Chef Sang Yoon, Cookin' and Bookin' Before he opened his own place (a bar and restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., called Father's Office) Sang Yoon served up gourmet cuisine at Michael's. As our series of summer reading chats continues, he reveals a taste for books about eats.

Chef Sang Yoon, Cookin' and Bookin'

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Our summer reader this week is chef and self-proclaimed beer sommelier, Sang Yoon. He joins us from his home in Los Angeles.

Welcome to the program.

Mr. SANG YOON (Chef): Hi.

HANSEN: What have you been reading this summer?

Mr. YOON: You know...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. YOON: ...chefs don't get to read very much, but I just picked up Are You Really Going to Eat That?

HANSEN: Rob Walsh?

Mr. YOON: Exactly, yeah. I take that on plane trips with me, and it's a renegade, Indiana Jones, kind of reminds me of an old explorer. It's kind of cool how someone goes around the world looking for, you know, a perfect cup of coffee, and I'm really intrigued by stories like that.

HANSEN: What else have you been able to read recently?

Mr. YOON: Well, I just took up, for instance, I just took up Pilates. I don't want to be a fat chef.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. YOON: So I just picked this book called Your Ultimate Pilates Body Challenge, by someone named Brook Siler. Its got pictures in it and I can do the moves, because it makes sense.

HANSEN: Huh. Do you tend to gravitate toward books by chefs or books about food simply because that's the industry you're in?

Mr. YOON: Well, naturally, yeah. I mean, there's sort of that, you know, voyeuristic aspect of it. You know, I loved Kitchen Confidential from Anthony Bourdain. And you know, there's a lot of truth in that book. And yeah, I mean, of course I gravitate toward that. But I don't always like reading about other chefs. But I tend to stay away from fiction books, just as a rule.


Mr. YOON: I've got enough drama in my life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: So if you had all the time in the world and could settle in to read one book, what would it be?

Mr. YOON: I got this book. It was a long-awaited cookbook by Chef Pierre Ganaire. It came out last year. I got it as a gift. I was excited, unwrapped it, only to find it had no recipes in it. So I put it away, angered.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. YOON: It had no recipes in it. It's more like a culinary, gastronomic haiku poetry book by a world-famous French chef. And I want to read it. It's just - it's kind of painful to read, but I do want to read it, because it's kind of like his own reflections.

HANSEN: How about cookbooks? Do you read them?

Mr. YOON: I tend to stay away from cookbooks...

HANSEN: Really?

Mr. YOON: a general rule, yes. Like I said, the only cookbook that I really wanted to read - there's two in my life that I really wanted and that was this Pierre Ganaire cookbook and the French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. And those are the two sort of ones that I really wanted, academically, to really get into these guys' heads.

Other than that, I've had formal culinary training almost my whole life and I really don't understand the need for cookbooks. I think they're great for consumers and great for people who aren't in the business. But for people like myself, they're - they just sort of like become technical manuals.

HANSEN: Chef Sang Yoon joined us from his home in Los Angeles.

Thanks a lot.

Mr. YOON: My pleasure.

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