Back of the House: The Secret Life of a Restaurant (Paperback)
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Food writer and clinical psychologist Scott Haas wanted to know what went on inside the mind of a top chef—and what kind of emotional dynamics drove the fast-paced, intense interactions inside a great restaurant. To capture all the heat and hunger, he spent eighteen months immersed in the kitchen of James Beard Award-winner Tony Maws’ restaurant, Craigie on Main, in Boston. He became part of the family, experiencing the drama first-hand. Here, Haas exposes the inner life of a chef, what it takes to make food people crave, and how to achieve greatness in a world that demands more than passion and a sharp set of knives.
A lens into what motivates and inspires all chefs—including Thomas Keller, Andrew Carmellini, whose stories are also shared here—Back of the House will change the way you think about food—and about the complicated people who cook it and serve it.
About the Author
A clinical psychologist and food writer, Scott Haas has contributed to publications such as Gourmet, Saveur, Robb Report, Worth, Wine Enthusiast, and Gastronomica. He is the author of Hearing Voices and Are We There Yet? and the co-author of The Da Silvano Cookbook, and was the recipient of the James Beard Award for radio work in 2005. He is also the chief psychologist at a private psychiatric hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts.
“Forgive the unappetizing metaphor, but Scott Haas is a fly on the wall at Cragie on Main. He sees all, hears all, tells all. Did the wonderful chef Tony Maws know he revealed so much?” –Alan Richman, GQ Food and Wine Critic
“Haas is that rare breed of writer: part investigative reporter, part father confessor, wrapped up in the poetry of culinary genius and served with a twist of humour.” –Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire and Georgiana
“Scott Haas provides an insider’s perspective that truly takes you into the belly of the restaurant industry beast.” –Drew Nieporent, Restaurateur (Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Corton)
"Reading Back of the House is like reading my own autobiography about my life in the kitchen. Scott brings out an uncensored, unbiased reality to the restaurant industry. Every young cook should sink their teeth into it." –Marc Vetri, chef and restaurant owner
“[Haas’] insights about restaurant kitchens are always informative as well as entertaining. His views on chefs surprise and delight.”—Thomas Keller, chef and restaurateur
“I look to Scott for digging deep to uncover what really motivates and inspires us. He is one of those rare food writers who brings an intelligence and understanding from beyond the kitchen to his culinary reporting.”—Daniel Boulud, chef-owner of award-winning restaurants