A page-turning memoir from the chef of The Waverly Inn, New York City's vaunted celebrity gathering spot
The Hunger is an insider's romp through the crazy life of the restaurant business, told by a journeyman chef who fought his way to the top. Trapped in a dead-end job, John DeLucie called it quits and invested his meager savings in a ten-week cooking class. Upon completion, armed with no professional experience and the barest of basic skills, he walked into the renowned gourmet shop Dean & DeLuca and asked for a job. The next day he found himself chopping forty pounds of onions in the prep-kitchen basement. A glamorous new chapter had begun. DeLucie worked his way up the bumpy NYC food chain, from executive chef at La Bottega to Nick & Toni's in East Hampton, eventually finding his way to The Waverly Inn, which he opened with publishing magnate Graydon Carter and several partners. It was here that John married his mastery of simple but unique flavors with Carter's A+ list of glitterati to create downtown's hottest eatery.
The Hunger tracks John though the pitfalls of cooking for a living, as well as the roller-coaster ride that became his personal life. Woven into the grit are the stories behind some of DeLucie's signature recipes, including New York's "Best High-End Burger" and the now famous truffled mac and cheese. Here is John's tale about food, desire, and appetite—and how one person overcame all odds to make it in the fiercely competitive world of food.