"Gabrielle Hamilton approaches storytelling the same way she does cooking—with thoughtful creativity that delights the senses."
—Daniel Boulud
Lamb Roast

“Though Ms. Hamilton’s brilliantly written new memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, is rhapsodic about food — in every variety, from the humble egg-on-a-roll sandwich served by Greek delis in New York to more esoteric things like ‘fried zucchini agrodolce with fresh mint and hot chili flakes’ — the book is hardly just for foodies. Ms. Hamilton, who has an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, is as evocative writing about people and places as she is at writing about cooking, and her memoir does as dazzling a job of summoning her lost childhood as Mary Karr’s Liars’ Club and Andre Aciman’s Out of Egypt did with theirs.”
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times [ read more ]

Blood, Bones & Butter is a rhapsodic, profane, wonderful, imperfect memoir. A fabulously talented writer-cook, Gabrielle Hamilton is also a contrarian one, and you never know quite what will come next. . . . And while this is a memoir and Ms. Hamilton is a chef, Blood, Bones & Butter is not the usual ‘chef memoir’ in our era of sex-in-dry-storage and testosterone-fueled cooking tell-alls. It is instead a minutely observed, artfully structured, fluidly written account of how a tough, eccentric woman navigates her way through a wayward youth and New York kitchens to become a renowned chef and respected author—and still manages to be uncertain about it all…. this book is every bit as rich and satisfying as the marrow bones the author roasts at Prune.”
Wall Street Journal [ read more ]

“Blood, Bones, & Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton. For the past five years we’ve been awaiting this moving, original, and quite beautiful memoir. And soon the waiting will be over.”
—Vogue preview (food books roundup) [ read more ]

Excerpt in the The New Yorker – January 17, 2011 Issue

“A memoir that flings open the kitchen door to expose the backbreaking toil and passionate obsession of a world-class chef.”
O Magazine [ read more ]

“As is clear to anyone who has met her — or anyone who has plunged into the heady rush of her memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, which Random House has sent into a third printing even before its official publication this week — Ms. Hamilton is not someone who has much use for dainty conversational censorship. . . . On the page and in the kitchen, Ms. Hamilton can be charming, tempestuous, persnickety, vulgar, poetic, provocative and mothering, sometimes all in the course of a single flurry of sentences. . . . A culinary Cormac McCarthy.”
New York Times [ read more ]

Blood, Bones & Butter is a book that threatens to raise the stakes for the American chef memoir in the same way that Patti Smith’s spellbinding, National Book Award-winning Just Kids upped the literary ante for the rock & roll memoir.”
New York Times [ read more ]

“Luminous. . . . Hamilton quickly proves that her decade-in-the-making work can live up to the extraordinary ‘best memoir by a chef ever’ hype.”
Washington Post [ read more ]

“Like Prune, which starts as a restaurant but ultimately resonates as a feeling, Blood, Bones, & Butter uses the edible, subtly and skillfully, to initiate and announce the exploration of bigger things.”
Elle [ read more

“PW will offer its official review soon, but until then, I’d like to offer my own (Random House, feel free to insert this into all new galleys you send out): ‘Move over, celebrity cupcake bakers, molecular gastronomists, locavores, and other assorted foodies: a new food writing hero is here. Gabrielle Hamilton might hate that title just as much as she despises being called a ‘female chef,’ but she deserves it–and goes beyond it. Her memoir transcends food writing and is just plain good writing. Is there room on the shelves for another food memoir? Yes. Especially if that memoir is Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones, & Butter.’”
—Lynn Andriani, Publishers Weekly

“[A] lusty, rollicking, engaging-from-page-one memoir of the chef-owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. Hamilton opened her eating establishment without any prior experience in cheffing, but the life experiences she did have before that bold move, told here in honest detail, obviously made up for any deficiencies in heading up a restaurant and also provide material for an electric story that is interesting even if the author hadn’t become the chef-owner of a successful restaurant. An idyllic childhood turned sour when her parents divorced; her adolescence and young womanhood encompassed drugs, menial jobs, and lack of direction and initiative when it came to continued education. All’s well that ends well, however, and her story does indeed do that. Add this to the shelf of chef memoirs but also recommend it to readers with a penchant for forthright, well-written memoirs in general.”

Blood, Bones, & Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton. For the past five years we’ve been awaiting this moving, original, and quite beautiful memoir. And soon the waiting will be over.”
Vogue preview (food books roundup)

“In this provocative debut, a renowned chef finds her fulfillment as a writer.

Though a passion for food provides Hamilton’s theme and focus, her passion for writing distinguishes this memoir from similar behind-the-kitchen volumes. In fact, her accomplishment as the owner and chef of Prune, in New York City, seems less like destiny than the result of a series of detours, from the broken family that left her to support herself with a series of food jobs since her early teens, when petty crime and casual drugs also marked her life, through her on-again/off-again college studies that culminated in an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan. “I was not looking to open a restaurant,” she writes of the quixotic leap she made into the profession-despite never having worked as a chef, written a business plan or had any idea of the legal processes involved in converting an abandoned space into a tiny bistro that would quickly come to gross almost $2 million a year. While the centerpiece of the book is an amazing chapter that finds the foundation of Prune-its spirit of hospitality-in her experiences as an impoverished international vagabond, the restaurant provides only one dimension of the narrative’s richness. In a manner that is never glib or sentimental, Hamilton proceeds from the childhood innocence of her family’s unraveling through the life of a precocious hustler for whom introspection was a luxury through the romantic complications of leaving her longtime female lover for the Italian man she would marry. This union that would provide her with something like the family she had lost decades earlier, but a marriage that would prove both turbulent and unconventional (the couple had two children in their first seven years of marriage without living together).

“After initially disdaining a career in food as one devoid of ‘meaning and purpose,’ she finds both here.”
Kirkus Reviews [ read more ]

“Lately you can’t leave the kitchen without hitting a charming new food memoir, but this one’s unique: equal parts edgy and delicious.”

“What makes this gorgeously written book so refreshing is that it thoroughly busts up the myth that of the great chef as destined artiste. To make a family, to make a throw a party – these are the victories of life and cooking.” – Bust [ read more ]

“Chef creation myths are a favorite trope in the world of food lit, but culinary memoirs that smack of ego and hyperbole never hold our attention. Prune chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s new tome, then, is a boon to the genre.  Witty, sincere and occasionally caustic, Hamilton’s telling of her journey from 16-year-old tough living off free happy-hour buffets through the success of her runaway-hit restaurant is compelling, page-turning stuff.” –Time Out New York

“The memoir by chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton puts forth a frank, poetic, and witty account of her atypical life in which food and relationships are given equal measure.” – Daily Candy

“It’s a story of hungers specific and vague, conquered and unappeasable, and what it lacks in urgency (and even, on occasion forthrightness) it makes up for in the shimmer of Hamilton’s best writing. …There are rhapsodic passages aplenty about eating and cooking, and while such reveries can easily seem forced or trite, hers ring sweetly true.  She’s recounting actual rapture, not contriving its facsimile on cue. You can feel her amazement as her father roasts whole lambs on a spit and her awe at the dexterity with which the chef André Soltner pulls off a perfect omelet, using only a fork.” –Frank Bruni, New York Times Book Review

“At its core, Blood, Bones, & Butter is about falling in love with food, every day, over the course of a lifetime. It’s a romance….Hamilton’s writing about food is so vivid it could make you half-crazed with hunger, leaving you in front of the open fridge with a cold chicken leg in one hand and the book in the other.” – Boston Globe

“[A] Gracefully written, audaciously honest memoir.” – W

Blood, Bones & Butter fits squarely in the tradition of triumph-over-screwed-up-childhood memoirs by Tobias Wolff or Mary Karr. It’s just plain great….Hamilton’s writing is as vigorous, evocative and unadorned as her cooking.” –Newsday

“Hamilton’s tough-minded memoir, hyped as the best chef book since Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, delivers. Unlike Bourdain, Hamilton, the chef of New York City’s Prune, doesn’t provide a kitchen exposé; BB&B is too personal for that.  From a beautifully rendered rural girlhood that ends with catastrophic divorce to the pains of corrupt waitresshood and the joys of chefhood, the book makes Hamilton as real to us as someone we’ve known all our lives and captures the essence of contemporary cool on the plate.” – Time

Blood, Bones & Butter, more than any book I know, captures the essence of contemporary cool when it comes to food. This is what you’d read if you came here from another country (or from another decade) and wanted to know what people valued in dining…. Her vision is so aptly and evocatively written that it’s hard not to succumb to its rough-hewn glamour. So preferable to the corporatized alternatives most Americans are stuck with  –  in both city and country alike  –  which is one reason for the book’s almost certain success. And if Blood, Bones & Butter isn’t made into a movie in the next 12 days, I will eat stilted food in sterile dining rooms for a week.” –TIME.COM

New York Times Interview – 3/2/2011

New York Times Blog for Diners Journal – 3/2/2011

Culinate Interview – 6/24/2011