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

  • Jeaninne Escallier Kato

    Thanks to a Goodreads contest, I won this book. Needless to say, when it arrived, I was less than enthusiastic because I do not like to cook (yet I adore the art of eating great food). However, being the honorable person that I am, I adhered to the promise that I would review it because it was part of the deal.

    If there is one thing I have learned in my long, fabulous life, the thought of doing something we think we might dread can often be like finding a diamond in the dirt. This book is one of

    Thanks to a Goodreads contest, I won this book. Needless to say, when it arrived, I was less than enthusiastic because I do not like to cook (yet I adore the art of eating great food). However, being the honorable person that I am, I adhered to the promise that I would review it because it was part of the deal.

    If there is one thing I have learned in my long, fabulous life, the thought of doing something we think we might dread can often be like finding a diamond in the dirt. This book is one of those arbitrary diamonds that are strewn few and far between in the dirt lots of my life. (Also, like the time I did not want to attend my freshman orientation to college in Idlewild, California; but, met one of the great loves of my life on that retreat.) Further proof that risk is the secret to living a worthwhile life.

    First, any book that starts off taking place in Oaxaca, Mexico, is a friend for life. I dove into the text like a teenager foraging in the fridge after school. I couldn't get enough. Jeff Gordinier does a masterful job of following the life of chef Rene Redzepi, owner of Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, which has been called one of the best restaurants in the world. The amalgamation of this passionate man and his quest for earth's bounty of natural foods had me riveted. I could never have imagined the drive, the creativity and the magic of foraging the earth for the greatest elixirs of nutrition that man can concoct. I had no idea that food could be so artistic and other-worldly.

    Second, the layers of what it takes to maintain a world-renown restaurant, soon to be many, are profound and complex. Jeff paints a picture of Rene, a humble man, who throws his heart, soul, passion and reputation on finding the best people to create the best ingredients in the best places. I was literally laughing and crying as I quietly cheered for Rene's success. When he hit up against gargantuan defeats, my heart hurt. When he turned those defeats into successes, I felt vindicated and relieved, as if they were my triumphs.

    You can't imagine the excitement I felt when I realized that I had eaten in one of Rene's favorite restaurants in Oaxaca, Mexico. Casa Oaxaca Café is the place I eat on my last night in Oaxaca as a gift to myself for living frugally each summer like the locals. I have even met the chef, another world-renown magician, Alejandro Ruiz. He is always pleased that I love his food and that I am so appreciative of the Oaxacan dining experience. I still can't believe that Rene Redzepi and I have covered the same ground in Mexico and have met the same people. (I am sure he has met the owners and chefs of my other favorite place, La Olla, in Oaxaca.) With every page, I felt as though Jeff was writing directly to me.

    I could go on and on about the dishes, but they are so magically incongruent, ancient, out of this world and just plain unbelievable, I will leave these surprises up to the reader. If I took away anything from this gastronomical journey, it is that before I die, I must make a reservation for Noma, whether it be in Denmark, Mexico or Australia, and taste the magic for myself.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • Ann

    This is part memoir, part travel narrative, and part chef's profile. You could also call it a coming-of-age saga, with the age being gloriously middle. Jeff Gordinier writes about food (and music and culture) with a poet's elegance. I’m inspired to study his technique. I mean, the way he describes mole sauce: "Mole could be red. Mole could be yellow. Mole could be green. Mole could be black. Mole could be so black, in fact -- conjured from the charred parchment of chiles that had been burned to

    This is part memoir, part travel narrative, and part chef's profile. You could also call it a coming-of-age saga, with the age being gloriously middle. Jeff Gordinier writes about food (and music and culture) with a poet's elegance. I’m inspired to study his technique. I mean, the way he describes mole sauce: "Mole could be red. Mole could be yellow. Mole could be green. Mole could be black. Mole could be so black, in fact -- conjured from the charred parchment of chiles that had been burned to the brink of outright ash -- that is was like a Goth bisque. Imagine eating flakes of night." I swoon.

    [I received an ARC of this book through Penguin's First to Read program.]

  • D. C.

    I enjoyed Jeff Gordiner's quirky and intriguing take on superstar chef René Redzepi's attempt to change his culinary path as he deals with personal and professional crises. Redzepi is burned out and hits the road to reinvent himself, and Gordiner bring us along for the ride.

    It's equal parts food book, travel/adventure story, and memoir, and Gordiner does a fine job of weaving it all together. At his best, Gordiner is charming and witty and his (and Redzipi's) enthusiasm is infectious. Things do

    I enjoyed Jeff Gordiner's quirky and intriguing take on superstar chef René Redzepi's attempt to change his culinary path as he deals with personal and professional crises. Redzepi is burned out and hits the road to reinvent himself, and Gordiner bring us along for the ride.

    It's equal parts food book, travel/adventure story, and memoir, and Gordiner does a fine job of weaving it all together. At his best, Gordiner is charming and witty and his (and Redzipi's) enthusiasm is infectious. Things do get a bit gonzo at times, both with the behaviors and the food. (There is some seriously crazy food in here -- certainly well out of my experience and comfort zone!) But whenever it seems like things are veering out of control, Gordiner rights the ship and stays focused on his story.

    The lushness and vividness of Gordiner's prose is the best thing about his book. When he takes us to a local marketplace or restaurant, we see, smell, hear, feel, and taste what he does. That's a great thing in any book, but in a book about food, it's essential.

    Recommended.

    (Thank you to Tim Duggan Books for a complimentary copy in exchange for an unbiased review.)

  • Beth

    So...I wasn't sure what I was going to think about this book when I got an arc to read - I just knew that it sounded interesting, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Now that I've finished it? I'm *still* not sure about the book, other than I know I liked it. It's sort of like what a prepared dish is like - disparate elements brought together to make the whole more interesting. Gordinier may not be a chef per se, but he creates with words - and the finished piece is more than I would have expected.

    So...I wasn't sure what I was going to think about this book when I got an arc to read - I just knew that it sounded interesting, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Now that I've finished it? I'm *still* not sure about the book, other than I know I liked it. It's sort of like what a prepared dish is like - disparate elements brought together to make the whole more interesting. Gordinier may not be a chef per se, but he creates with words - and the finished piece is more than I would have expected.

    It's a little bit memoir, briefly hitting points about the dissolution of his marriage at the time of his first real introduction to Redzepi, the driving force behind Noma. It hits biography as it covers Redzepi's end of Noma, his pop-ups, and the new Noma. It is travelogue - Mexico plays a LARGE part here. It is philosophy, as all the pieces come together in ways unexpected and eye-opening. For a shortish book, it really manages to cover a lot - something I would expect a dish at Noma might be like.

    Long story short - for anyone interested in cooking, in Noma, in Mexico, or just curious - it really is an interesting book and well worth reading.

  • 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.

  • 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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