All or Nothing (Hardcover)

One Chef's Appetite for the Extreme

By Jesse Schenker

Dey Street Books, 9780062339300, 272pp.

Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (6/2/2015)

List Price: 25.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Blending Kitchen Confidential, Blood, Bones & Butter, and Breaking Bad, a culinary memoir that illuminates the highs and lows of addiction, anxiety, and ambition in the world of haute cuisine.

 Thirty-one-year-old Jesse Schenker has rocketed to the top of the culinary world. An Iron Chef winner and James Beard nominee, he was voted Best New Chef by New York Magazine, and his acclaimed Recette was named Best New Restaurant by the New York Times. But Jesse’s epic rise masks a little-known past filled with demons and obsession, genius and mania.

Growing up in wealthy suburban Florida, Jesse was introduced to the culinary world—and the world of hard drugs. Becoming a high-school dropout addicted to heroin and crack, he was alienated from his family and wanted by the cops. By twenty-one, he had robbed, cheated, and lied to everyone in his life—and had overdosed, been shot at and nearly beaten to death. His eventual arrest motivated him to get clean.

Jesse learned to channel his obsessiveness and need to get ever “higher” into his career. But his growing success fueled his anxiety, leading to panic attacks and hypochondria. In this startling and down to earth memoir, Jesse lays it all on the table for the first time, reflecting on his insatiable appetite for the extreme—which has led to his biggest triumphs and failures—and shares the shocking story of his turbulent life.

About the Author

Jesse Schenker is executive chef and owner, with his wife, Lindsay, of The Gander and Recette in New York City. He was named one of the Best New Chefs by New York magazine, and beat Chef Geoffrey Zakarian in an Iron Chef America battle. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Praise For All or Nothing: One Chef's Appetite for the Extreme

“Jesse’s story of hitting rock bottom and working his way to the top is a must read.”
— Marcus Samuelsson

“Jesse Schenker has made his own success out of chaos, through sheer will and determination. A must read.”
— Jonathan Waxman, chef and cookbook author

“Go Ask Alice meets Kitchen Confidential… an engagingly written, compulsive read.”
— Kathleen Squires, food writer, The Wall Street Journal,, Saveur

“Warren Buffet famously said ‘Intensity is the price of excellence’… but it is also the foe of moderation! The same personality that makes for success makes for excess. The story of All or Nothing captures this great truth of life.”
— Stephen B. Gullo, Ph.D., author of the national bestseller Thin Tastes Better

“All or Nothing is a great read not only for young chefs but for anyone who wants to make a change for the better.”
— Bill Telepan, chef/owner, Telepan & Telepan Local

“Schenker’s candid memoir chronicles the painful journey of a man striving for both culinary perfection and inner peace”
— Kirkus Reviews

“This is the chef memoir we’ve been waiting for.”
— Vanity Fair