Bill Buford (born 1954) is an American author and journalist. Buford is the author of the books Among the Thugs and Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany.
He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and raised in Southern California, attending the University of California at Berkeley before moving to King's College, University of Cambridge, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He remained in England for most of the 1980s.
1991's Among the Thugs is purportedly an "insider's" account of the world of (primarily) English football hooliganism. His chief thesis is that the traditional sociological account of crowd theory fails to understand the often complex problem of football violence as a particularly English working-class phenomenon. His years of exhaustive first-hand research as an 'outsider' both in terms of his background and position as a member of the journalistic community is considered by some as one of the great social research documents.
2006's Heat is Buford's account of working for free in the kitchen of Babbo, a New York restaurant owned by Chef Mario Batali. Buford's premise is that he considered himself to be a capable home cook and wondered if he had the skill to work in a busy restaurant kitchen. He met Batali at a dinner party and asked him if he would take on Buford as his "kitchen bitch".
Buford begins his time at Babbo in a variety of roles including dishwasher, prep cook, garbage remover and any other role demanded of him. Over the course of the book his skills improve and he is able to butcher a hog and work any station in the restaurant. Buford travels to Italy to meet cooks and chefs who were critical to Batali's early culinary development, as Buford works and lives in some of the places Batali honed his craft.
Subsequently, Buford started working on a book on French cuisine.
In October, 2007 Buford's article titled "Extreme Chocolate: The Quest for the Perfect Bean" was published in New Yorker Magazine. The article describes his world travels with a leader in the gourmet, dark-chocolate world, Fred Schilling of Dagoba Chocolates.
Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence (2008) is dedicated "To Bill Buford".
- Restaurant Guys Radio Podcast Interview, 28 December 2007
|Editor of Granta