Book Review: Scars of a Chef, by Rick Tramanto

  • Salt River
  • March 2011
  • 288 pp.

For a cooking amateur–what’s a word for “beneath an amateur”?–this book was an interesting and fast-paced dash through the world of cooking superstardom. Rick starts out his memoir with a rocky childhood–an imprisoned dad, a learning disability, and some bad choices. But from his inauspicious start as a Wendy’s cook, readers follow Rick on a path that takes him straight to the top of the chef world. Over the course of the book, Rick talks about his various restaurant jobs and then his various high-end restaurant management and concept-creation tasks. His career has major ups and downs–including a dramatic dip in the wake of 2008’s financial crises–but what Rick ultimately discovers is the centrality of God in any search for meaning or significance.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this book (apart from the inside look at the culinary world, which might appeal to some but didn’t hold a ton of interest for me) is its underlying theme: that the pursuit of success is an idol that will drive any man or woman endlessly; no level of success is ever satisfactory or is ever cause for rest for the driven person. Ultimately, it takes a market collapse for Rick to see his heart’s relentless quest for significance in success for what it is: a search for God.

Buy it at Amazon. (This is an affiliate link, so I do receive a small percentage of any purchases made through the link.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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