Knives at Dawn

  • by Andrew Friedman
  • Narrated by Sean Runnette
  • 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Bocuse d'Or is the real-life Top Chef, a biannual cooking competition in France featuring teams from 24 countries vying for the top honors. Named after Paul Bocuse, one of the greatest, most influential living chefs, the Bocuse d'Or has become the most sophisticated and closely watched cook-off in the world. Ironically, though American cuisine now rates among the best in the world, a U.S. team has never placed among the top three in the competition. In 2008, under the auspices of renowned chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, the two-person U.S. team of Timothy Hollingsworth and Adina Guest trained in a specially outfitted facility in preparation for the 2009 competition with the goal of a best-ever showing for the United States.
With unparalleled behind-the-scenes access, Andrew Friedman follows the American contestants and other hopefuls as they spend months training to cook and serve their dishes just once, over the course of five and a half tense hours, in an arena filled with a thousand screaming spectators. Along the way, he paints intimate portraits of Boulud and Keller, two of the leading culinary figures of their generation, revealing their hopes and aspirations for their proteges as well as for American cuisine. Through this compelling sports-meets-cooking story, Friedman explores the clash of culinary titans and cultures in a real-world kitchen stadium and ratchets up the suspense of who will reign supreme.

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What the Critics Say

"It's great fly-on-the-wall reporting.... Even those who don't care about the intricate details of a nine-course meal could learn something about entrepreneurship and project management from this story." (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating for Foodies

If you're a foodie, you'll be fascinated by the chef competition,. the Bocuse D'Or ...and centered around the American Team, a chef from Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. The story bogs down in parts, but the food descriptions and attention to all details revolving around the competition are worth the listen.

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- Linda Zimmerman "Expert Griller"

Really interesting story, but mostly for chefs

If you could sum up Knives at Dawn in three words, what would they be?

Well worth listening to.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Knives at Dawn?

the team meeting Paul Bocouse at Keller's Yountville, Calif., home.


Have you listened to any of Sean Runnette???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I don't think so, but as a reader, he's really good.


Any additional comments?

If you're a budding, current or former chef, you'll likely love the book. I can't imagine others who don't know the difficulty of the trade caring much. Though I never competed as a chef, I know the skills they were struggling to master for the contest. That kept me interested throughout. Great story and documentary.

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- Stephen T. Coomes "Food Writer"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-22-2009
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio