At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. I'm about as far from a chef as you can get, and I'm not the type to pick up any book that talks about chefs, kitchens, drug use, culinary school or the mob... all of which were contained in this book. At first, I also couldn't understand what it was about this book that would make it be geared toward Christian non-fiction readers. Now that I've finished the book, I'm glad I didn't give up on it... it was worth the read. Rick Tramonto was born into a big old school Italian family. Food, friends, family and fraud. Add domestic violence, more drug use than you'd see in Scarface, family members being sent to prison and familial mob ties to the mix and you'd only get as far as Chef Tramonto's high school years. This isn't an "I found God and now my life is instantly better and I will never have pain or struggle for the rest of my life!" kinda book. It's more of a "I found God, felt better, life got in the way, I struggled, I backslid, found God again, and now I'm living day by day doing the best I can with what I have" book - which although maybe not as awe-inspiring as some " Hallelujah! I've Seen the Light!" books, to me it's better, because it's real. What I got from this book was an incredible admiration for Chef Tramonto's persistence and dedication to his craft. When he set his mind to something, he accomplished it. The journey to the end result may have had some serious detours and there may have been a bridge or two that were out of order, causing major delays, but in the end, his immeasurable love of his profession and his hardcore dedication are inspiring. My favorite part of the book... the part that made me glad I kept reading... was when Chef Tramonto heard Pastor Gregory Dickow on the radio as he was driving home one night. Without giving important parts of the story away, the message that Pastor Dickow was talking about was one that I had never heard before, and one that I needed to hear. And I bet, it's one you need to hear too. If all you read in this book was that chapter, it would still be worth picking up.
I first ran across this book in the new release section at a bookstore and finally picked it up at a Border's when I had the money. I am currently a culinary school student and am definitely a sucker for biographies and anything to do with life in the restaurant business, so I was instantly excited when I first saw the cover and read the synopsis. Little did I know there was going to be a major theme about finding God in the midst of the whirlwind we like to call life. This book really spoke to me (a practicing Christian of over 30 years now) and what I'd gone through over the past few years. it definitely spoke to me on numerous levels and I learned more than I ever thought I would from reading it. Highly recommended for anyone interested in food, the restaurant business, or wanting to read a fantastic story of a man's journey to faith in God.