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I don't even know how I came across this one. It magically appeared in my library queue so I read it. (Or at least that's my story.)
Summary: I'm a sucker for a biography for a lot of reasons; I like to learn about people's lives without actually having to interact with them. I'm endlessly fascinated by seeing what drives the people at the top of their game to keep pushing for more. And I love me some good old fashioned drama. Cat Cora's first biography doesn't disappoint.
Raised in the deep South, Cat Cora had a childhood that set the framework for her meteoric rise in the world of fine dining. Cora was adopted by parents that showed her love and support, taught her to work hard and think for herself. Her dad taught history, her mom was a nurse, and her brothers helped her raise hell during the long hot summers. While her childhood was mostly a good one, full of food, love and family, it was also haunted by her repeated molestation by the son of a family friend. Cora's childhood trauma triggered a need to prove herself as worthy in all she did.
"Cooking as Fast as I Can" is a painfully honest look at Cat Cora's life, from her childhood nightmares to her single-minded drive to cook in the top kitchens in the predominantly male dominated world for haute cuisine.
My Thoughts: I've read a few celebrity chef biographies and one thing I've noticed about the folks that have made a name for themselves in the fine dining industry is that they have a definite cocksure swagger to their personalities. Maybe when you've hit a certain level of excellence at something you just know your shit. Or maybe the brutal hours and constant drive to be different, new and noticed drives a person to be heard. Whatever it is, I find the almost forceful self-assurance both compelling and exhausting. Cat Cora definitely has this swagger, which I noticed the most when she talked about cooking and women.
I enjoyed this book. It had a good pace, was candid in its telling and was fascinating to read.
Rating: This is a nice book to pick up if you're a foodie, fan or iron chef, or curious about the lives of the famous.
You May Also Like: "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain, "My Life as a Professional Eater" by Gail Simmons, "Yes Chef, A Memoir" by Marcus Samuelsson,
Reviewed By: Tami