HEAT is the story of an amateur cook surviving - or, perhaps more accurately, trying to survive - in a professional kitchen. ntil recently, Bill Buford was an enthusiastic, if rather chaotic, home cook. His meals were characterized by two incompatible qualities- their ambition and his inexperience at preparing them. Nevertheless, his lifelong regret was that he'd never worked in a professional kitchen. Then, three years ago, an opportunity presented itself. Buford was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali, a Falstaffian figure of voracious appetites who ran one of New York's most successful three-star restaurants. Batali had learned his craft by years of training - first, working in London with the young Marco Pierre White; then in California during the Food Revolution; and finally in Italy, being taught how to make pasta by hand in a hillside trattoria. Buford accepted the commission, if Batali would let him work in his kitchen, as his slave. He worked his way up to being a 'line cook' and then left New York to apprentice himself under the very teachers who had taught his teacher- preparing game with Marco Pierre White, making pasta in a hillside trattoria,
Bill Buford is a staff writer and European correspondent for the New Yorker, where he was previously the fiction editor for eight years. He was the editor-in-chief for Granta magazine for sixteen years and was also the publisher of Granta Books. He is the author of Among the Thugs. He lives in New York City.