Chef Daniel Boulud (of Daniel NYC) through the show Top Chef.  I LOVE Top Chef; Padma and Tom Colicchio are amazing and watching them makes me wish I could eat more food.  Their guest judges are usually a lesson for me in fine dining, so finding a book showcasing two of the famous chefs excited me.

This book was ten times better than I ever could have imagined.  It traces the story of Team USA (Timothy Hollingsworth and his Commis Adina Guest) and their quest for a medal at the bi-annual Bocuse d’Or Competition.  To say it is a book about cooking is like saying James Bond is a book about a spy.  I didn’t know a cooking competition could be so intense (and this is someone who is always watching Top Chef, Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen).

All credit goes to the author, Andrew Friedman, who garners the trust of all the indivdiuals involved and weaves a tale that incorporates the thoughts and feelings of the chefs, the commis, the coach – and even Hollingsworth’s girlfriend.  It does not surprise me that Friedman’s other passion is tennis, you can certainly see the “sports fever” writing style come through in this book.  However, I cannot rave enough about how it enabled someone like myself (a novice foodie, especially with French terms) to truly enjoy and visualize the food that was being created.

I understood what Hollingsworth was attempting to make as he created and re-created his presentation dishes (Bocuse d’Or competitors must present a fish platter and a meat platter using proteins set by the competition).  I actually held my breath at the moment when Team USA wasn’t sure if their (custom made) meat platter would arrive on time.  Amazing writing.

And an amazing story.  Foodies, of any type, will enjoy this book – and feel an overwhelming pride in our country and our struggle to achieve success on the international stage.

For more information:

Knives at Dawn – Amazon

Knives at Dawn – Barnes & Noble

The American Bocuse d’Or Foundation (created during-at the end of this book)

I cannot wait for the day I can go to the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot – where the elimination trials now take place to select the American Bocuse d’Or competitor and commis!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(


4 responses to this post.

  1. I’ll definitely have to read this one – thanks for bringing it to my attention!


    • Send me your mailing address again – and I’ll drop it in the mail. You’ll LOVE it… (I think Miss Jokes and Snacks will love it, too!)


  2. Posted by Malenki on 13 02 12 at 9:36 pm

    Does this give me license to label you as a foodie? 😉


  3. […] week it’s food-time!  (I’m telling you, Knives at Dawn made me HUNGRY all […]


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