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.
Buford is credited with coining the term "dirty realism".
Among the Thugs (1991) is presented as 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 book, based on years of exhaustive first-hand research as an 'outsider' -- in terms of both his background and his position as a member of the journalistic community—is considered by some to be one of the great social-research documents.
Heat (2006) 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 a capable home cook and wondered whether he had the skills to work in a busy restaurant kitchen. He met Batali at a dinner party and asked whether 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 traveled to Italy to meet cooks and chefs who were crucial to Batali's early culinary development, as Buford worked and lived 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 The New Yorker magazine. It describes his world travels with a leader in the world of gourmet dark chocolate, Fred Schilling of Dagoba Chocolates.
Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence (2008) is dedicated "to Bill Buford."
Buford's article "Cooking with Daniel: Three French Classics," about his experience cooking with French chef Daniel Boulud, was published in the July 29, 2013, issue of The New Yorker magazine. In an interview posted on The New Yorker's website to accompany the article, he discussed his time living in France and what he had learned about French cooking.
- Buford, Bill (1991). Among the Thugs.
- — (2006). Heat.
Essays and reporting
- Buford, Bill (April 26, 1999). "Sweat is Good". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- Buford, Bill (May 4, 2015). "Four little pigs". The Talk of the Town. Dept. of Gastronomy. The New Yorker 91 (11): 19. Retrieved 2015-06-29.
- Bolton, Chris. "Powell's Books review". Powells.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- Metacritic.com review Archived 10 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- Buford, Bill (2007-08-21). "Bill Buford reads from his kitchen memoir, 'Heat'". Npr.org. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- Will work for food
- Adam Mars-Jones. "What a carve-up". Books.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- Buford, Bill. "Bill Buford: Cooking French Classics with Chef Daniel Boulud". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- New, The. "Out Loud: Bill Buford on French Cooking". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- Restaurant Guys Radio Podcast Interview, 28 December 2007
|Editor of Granta