I was sharing a house in Provincetown one summer with a bunch of friends from high school. I was not contributing to the rent, and everybody I was living with was working in seasonal jobs at restaurants either as cooks or floor staff. One night they just said, we need a dishwasher and it’s going to be you, since you are not contributing to the rent. So I GOT STARTED AS A DISHWASHER and fell in love with the whole business and the whole subculture.
When I was 44 years old and had been working in the restaurant business for almost 30 years, I wrote an article for a free newspaper called the New York Press. The idea was to entertain other cooks and chefs. But in a moment of drunken humor, I withdrew the article and sent it to The New Yorker. Forty-eight hours after the article was published I had a book deal, Kitchen Confidential [which was published in 2000].