The Perfectionist: Life And Death in Haute Cuisine

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9780141021935: The Perfectionist: Life And Death in Haute Cuisine

On the evening of February 24 2003, an astounding story broke into French radio and TV news bulletins, then raced around the world: Bernard Loiseau, France's most famous chef, had committed suicide. More than a surprise, it was simply unbelievable, because he was a man who had everything: a super luxurious hotel and restaurant holding three stars, the highest rating of the Michelin guide; media star status at home and an enviable reputation worldwide for the daring cuisine des essences he had invented; a great staff, entirely devoted to his cause; an attractive loyal wife and three beautiful young children. He was on top of the world, and yet he chose to end it all or was it was because he was on top of the world? Enigma.

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From the Back Cover:

"Loiseau seems likely to become a mordant icon of the eternal war between critics and cooks...[Chelminski] has a moving story to tell, with universal implications: the downfall of the artist through perfectionism and paranoia."
—Adam Gopnick, The New Yorker

"The Perfectionist tells, in rich detail, the story of Bernard Loiseau’s rapid rise and desperate efforts to stay on top, but this cautionary tale is also a deeply informed guide to the last half century of French cuisine..."
—William Grimes, The New York Times

"One of the finest and most incisive portraits of a chef ever written—and a sobering account of the real human costs of being the best. A book as strong on "who" cooks as "what" is cooking. Absolutely fascinating."
—Anthony Bourdain, author of the New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential

"A revealing look at the rise and fall of French chef Bernard Loiseau..."
People Magazine’s "Great Reads"

"The Perfectionist is a good book: knowledgeable, revealing, and informative. It brings back to life in very believable ways a man who much of the time was, as the cliché goes, larger than life."
—Johnathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"...rich and finely detailed...if you’re at all curious about what makes our always maddening yet intriguing allies tick, then tuck into The Perfectionist..."
USA Today

"The Perfectionist examines Loiseau’s suicide in the context of French culinary history, delving deep into the mad passion that seems to drive many master chefs... Mouthwatering descriptions abound...the behind-the-scenes look at the kitchens of some of France’s finest restaurants is fascinating..."
The Boston Globe

"...The Perfectionist effectively reveals the pressure-cooker atmosphere among a culinary elite dominated by intense rivalries, fickle reviewers, and hypercritical chefs for whom there is no such thing as second best."
Entertainment Weekly

"Rudolph Chelminski is an excellent and absorbing writer who obviously understands the inner workings of the culinary world, as well as how chefs think. His empathy for the industry as a whole - and for Bernard Loiseau in particular - makes The Perfectionist a fascinating read."
—Daniel Boulud, Chef/Owner DANIEL, author of Letters to a Young Chef and Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud Cookbook

From the Inside Flap:

"Chelminski gets right to the heart of what it takes to get--and hold on to--three Michelin stars. The Perfectionist is a knowledgeable, wise, unsparing yet sympathetic portrait of a great chef at a crossroads in culinary history. Few other writers have taken us as deeply--or as unblinkingly--into the real business of haute cuisine. One of the finest and most incisive portraits of a chef ever written--and a sobering account of the real human costs of being the best. A book as strong on "who" cooks as "what" is cooking. Absolutely fascinating from its beginnings--to its tragic end."
--Anthony Bourdain, author of the New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential

"As someone who spent a year with Bernard Loiseau and wrote his own book about the remarkable chef, I read this account with great interest. It is a tour de force - a story of the universal quest for perfection and French gastronomy's battle to continue defining haute cuisine for the rest of the world."
--William Echikson, author of Burgundy Stars and Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution

"Rudolph Chelminski is an excellent and absorbing writer who obviously understands the inner workings of the culinary world, as well as how chefs think. His empathy for the industry as a whole - and for Bernard Loiseau in particular - makes The Perfectionist a fascinating read. Bernard’s death is a tragedy that I have struggled with; Mr. Chelminski’s book made me finally understand why it occurred."
—Daniel Boulud, Chef/Owner DANIEL, Café Boulud and db bistro moderne

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Chelminski, Rudolph
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