A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella
Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780767920490, 332pp.
Publication Date: June 10, 2008
An alluring, evocative summer voyage on the Mediterranean and into the enchanting seaside towns of France and Italy by a young American chef aboard an Italian billionaire couple's spectacular sailing 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 upon 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 small galley while at sea.
Shalleck invites readers to experience both place and food on Serenity's five-month journey. He prepares the simple classics of Provencal cooking in the French Riviera, forages for delicate frutti di mare in Liguria to make crudo, finds the freshest fish along the Tuscan coast for cacciucco, embraces the season of sun-drenched tomatoes for acqua pazza in the Amalfi Coast, and crosses the Bay of Naples to serve decadent dark chocolate-almond cake at the Isle of Capri. Shalleck captures the distinctive sights, sounds, and unique character of each port, 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 re-create the delectable food.
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