Out of the Frying Pan by Gillian Clark

October 26, 2007
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Out of the Frying Pan
Gillian Clark

Thomas Dunne Books
10-26-07
Hardcover/272 pages
ISBN: 0312366930
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". . . a love story full of challenges and creative problem solving . . ."

Out of the Frying Pan: From a marketing consultant to cook in eleven steps.

Gillian Clark and her family stood in front of the burnt out remains of an old farm contemplating a future that would take her from her job in marketing, or pleasing corporate clients, to raising geese for upscale and trendy restaurants. She had just begun cooking school when everything fell apart. Her alcoholic husband Hakim walked out and left Gillian and their two daughters to fend for themselves. The farm went to another family. Gillian had two choices: She could go back to marketing where it was safe and she knew she could make a good living or make cooking work. She chose to sink or swim as a chef, knowing she would have to raise her children alone, reaching for a nebulous dream her parents could not support and did not understand.

Gillian Clark’s memoir, Out of the Frying Pan, is not the typical success story. She started with a college degree and a solid job that killed her by inches every day. She wanted to change her life. Reaching back into her childhood for the one thing that gave sense and balance to her world and made her happy, she latched onto food and her love of cooking. Gillian didn’t choose an easy business. Restaurants often end up as the flavor of the month and easily forgotten. Cooking school was easy compared to toughing it out in a restaurant under a variety of chefs. That’s where she often found herself—out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Juggling low pay, horrendous hours and the kind of work that regularly leaves burns and scars, Gillian’s growing knowledge of food and how it fit into her life – both at home and at work – kept her focused on her dream. Cooking taught Gillian not only how strong she was but how to help her daughters over the rough spots of growing up. Her memoir is at once a hot dose of reality and a creative tool for parenting. The tasty recipes that anchor each chapter illustrate the lessons she learned and taught her children. Gillian Clark’s story is a conversation between good friends liberally salted with honesty, humor and hard truth. Out of the Frying Pan is a love story full of challenges and creative problem solving that lays bare one woman’s artistry, her strong belief in herself and in the transforming power of food.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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