Bill Buford

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Bill Buford
Bill Buford.jpg
Born1954 (age 65–66)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
OccupationAuthor, journalist
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
King's College, Cambridge
Literary movementDirty realism
Notable worksAmong the Thugs; Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany

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, 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 was previously the fiction editor for The New Yorker, where he is still on staff. For sixteen years, he was the editor of Granta, which he relaunched in 1979.

Buford is credited with coining the term "dirty realism".


As an author[edit]

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.[1]

Heat (2006) is Buford's account of working for free in the kitchen of Babbo, a New York City 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".[2][3][4][5]

Buford began 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 many stations in the restaurant; he 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, his article titled "Extreme Chocolate: The Quest for the Perfect Bean" was published in The New Yorker. It described his world travels with a leader in the world of gourmet dark chocolate, Fred Schilling of Dagoba Chocolates.

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.[6] 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.[7]

Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence (2008) is dedicated "to Bill Buford".

As an editor[edit]

Buford relaunched the then-defunct literary magazine Granta in 1979.[8] Under his leadership that journal became highly influential and "rose to conquer the literary world."[9] He edited it until 1995, when he left to become the fiction editor of The New Yorker.[10] In 2002, The New Yorker announced that he would leave the latter position at the beginning of 2003, to be replaced by Deborah Treisman, his deputy whom he had recruited to the magazine.[11][12] He remains on its staff.



  • Buford, Bill (1991). Among the Thugs.
  • — (2006). Heat.
  • — (2020). Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking. Knopf.

Essays and reporting[edit]


  1. ^ Bolton, Chris. "Powell's Books review". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  2. ^ review Archived 10 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Buford, Bill (21 August 2007). "Bill Buford reads from his kitchen memoir, 'Heat'". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  4. ^ Will work for food
  5. ^ Adam Mars-Jones. "What a carve-up". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  6. ^ Buford, Bill. "Bill Buford: Cooking French Classics with Chef Daniel Boulud". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  7. ^ New, The. "Out Loud: Bill Buford on French Cooking". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Bill Buford". Granta. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  9. ^ Garfield, Simon (30 December 2007). "How Granta conquered the world". The Observer. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  10. ^ Segura, Jonathan (6 March 2020). "Bill Buford Could Stand the Heat, So He's Back In the Kitchen". publishersweekly. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  11. ^ Carr, David; Kirkpatrick, David D. (21 October 2002). "The Gatekeeper For Literature Is Changing At New Yorker". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  12. ^ Finn, Robin (28 January 2003). "PUBLIC LIVES; A Bookworm as a Child, Now the Talk of the Town". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2020.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Editor of Granta
Succeeded by
Ian Jack