Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany

Version: Abridged
Author: Bill Buford
Narrator: Bill Buford
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Literary
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: May 2006
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
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From one of our most interesting literary figures - former editor of Granta, former fiction editor at "The New Yorker," acclaimed author of Among the Thugs - a sharp, funny, exuberant, close-up account of his headlong plunge into the life of a professional cook.
Expanding on his James Beard Award-winning "New Yorker" article, Bill Buford gives us a richly evocative chronicle of his experience as "slave" to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali's three-star New York restaurant, Babbo.
In a fast-paced, candid narrative, Buford describes three frenetic years of trials and errors, disappointments and triumphs, as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from "kitchen bitch" to line cook . . . his relationship with the larger-than-life Batali, whose story he learns as their friendship grows through (and sometimes despite) kitchen encounters and after-work all-nighters . . . and his immersion in the arts of butchery in Northern Italy,
of preparing game in London, and making handmade pasta at an Italian hillside trattoria.
Heat is a marvelous hybrid: a memoir of Buford's kitchen adventure, the story of Batali's amazing rise to culinary (and extra-culinary) fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters. It is a book to delight in, and to savour.

Reviews (6)

Lot's of fun

Written by Randose from Radford, VA on January 17th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I am a dedicated foodie. Love to eat great food and love to know the lore of food and it's history. I also cook from scratch many times/week, and always wish to hone my skills as a cook. This book was very entertaining. My top interest in the book was to learn techniques and knowledge as an amateur. In this respect it was disaapointing. I picked up some new information but not much. But the characters and adventures depicted were humorous and engaging, at times touching, and i learned much about the evolution of cooking in Europe during medieval times and the big role Italy may have played in that evolution. In some ways it is a study and comparison of the philophy of cooking, past vs present, American vs Tuscan.

Great book!

Written by Julia on July 22nd, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I really enjoyed this book - interesting topic and very well read by the author. I would recommend this anyone remotely interested in food or Italy!


Written by Tamsen Wassell on October 30th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Great "read". One of my top ten. Fun, funny and I learned a lot. If you are a foodie this is a book for you.


Written by Nancy Ramsay on September 11th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is a delightful book, especially if you enjoy cooking and if you are in love with Italy. The author as reader works pretty well, except there are times when he kindof loses interest and is just reading the words -- something a professional reader is less likely to do. I've recommended Heat to many people because it is packed with information, and the writing is entertaining -- often hilarious.

just so so

Written by Rita O'Malley on February 15th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I really liked the author as narrator but at times I just wanted it to finish. I did learn somethings about cooking and restaurantuers that I didn't know.


Written by Anonymous from Dallas, TX on September 8th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I really enjoyed this book. If you enjoyed Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential", you should like this one. It kept my interest from start to finish.

Author Details

Author Details

Buford, Bill

BILL BUFORD is an author and a staff writer for The New Yorker, as well as the founding editor of Granta, which he edited for sixteen years. His books include Among the Thugs and Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany.