A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella
Broadway, Hardcover, 9780767920483, 352pp.
Publication Date: May 22, 2007
“Saturday was dawning warm, with only a gentle wind under a light blue sky as we got under way. . . . With the motor cut out, I could hear the whispered splash of the sea against the hull as we knifed through the Mediterranean. The calming noise, along with the gentle rocking, lulled me into a Zen calm as I went about preparing the crew’s lunch. . . . By keeping just a couple of miles offshore, we had some beautiful sights to our starboard side: the harbor towns of La Napoule and quaint Théoule-sur-Mer, . . . the sensational coastline of the Corniche de l’Estérel. . . . All of this I could see through the porthole in the galley. . . . Italy was only a week away.”
La Dolce Vita at sea. . .
An alluring, evocative summer voyage on the Mediterranean and into the enchanting seaside towns of France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella by a young American chef aboard an Italian billionaire couple’s spectacular yacht.
Having begun his cooking career in some of New York’s and San Francisco’s best restaurants, David Shalleck undertakes a European culinary adventure, a quest to discover what it really means to be a chef through a series of demanding internships in Provence and throughout Italy. After four years, as he debates whether it is finally time to return stateside and pursue something more permanent, he stumbles on a rare opportunity: to become the chef on board Serenity, the classic sailing yacht owned by one of Italy’s most prominent couples. They present Shalleck with the ultimate challenge: to prepare all the meals for them and their guests for the summer, with no repeats, comprised exclusively of local ingredients that reflect the flavors of each port, presented flawlessly to the couple’s uncompromising taste— all from the confines of the yacht’s galley while at sea.
Serenity’s five-month journey starts on the French Riviera, continues along Italy’s western coast to Amalfi, crosses the Tyrrhenian Sea to Sardinia, up to Corsica, and back to St. Tropez for the season-ending regatta. Shalleck captures the glittery Riviera social scene, the distinctive sights and sounds of the unique ports along the way, the work hard/play hard life of being a crew member, and the challenges of producing world-class cuisine for the stylish and demanding owners and their guests. An intimate view of the most exclusive of worlds, Mediterranean Summer offers readers a new perspective on breathtaking places, a memorable portrait of old world elegance and life at sea, as well recipes and tips to recreate the delectable food.
David Shalleck has cooked in restaurants in New York, San Francisco, the Napa Valley, London, in Provence, and in many of Italy’s famous regions. He has worked for over two decades in the food business as a chef and television culinary producer alongside some of America’s most celebrated chefs. He is the founder of VOLOCHEF™ Culinary Solutions and lives in San Francisco.
Erol Munuz is a Massachusetts-based communications strategist and writer.
Praise for Mediterranean Summer
“Sailing the Mediterranean in summer is the stuff of dreams. And in the company of a chef who plies the bounteous markets and creates food for the gods, this is indeed a heady journey. For the reader, the luscious meals and the ports of call are seductive; for the chef, the summer aboard the luxurious yacht is also a coming-of-age experience, when hard-won accolades and daunting challenges change him into the person he wants to be. A perfect book for the vacation flight to some paradise.” —Frances Mayes
“David has captured the life of a chef in an adventurous way….You will fall in love with the exotic places, fascinating people, and old-world cuisine that is true magic.” —Cat Cora, executive chef, Bon Appétit
“Although David did not choose the typical path to becoming a chef, he gives a very honest account of the thoughts and emotions—elation, happiness, dejection, passion, and moments of inspiration—that all cooks go through. It was completely absorbing.” —Thomas Keller, The French Laundry
“Fast-paced, fascinating, and well-written, this wonderful adventure at sea captures David's quest for the ultimate ingredients along the Mediterranean coast, the total immersion of this young American cook in the French, and particularly, the Italian cultures and, finally, the birth of a talented chef. Bravo!” —Jacques Pépin
“Just put a chef on a yacht on the Riviera and you have a 327-page book-sized vacation….Whether he is out buying vegetables at dawn, worrying about why the fish on ice have cloudy eyes or catering to the wishes of his employers known as La Signora and Il Dottore, Mr. Shalleck (with his co-writer, Erol Munuz) tells an escapist story that comes with recipes and practically generates it’s own breeze.” — New York Times Book Review