Under the Table

Saucy Tales from Culinary School

About The Book


A deliciously entertaining memoir about one woman's adventures in the student kitchens of the legendary French Culinary Institute -- flavored with celebrity chefs, eccentric characters, and mouthwatering recipes

To anyone who has ever dreamed of life in a French kitchen, imagining days filled with puff pastry and sips of vintage wine, Katherine Darling serves up a savory dose of reality in this funny, fascinating, and altogether delightful account of her time spent slaving over a hot stove, wrestling with veal calves, and cleaning fish heads at the French Culinary Institute in downtown New York City.

As she goes from clueless amateur to certified chef, Katherine and her quirky fellow students learn the secrets behind the art of French cooking and frequently find themselves the objects of scorn and ridicule as their teachers wage psychological warfare over steaming pots of bisque. The kitchen, they soon discover, is no place for soft-hearted romantics. It's a cutthroat world, and no one ever made a soufflé without breaking a few eggs -- or cracking a few heads together. From the basics to the final exam, Darling reveals everything that goes into the making of a chef.

Filled with delicious food lore and trivia, and including dozens of classic and original French recipes, Under the Table takes readers deep into the trenches of one of the world's most prestigious cooking schools -- and shows what really goes on behind the doors of every great restaurant kitchen.

About The Author

Katherine Darling graduated first in her class at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.  After receiving her diploma, she went on to work at Saveur magazne.  She currently lives in Manhattan. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (April 14, 2009)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416566199

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Raves and Reviews

“[Darling] writes with uninhibited zest. . . . A charming memoir.”
—The Wall Street Journal

“You’ll find yourself relishing every word to the last page, like a biscuit sopping up that last drip of syrup.”
—Southern Living

“[A] food-related memoir women everywhere will love—even you takeout types.”
—Glamour

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