Knives at Dawn: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Bocuse D'Or, the World's Most Prestigious Cooking Competition (Paperback)

America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Bocuse D'Or, the World's Most Prestigious Cooking Competition

By Andrew Friedman

Free Press, 9781439153116, 304pp.

Publication Date: January 4, 2011



Sizzling saute pans. Screaming spectators.

Television cameras. A ticking clock.

Fasten your seatbelt for the Bocuse d'Or, the world's most challenging and prestigious cooking competition, where the pressure and the stakes could not be higher. At this real-life Top Chef, twenty-four culinary teams, each representing its home nation, cook for five and a half grueling hours. There are no elimination rounds--the teams have only this chance to cook two spectacular platters of food to be judged by a jury of chefs. Prize money, international acclaim, and national pride are on the line.

Knives at Dawn
is the dramatic story of the selection and training of the 2009 American team, overseen by a triumvirate of revered culinary figures, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Jerome Bocuse, icons portrayed here in intimate detail that only the author's unparalleled behind-the-scenes access could yield. The stars of this chefs-as-athletes story, Timothy Hollingsworth and his assistant, or commis, Adina Guest, both from the celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville, California, are up against a determined, colorful cast of international competitors. All the hopefuls meet in an arena in Lyon, France, for the ultimate competition, where technical and mental fortitude and split-second decisions can make all the difference in the world. With its riveting details and revelatory depictions of chefs in action, Knives at Dawn delivers fascinating insights into what drives chefs in their pursuit of excellence and perfection.

Praise For Knives at Dawn: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Bocuse D'Or, the World's Most Prestigious Cooking Competition

"This Olympian battle of the plates in France is about far more than cooking. Andrew Friedman provides a compelling, suspenseful account of one team's attempt to summit the culinary equivalent of Mount Everest in this thoughtful, hunger-provoking read." -- KATHLEEN FLINN, author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

"You will devour this book -- a rich cassoulet of expert food writing, personality profile, travelogue, and subculture examination wrapped in a gripping sports narrative. Top Chef meets Season on the Brink. Andrew Friedman takes a medal d'Or for this effort." -- L. JON WERTHEIM, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, and author of Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played

"The Bocuse d'Or packs all the pressure and intensity of a reality-show season into five and a half action-packed hours. Watching Team USA train for their grab at the gold had me on the edge of my seat." -- HAROLD DIETERLE, season one champion, Top Chef, and chef-owner, Perilla Restaurant, New York City

"I attended the Bocuse d'Or 2009 and can testify that Knives at Dawn brings this singular culinary event to life as it's never been captured on the page. As if that weren't enough, the story of how the American effort came together, in just nine quick months, is as suspenseful as the competition itself." -- DANIEL HUMM, executive chef, Eleven Madison Park

"Anyone who's ever wondered what makes Daniel [Boulud] and Thomas [Keller] tick will find their answers between the lines of this compelling contest drama. Readers will feel like they spent time in the company of these two industry giants." -- ALFRED PORTALE, executive chef-partner, Gotham Bar and Grill (New York) and Gotham Steak (Miami Beach)