by Carol G. Durst-Wetheim
Carol Durst-Wertheim was one of many women who entered the culinary professions and became entrepreneurs beginning in the early 1980s, an era before food television networks, the celebration of over-the-top chefs, and high-rating sitcoms with characters who worked as caterers. But it was not an era before hard work was needed to succeed.
This is a story that is dotted with names of the working people who were part of New York's professional food world, deeply respected by their peers even if they never guest-starred on a cooking contest show. Jack Ubaldi, Pat Bartholemew, Nick Malgieri. Fred Bridge. Leslie Revsin. There are bold-faced names as well. But the heart of the book is the determination, the adaptability, and the resilience it took to build and maintain a small business.
Vignettes and Vinaigrettes is a realistic, informative, sometimes funny and often inspiring story of a key moment in the evolution of the modern food business. For anyone interested in that history, and for anyone considering stepping into the current fray, it's eye-opening.