Please login or create an account to join the discussion.

The Dish: The Lives and Labour Behind One Plate of Food

Cover of The Dish by Andrew Friedman with images of cabbage crops and a restaurant kitchen

From plot to plate, this book follows food through the supply chain from the ground through farmers and producers, to the chefs and front of house who deliver it to customers at Chicago’s Wherewithall restaurant.  The book offers an engaging perspective on the multifaceted dynamics shaping the fine dining food system through a series of personal encounters with actors throughout the system.

As each dish is served, Andrew Friedman introduces all those involved in its final form, from the chefs who mastermind the dish and manage the kitchen to the sous chef and dishwashers who keep the restaurant running smoothly. Friedman also romps across many of the actors involved before the kitchen: from Midwestern vegetables farmers to wineries, butchers, delivery-truck drivers.


Publisher’s Description


Acclaimed “chef writer” Andrew Friedman introduces readers to all the people and processes that come together in a single restaurant dish, creating an entertaining, vivid snapshot of the contemporary restaurant community, modern farming industry, and food-supply chain.


On a typical evening, in a contemporary American restaurant, a table orders their dinner from a server. It’s an exchange that happens dozens, or hundreds, of times a night—the core transaction that keeps the place churning. In this book, acclaimed chef writer Andrew Friedman slows down time to focus on a single dish at Chicago’s Wherewithall restaurant, following its production and provenances via real-time kitchen and in-the-field reportage, from the moment the order is placed to when the finished dish is delivered to the table.


As various components of this one dish are prepared by the kitchen team, Friedman introduces readers to the players responsible for producing it, from the chefs who conceived the dish and manage the kitchen, to the line cooks and sous chefs who carry out the actual cooking, and the dishwashers who keep pace with the dining room.


Readers will also meet the producers, farmers, and ranchers, who supply the restaurant, as Friedman visits each stop in the supply chain and profiles the key characters whose expertise and effort play essential roles in making the dish possible—they will walk rows of crops that line Midwestern farms, feel the chill of the cooler where beef dry-ages, harvest grapes at a Michigan winery, ride along with a delivery-truck driver, and hear the immigration sagas prevalent amongst often unseen and unheralded farm and restaurant workers.


The Dish is a rollicking ride inside every aspect of a restaurant dish. Both a fascinating window onto our food systems, and a celebration of the unsung heroes of restaurants and the collaborative nature of professional kitchen work, The Dish will ensure that readers never look at any restaurant meal the same way again. 



Find the book here and read more about preserving food culture in our food sovereignty explainer

Post a new comment »

Login or register to comment with your personal account. Anonymous comments require approval to be visible.