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Bill Buford's midlife crisis, while mildly inconvenient for his family, was at least productive. He learned to cook in New York City and Italy, and turned the experience into a bestselling book, one that is now being developed into a feature film.
"Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-quoting Butcher in Tuscany," follows Buford as he spent a year working as Mario Batali's "kitchen bitch" in Babbo in NYC and then moved to Italy to further study the nation's cuisine.
Screenwriter Stan Chervin and producer Rachael Horovitz, the pair who helped make "Moneyball" happen, have bought the rights to "Heat," reported Deadline. There were reports in May of last year that the book's film rights had already been optioned, but that appears to have been premature.
Here's the book's official synopsis from the Random House website:
A highly acclaimed writer and editor, Bill Buford left his job at The New Yorker for a most unlikely destination: the kitchen at Babbo, the revolutionary Italian restaurant created and ruled by superstar chef Mario Batali. Finally realizing a long-held desire to learn first-hand the experience of restaurant cooking, Buford soon finds himself drowning in improperly cubed carrots and scalding pasta water on his quest to learn the tricks of the trade. His love of Italian food then propels him on journeys further afield: to Italy, to discover the secrets of pasta-making and, finally, how to properly slaughter a pig. Throughout, Buford stunningly details the complex aspects of Italian cooking and its long history, creating an engrossing and visceral narrative stuffed with insight and humor.
The book is a great read, often very funny, and full of fascinating behind-the-green-curtain insights into high-end kitchens, though Buford does occasionally spend too much time on things like the history of polenta.