Knives at Dawn

America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Bocuse d'Or, the World's Most Prestigious Cooking Competition

Knives at Dawn

Sizzling sauté pans. Screaming spectators.

Television cameras. A ticking clock.

Fasten your seatbelt for the Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most challenging and prestigious cooking competition, where the pressure and the stakes could not be higher. At this real-life Top Chef, twenty-four culinary teams, each representing its home nation, cook for five and a half grueling hours. There are no elimination rounds—the teams have only this chance to cook two spectacular platters of food to be judged by a jury of chefs. Prize money, international acclaim, and national pride are on the line.


Knives at Dawn
is the dramatic story of the selection and training of the 2009 American team, overseen by a triumvirate of revered culinary figures, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Jérôme Bocuse, icons portrayed here in intimate detail that only the author’s unparalleled behind-the-scenes access could yield. The stars of this chefs-as-athletes story, Timothy Hollingsworth and his assistant, or commis, Adina Guest, both from the celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville, California, are up against a determined, colorful cast of international competitors. All the hopefuls meet in an arena in Lyon, France, for the ultimate competition, where technical and mental fortitude and split-second decisions can make all the difference in the world. With its riveting details and revelatory depictions of chefs in action, Knives at Dawn delivers fascinating insights into what drives chefs in their pursuit of excellence and perfection.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439153116 | 
  • January 2011
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Andrew Friedman: Off The Shelf

A chefs-as-athletes story following the US 2009 team at the real "Top Chef"--The Bocuse d'Or, the world's most prestigious cooking competition.

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About the Author

Andrew Friedman
Photograph © Luca Pioltelli

Andrew Friedman

Andrew Friedman has made a career of getting to know the heads and hearts of professional cooks and athletes. For more than ten years, Friedman has collaborated with many of the nation’s best and most revered chefs on cookbooks and other writing projects. His writing career began in 1997, when Alfred Portale, asked him to collaborate on the Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook. The book received wide acclaim and since then he has worked as a cookbook collaborator on more than twenty projects, helping a number of the nation’s best chefs (Alfred Portale, David Waltuck, Tom Valenti, and many others) share their unique culinary viewpoints with readers.  As coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Breaking Back, the memoir of American tennis star James Blake, he took readers inside an athlete’s mind during training and competition, and he does the same as a frequent contributor to Tennis Magazine. In KNIVES AT DAWN: The American Team and the Bocuse d’Or 2009, Friedman combines these two personal passions to tell the story of the premier cooking competition in the world. Friedman has contributed articles to O—The Oprah Magazine and other publications and websites. He has been profiled in The New York Daily News and New York Magazine, and interviewed for, or featured in articles in, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as on NPR’s Taste of the Nation and WOR Radio’s Food Talk. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Columbia University, and is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute’s “La Technique” cooking program. He lives in New York City with his family.

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