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The countless hours I spent shaping vegetables, cleaning lettuce and picking parsley in New York City restaurants were an exhaustive blur, but after reading Four Kitchens by Lauren Shockey, my memories of hard-knock kitchen work have resurfaced and I’m excitedly cheering on and almost missing that world I left behind.
In Four Kitchens, Lauren recounts heartfelt, funny stories of the grueling but invaluable time she spent cooking at Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50 in NYC and at restaurants in Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris. She chats about learning everything (often the hard way), from kitchen hierarchy—like the type of beverage a cook was able to consume at the end of a shift—to the incredible importance of wearing non-skid shoes. And get this: Her book also includes recipes for “almost-Michelin-starred meals.” Lauren has gracefully adapted recipes from the famed Paris restaurant, Senderens, and I was more than thrilled to find a recipe for one of my all-time favorites—pickled mushrooms! I’m going to take a stab at her adaptation this weekend. Truth be told, while I’m cheering for the kitchens, I’m grateful there isn’t a power-hungry executive chef at home ready to critique my every slice.