Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World

Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World

Hungry is a book about not only the hunger for food, but for risk, for reinvention, for creative breakthroughs, and for connection. Feeling stuck in his work and home life, writer Jeff Gordinier happened into a fateful meeting with Danish chef Ren� Redzepi, whose restaurant, Noma, has been called the best in the world. A restless perfectionist, Redzepi was at the top of hi...

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Title:Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World
Author:Jeff Gordinier
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Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World Reviews

  • Brandi

    Jeff Gordinier's "Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World" is quite an interesting read. Since it's part travelogue, and I really enjoy them, I quite enjoyed this book. I had never heard of Chef Redzepi before this book (I'm not much of a foodie) but he seems like quite an interesting character. I do wish the book was a bit longer, it is a rather quick read.

    I really enjoyed Gordinier's writing style and would not hesitate to buy more books of his in

    Jeff Gordinier's "Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World" is quite an interesting read. Since it's part travelogue, and I really enjoy them, I quite enjoyed this book. I had never heard of Chef Redzepi before this book (I'm not much of a foodie) but he seems like quite an interesting character. I do wish the book was a bit longer, it is a rather quick read.

    I really enjoyed Gordinier's writing style and would not hesitate to buy more books of his in the future. My copy of this book was obtained from a Goodreads giveaway and I appreciate the opportunity to read and review it.

  • zhixin

    is such an exhilarating ride from start to end.

    Ex-NYT food writer Jeff Gordinier, while struggling to get over the breakdown of his marriage, is invited by Rene Redzepi to accompany him on his as-good-as spiritual quest to bring the Noma ideology to the world, summarised as follows: "he made terroir -- the soil, the climate, and the land that shape the flavor of the plant and the animal that eats it... the entire point of his cuisine." Noma is, with its revolutionary take on food, current

    is such an exhilarating ride from start to end.

    Ex-NYT food writer Jeff Gordinier, while struggling to get over the breakdown of his marriage, is invited by Rene Redzepi to accompany him on his as-good-as spiritual quest to bring the Noma ideology to the world, summarised as follows: "he made terroir -- the soil, the climate, and the land that shape the flavor of the plant and the animal that eats it... the entire point of his cuisine." Noma is, with its revolutionary take on food, currently one of the best restaurants in the world, and you'll be hard-pressed not to join its cult after this book.

    For what comes through isn't just downright drool-worthy descriptions of food, although there is an abundance of that. What mesmerises Gordinier, and hence the reader, is the sheer drive and work ethic of Redzepi, who conjures concoctions -- and restaurants -- out of literal ruins. He scours forests, beaches, seas and unhesitatingly puts foraged material into his mouth, a frightening idea to the urban dweller disconnected from nature (read: me).

    And then alchemy happens: raw ingredients are ground, pickled, sliced, pound, combined in previously unimagined ways; hours, days, months (and years?) go into individual dishes as animals or crops grow, fermentation transforms an item into a desired end state, and chefs meticulously distill ingredients to their purest form. When you finally read about a dish, you feel sure that it must come closest to a platonic ideal of deliciousness after learning about the process to procure its individual parts, what with diving into the chilliest of oceans, picking weeds from stark jutting cliffs, or returning to local farmers again and again to refine the growing process. In the hands of Redzepi, food-making is elevated into an art of the highest form.

    As Gordinier attempts to pick up the pieces of his life, he learns that yielding to Redzepi's force of character -- despite the spanner it throws into the gears of his existing lifestyle, what with having to settle his children, book last minute flights and accommodation, even quit his job -- is giving him a much-needed injection of elixir. A form of escapism, a see-what-comes attitude born out of a kind of desperation at hitting a wall, Gordinier regains his hunger for life from Redzepi's infectious energy.

    He's not the only one. Redzepi extends invitations to various individuals including Mission Chinese Food's chef Danny Bowien, recently hit by food-poisoning scandals, to join him in food-hunting at far-flung locations in Mexico and Australia.

    isn't just a story about Redzepi's perfectionist tendencies in having control over his food from farm to table. It is also about his generosity in including people in his life, giving them a well-timed gesture of encouragement. It is very much about the people, and how Redzepi tries his darnedest not to overlook human matters while moving the world with his restaurant.

    For me personally,

    made me want to broaden my palette and dive deeper into whatever cuisines I have the fortune to come across. Mexican cuisine starred largely in the book, stoking the fire of my curiosity and appetite towards a food culture I did not have much previous exposure or interest. What with watching

    and reading this book, I feel like there is a universe of flavours I have yet to access, and I'm bloody excited to try.

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Food critic Jeff Gordinier travels the world with the esteemed chef Rene Redzepi in search of the world's best flavors. Redzepi is founder of Noma, a restaurant in Denmark often deemed the finest restaurant in the world. Despite his renown, Redzepi wants to close his restaurant, and start from scratch in new places with new recipes and tastes.

    Gordinier is a beautiful writer, filling the pages of this foodie travel narrative with fresh, almost brilliant comparisons that light up the zany words of

    Food critic Jeff Gordinier travels the world with the esteemed chef Rene Redzepi in search of the world's best flavors. Redzepi is founder of Noma, a restaurant in Denmark often deemed the finest restaurant in the world. Despite his renown, Redzepi wants to close his restaurant, and start from scratch in new places with new recipes and tastes.

    Gordinier is a beautiful writer, filling the pages of this foodie travel narrative with fresh, almost brilliant comparisons that light up the zany words of the wildly creative chef and his crew. It's crazy to follow the adventures of this group of sensory-enhanced people, who seem to live to discover odd new flavor combinations. "It's like a whole new energy enters your body when you come out to these parts," one of the crew says. And it's true. The whole book is infused with this energy; it's like you eat the best meal of your life and you don't add a single calorie.

  • Rebecca

    Noma, René Redzepi’s restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, has widely been considered the best in the world. In 2013, though, it suffered a fall from grace when some bad mussels led to a norovirus outbreak that affected dozens of customers. Redzepi wanted to shake things up and rebuild Noma’s reputation for culinary innovation, so in the four years that followed he also opened pop-up restaurants in Tulum, Mexico and Sydney, Australia. Journalist Jeff Gordinier, food and drinks editor at

    mag

    Noma, René Redzepi’s restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, has widely been considered the best in the world. In 2013, though, it suffered a fall from grace when some bad mussels led to a norovirus outbreak that affected dozens of customers. Redzepi wanted to shake things up and rebuild Noma’s reputation for culinary innovation, so in the four years that followed he also opened pop-up restaurants in Tulum, Mexico and Sydney, Australia. Journalist Jeff Gordinier, food and drinks editor at

    magazine, went along for the ride and reports on the Noma team’s adventures, painting a portrait of a charismatic, driven chef. For foodies and newbies alike, it’s a brisk, delightful tour through world cuisine as well as a shrewd character study.

    See my full review at

    . (See also

    on the rise of the celebrity chef.)

  • Catherine Woodman

    I read a review of this book in The Week a few weeks ago when I was catching up on back issues, which seems to be the way that I attack a weekly magazine these days--consuming a month or so of them in one sitting, and then adding all sorts of things I want to read to my library hold list as a result. That is how this book ended up on my list of things to read.

    I like reading about food and food preparation, but by and large, haven't got a lot of experience in this arena, and I probably wouldn't h

    I read a review of this book in The Week a few weeks ago when I was catching up on back issues, which seems to be the way that I attack a weekly magazine these days--consuming a month or so of them in one sitting, and then adding all sorts of things I want to read to my library hold list as a result. That is how this book ended up on my list of things to read.

    I like reading about food and food preparation, but by and large, haven't got a lot of experience in this arena, and I probably wouldn't have thought that a book about Rene Redzepi's creative process would exactly be up my alley, but I really enjoyed this book about the architect of New Nordic cuisine, with what might be considered the fermenting bible having come out of his kitchen at Noma in Copenhagen to his credit.

    the thing I loved about him to start with is that he loves regional Mexican cooking, and that is undeniably the best complex flavored food i have ever had. One point he makes in his journey around the world and his return to Mexico is that there really is no improving on the flavors of the foods made all over Mexico, that they harness the potential of everything around them and make it soar. the book is short and largely sweet, and well worth a read if cooking is your thing.

  • Craig Werner

    High-end celebrity cooking as jazz improvisation. Gordinier spent four or five years circling around Rene Redzepi, whose Copenhagen restaurant was recognized world's best. Following that, Redzepi tore it all down and rebuilt it several times, in Japan, Australia, and Mexico before returning to a new location in Denmark. I can only dimly imagine some/most of the tastes but the sense of creative engagement comes through clearly and Gordinier's writing is frequently hilarious. Some points where I w

    High-end celebrity cooking as jazz improvisation. Gordinier spent four or five years circling around Rene Redzepi, whose Copenhagen restaurant was recognized world's best. Following that, Redzepi tore it all down and rebuilt it several times, in Japan, Australia, and Mexico before returning to a new location in Denmark. I can only dimly imagine some/most of the tastes but the sense of creative engagement comes through clearly and Gordinier's writing is frequently hilarious. Some points where I wanted more detail--we never really learn how Redzepi avoided disaster in Mexico--but a fun read.

  • Kathy

    I won an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway; this did not influence my review.

    Gordinier is an extremely intelligent writer but I found this book to be unfocused. One problem is that it seemed as if Gordinier never decided how, or if, to include himself in this book. At times he writes about chefs and food as an impartial observer, and it is easy to forget that he partook in their outings and meals. At other times, he shares small fragments of his own life - the fallout of his failed marriage or his wil

    I won an ARC in a Goodreads giveaway; this did not influence my review.

    Gordinier is an extremely intelligent writer but I found this book to be unfocused. One problem is that it seemed as if Gordinier never decided how, or if, to include himself in this book. At times he writes about chefs and food as an impartial observer, and it is easy to forget that he partook in their outings and meals. At other times, he shares small fragments of his own life - the fallout of his failed marriage or his willingness to spend his own money to join chef Redzepi on various adventures. The book is not a memoir, and not a biography of Redzepi. While Redzepi's restaurant, Noma, is a recurring theme it is not the sole focus, either. In addition, the book covers a span of four years, but it is often hard to track the passage of time. I enjoyed the passages about food (though there were fewer than I expected), and some of the sections about sourcing ingredients were fascinating, but I found this to be an odd book overall. Still, it is a quick read for those interested in learning more about one of the most esteemed chefs, or about his restaurant that was once considered the best in the world.

  • Fredrick Danysh

    The author was a food writer for the New York Times when he was offered an opportunity to travel visiting premier restaurants and chefs around the world, The book mostly covers his trips to Mexico and the Scandinavian countries. It is a travel log with no recipes. This was a free review copy obtained through Goodreads.com.

  • Cat

    Gordinier is a stylish writer who draws compelling analogies between music and food, both forms of social capital reflective of the trends of the times, yet also sensuously engaging, potentially psychologically and viscerally revelatory experiences. He casts René Redzepi as a kind of Gatsby (he alludes to the novel in the book and even uses an epigraph from it for a chapter), building dream castles in the sky...or rather in Copenhagen, Sydney, and Tulum, Mexico. The best parts of the book were G

    Gordinier is a stylish writer who draws compelling analogies between music and food, both forms of social capital reflective of the trends of the times, yet also sensuously engaging, potentially psychologically and viscerally revelatory experiences. He casts René Redzepi as a kind of Gatsby (he alludes to the novel in the book and even uses an epigraph from it for a chapter), building dream castles in the sky...or rather in Copenhagen, Sydney, and Tulum, Mexico. The best parts of the book were Gordinier's own reflections on his failing marriage, his desire for escape and adventure through travel, his new love with a woman who shared those obsessions, and his ultimate philosophy that moving on is what life (and creativity) are all about. Also, some of Redzepi's research projects (like learning to master mole) are compelling topics; I'd love to taste the mole that is 364 days old and still cooking. And it is fascinating to read about all of his acolytes who brave crazy conditions to forage for him and to find local farmers and resources. Redzepi's locavore obsession appeals to me. And yet, at the same time, there is something in the very Gatsby-ness of this (haute cuisine as conspicuous consumption of the highest quality, rarest, most local ingredients) that is troubling, even when Redzepi goes to such lengths to learn from locals. Gordinier's feeling that Redzepi is a guru is tempered by his recognition of Redzepi's existential and personal restlessness. There is something dude-rific about this, though, and Gordinier as Carraway doesn't quite dismiss my feeling that these is some masculinist bravado in this particular cult of hunger. Still, a pleasure to read the prose, and I wish I could sample the meals. (Too bad I can't cough up $600 for a dinner.)

  • Melissa

    *This review is part of the Amazon Vine program.

    I've sat on this review for awhile just because I was having trouble with it. See, I wanted to like this book, it was about food and pushing the boundaries of cuisine. Seems like exciting stuff, right? And while it was for some of it, I just couldn't sink into the writing style or the story. It was too unapproachable for me.

    Gordinier is offered the chance to travel and work with Redzepi, the chef of the famous Noma. Redzepi is looking to reinvent h

    *This review is part of the Amazon Vine program.

    I've sat on this review for awhile just because I was having trouble with it. See, I wanted to like this book, it was about food and pushing the boundaries of cuisine. Seems like exciting stuff, right? And while it was for some of it, I just couldn't sink into the writing style or the story. It was too unapproachable for me.

    Gordinier is offered the chance to travel and work with Redzepi, the chef of the famous Noma. Redzepi is looking to reinvent himself and the way people think about food again, and so the author gets to join him on his trips and discuss these ideas.

    It's a very descriptive book, and I will say that I loved the descriptions of the food. Unfortunately those seemed to take a seat behind the arguments, worries, and other such human drama that is present when you're working with restaurants. While it adds color, it's also distracting sometimes. Especially when Gordinier himself inserts some of his personal drama in, but not enough to make you feel good about it. In fact, I feel kind of bad for his families as he mentions them, but the descriptions of them don't really hold any warmth (except for maybe an initial description of the new girlfriend, after she makes wife status that warm fuzzy feeling suddenly is removed from the mentions). I don't know, I know he's not the book's purpose, but that just kind of turned me off of it a bit because I couldn't stop feeling sorry for his kids. It just made it hard to focus on the food.

    Memoir or biography, it's really hard to qualify this book. I think had it just been about Redzepi and the food and he left the memoir-ish parts out (as much as he could since he was traveling with the guy) it would have been a bit more engaging. More food descriptions, more travel, can't go wrong with that.

    Not one for me unfortunately.

    Review by M. Reynard 2019

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