In the winter of 1996, writer Michael Ruhlman donned a chef's jacket and entered the Culinary Institute of America, known as the Harvard of cooking schools, to learn the art of cooking. His vivid and eye-opening record of that experience, The Making of a Chef, takes us into the heart of this food-knowledge mecca. Here we meet a coterie of talented chefs, an astonishing and driven breed, and experience the pressure and perfectionism of their job. Ruhlman learns fundamental skills and information about the behavior of food that make cooking anything possible. He propels himself and his readers through a score of kitchens and classrooms, from Asian and American regional cuisines to lunch cookery, in search of the elusive, unnameable elements of great cooking. This book was nominated for a 1998 James Beard Foundation award in the Writing on Food category.