White Jacket Required
by Jenna Weber

Sterling Epicure, 2012. ISBN 978-1-402-77777-6.
Reviewed by Janet Caplan
Posted on 09/01/2012

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Food/Cooking/Kitchen

White Jacket Required is a good recipe for an evening read; it's lively, fast paced, and quite captivating. It's also a first book for author Jenna Weber who, after finishing college, decided to attend culinary school to become not a chef, but a food writer. This book chronicles her time at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando and her entrance into the world of food and writing about it.

Weber briefly studied the Culinary Program before switching over to Pastry and Baking, where she developed her true culinary passion. Long hours, very hard work and, at times, intense criticism ensued over the next numbers of months. In the end Jenna passed the program and was successful in finding work.

The book is more than a detailed look at life in chef's school. It also tells Jenna's personal life during the period: a heart-breaking family tragedy, a major break-up with her boyfriend, and a cross-country move to pursue her dreams and goals.

I felt the story would have benefited from more interaction and dialogue between the author and the people she describes. Nevertheless, Weber does come across as both enthusiastic and passionate and, as a result, the pace is good and the reader's attention maintained.

The author very kindly intersperses her text with a great variety of recipes: everything from soup and salad to main courses and desserts. That alone is worth the price of the book, yet don't overlook Weber's story.

Jenna Weber also has a successful culinary blog, where she writes in the same lively manner and shares terrific recipes. She mentions the blog towards the end of the book, seemingly as if every reader should be aware of it. I wasn't and would have been interested in knowing something of its history and success.

Jenna Weber attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, FL, with the goal of landing a job at one of the top food magazines. Instead, she ended up becoming a hugely popular blogger and writing this, her first book. Visit her blog to get an up-to-the-minute look at Jenna's world of food. She lives in Santa Rosa, CA.

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