Burn the Place: A Memoir (paperback)
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With resonant endorsements from her professional colleagues, Iliana Regan has written a smart and moving account of how someone who seemed to have a long list of things against her became a successful and respected chef. Regan is now the owner of two Chicago restaurants (Kitsune and the starred Elizabeth) but she grew up on an Indiana farm. Although she connected strongly to the foods her family grew and that she foraged nearby, she was an outsider in her community: a girl who wanted to be a boy, a woman who loved women. And as she began working in the restaurant world, she continued to be an outsider but somehow managed to turn that difference into something remarkable. Told in vivid, short chapters that combine lyrical writing with sometimes raw emotion—to say nothing of the intensity of professional cooking—Burn the Place is a strong antidote to the familiar chef memoir and an invigorating read. Hardcover.