The Dish: The Lives and Labor Behind One Plate of Food (Hardcover)

The Dish: The Lives and Labor Behind One Plate of Food By Andrew Friedman Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-4 Days


“A thorough, lively work of on-the-ground reportage. ... Friedman shares a remarkable story." —Wall Street Journal

Acclaimed “chef writer” Andrew Friedman introduces readers to all the people and processes that come together in a single restaurant dish, creating an entertaining, vivid snapshot of the contemporary restaurant community, modern farming industry, and food-supply chain.

On a typical evening, in a contemporary American restaurant, a table orders their dinner from a server. It’s an exchange that happens dozens, or hundreds, of times a night—the core transaction that keeps the place churning. In this book, acclaimed chef writer Andrew Friedman slows down time to focus on a single dish at Chicago’s Wherewithall restaurant, following its production and provenances via real-time kitchen and in-the-field reportage, from the moment the order is placed to when the finished dish is delivered to the table.

As various components of this one dish are prepared by the kitchen team, Friedman introduces readers to the players responsible for producing it, from the chefs who conceived the dish and manage the kitchen, to the line cooks and sous chefs who carry out the actual cooking, and the dishwashers who keep pace with the dining room.

Readers will also meet the producers, farmers, and ranchers, who supply the restaurant, as Friedman visits each stop in the supply chain and profiles the key characters whose expertise and effort play essential roles in making the dish possible—they will walk rows of crops that line Midwestern farms, feel the chill of the cooler where beef dry-ages, harvest grapes at a Michigan winery, ride along with a delivery-truck driver, and hear the immigration sagas prevalent amongst often unseen and unheralded farm and restaurant workers.

The Dish is a rollicking ride inside every aspect of a restaurant dish. Both a fascinating window onto our food systems, and a celebration of the unsung heroes of restaurants and the collaborative nature of professional kitchen work, The Dish will ensure that readers never look at any restaurant meal the same way again. 

"Masterful. ... Friedman excels at bringing the dining room to boisterous life with vivid, telling details. ... This will sate gastronomes and casual foodies alike." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Andrew Friedman is the author of Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits and Wanderers Created a New American Profession (2018), and producer and host of the independent podcast Andrew Talks to Chefs, currently in its sixth year. He is also the author of Knives at Dawn: America’s Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d’Or Competition (2009), co-editor of the internationally popular anthology Don’t Try This at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World’s Greatest Chefs, and co-author of more than twenty-five cookbooks, memoirs, and other projects with some of the United States’ finest and most well-known chefs. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor within the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at the Culinary Institute of America. An avid tennis player, he co- authored American tennis star James Blake’s New York Times bestselling memoir Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life (2007), and was for several years a TENNIS magazine editor-at-large. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Praise For…

“A thorough, lively work of on-the-ground reportage. ... Friedman shares a remarkable story. ... In the restaurant, Mr. Friedman observes scrupulously. He provides enough robust detail that a person with a fair bit of kitchen knowledge could, I suspect, get very close to cooking that week’s tasting menu from Wherewithall. ... Knowing that Wherewithall was not long for this world, like knowing that the ship is going to hit an iceberg, or that Romeo is going to drink the poison, only heightens the satisfactions of Mr. Friedman’s book. We can, after all, still visit its pages.” — Wall Street Journal

“Andrew Friedman’s deep dive into The Dish gives us a great appreciation and understanding of the people who play a part in the meals we order in restaurants. This book should be required reading for all of us who enjoy going out to eat!” — Marcus Samuelsson, James Beard Award-winning author, chef, and restauranter

“Andrew Friedman has achieved a long overdue thing: shown just how much skill, connectivity, personal touch, and professional grace exists in our restaurant culture. It is a real gift to have an archivist like Andrew who cares so much about cooks, producers and service workers document this work with such a loving and truthful eye.” — Lisa Donovan, James Beard Award-winning author of Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger Perpetual Hunger 

“Tail to nose and root to stem, Andrew Friedman serves the life story of a single plate of food at a single restaurant and somehow conjures an entire world of blue-collar work.”  — Amanda Cohen, Chef/Owner of Dirt Candy

“Who is really behind the food we eat at a restaurant? Andrew Friedman, in The Dish, perfectly orchestrates what it takes to go from farm…and ranch…and vineyard…to mouth.”  — Tom Colicchio, Chef/Owner of Crafted Hospitality

"Masterful. ... Friedman excels at bringing the dining room to boisterous life with vivid, telling details. ... This will sate gastronomes and casual foodies alike." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An entertaining, eye-opening investigation...a lively look into what goes into the production of one meal, on one day, in one restaurant." — Kirkus Reviews

“Readers intrigued by the fine-dining industry will not only enjoy this work, but will be reminded to think more deeply about those serving them and working behind the kitchen door the next time they go out to eat.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063135970
ISBN-10: 0063135973
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 288
Language: English