This is what he really said in David Kamp's The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, which, with its dishy stories and Julia Child “stiff cock” anecdotes, quickly became our favorite food book of the year:
“I think chefs and restaurants became what they are today because when people finally woke up from the cocaine buzz of the eighties, they had to find another form of entertainment. The club scene was dying out, and restaurants became the new entertainment, the new opiate.”The book also contains Chef Colicchio’s heartwarming reminiscences of being at a boozy meeting of Chefs from Hell, Unicyclists, and Acrobats—an informal club that also included superchef Thomas Keller among its members—“and laughing so much I actually threw up.”
But that’s not all. You’ll also find the answer to why Thomas Keller, who used to be Chef Colicchio’s boss at Rakel in New York City, will never be a guest judge on Top Chef—“Colicchio says he was ousted by Keller in a ‘You can’t fire me, I quit!’ situation, even though the two were good friends.”
And if you order in the next ten minutes, you’ll also be privy to Chef Colicchio’s admission that “the possibility of even a single failure ‘scares the hell out of me. I wake up every morning asking myself, “What the hell am I doing this for?” he says. “Do I need another restaurant? Do I need a restaurant in Dallas? Christ!” But at a certain point—I don’t know if you get addicted to the deal, but you start chasing these deals.’”
Revel as you watch Chef Colicchio bitchslap Alice Waters over a pig in Oregon! Marvel as you discover the genesis of Craftsteak! Ooh and aah at Chef Colicchio's comparisons of the 90s culinary scene to the Harlem Renaissance!
And as a special bonus, you’ll get an account of legendary New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne’s drunken dinner “at the starchy Cosmopolitan Club[, when] Claiborne, soused again, broke a lull in the conversation by suddenly blurting out, ‘When I die and they autopsy my brain, do you know what they’ll find?’ After a nervous silence, he answered his own question: ‘Pubic hair!’ Mrs. Catledge was not amused.”
Mrs. Catledge may not have been amused, but you certainly will—Order your copy today!