Author(s): Lauren Shockey
Out of uni, Lauren Shockey took an entry level job for a PR company that did a lot of work in the food industry. For a food-obsessed young woman it was a way she could combine her love of food with a career her parents approved of. She hated it and saw herself as a cubicle slave chained to the photocopier. It wasn't what she wanted so she quit the 9-to-5 grind, took out massive loans, and started cooking school. At the French Culinary Institute, Lauren learned to salt food properly, to cook fearlessly over high heat, and to knock back beers like a pro. She also learned that a real culinary education begins once you're actually working in a restaurant. After a somewhat disappointing apprecenticeship in the French countryside, Lauren hatched a plan for her dream year: to apprentice in four kitchens around the world.
Starting in her hometown of New York City, where she worked under the famed chef Wylie Dufresne, she then headed to Vietnam, Israel, and back to France, each setting presenting its own set of challenges, from language barriers to stronger-than-usual resistance to a woman in a professional kitchen.
As Lauren grows into a more accomplished and confident cook, the reader follows the yearlong challenges and adventures of one extremely bright and restless young woman against the background drama of hyper-masculine restaurant life. It is a transformative journey and at the end Lauren decides working in a commercial kitchen isn't for her but her love of food is not diminished.
Lauren Shockey is now a food writer whose articles have appeared in many print and online publications including The Village Voice, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate and The Atlantic Food Channel, among many others. A graduate of The University of Chicago, Lauren also holds a diploma in Classic Culinary Arts from The French Culinary Institute and a Master of Arts in food studies from New York University.