The Migrant Chef: The Life and Times of Lalo García

Books on Tape. May 2023. 6:46 hrs. ISBN 9780593791172. $57. BIOG
Mexico City–based journalist Tillman (The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts) draws upon five years of immersive research, offering a gripping and inspiring story of one of Mexico’s most renowned chefs, Eduardo “Lalo” García Guzmán. When he was a child, Lalo and his family crossed the border into the United States in search of a better life. Lalo began working as a field laborer when he was 10 years old, harvesting and planting produce alongside his family as they traveled from Florida to Michigan. Through backbreaking labor in the fields and grueling work in Atlanta kitchens, Lalo eventually found a passion for food. Although a robbery conviction, incarceration, and subsequent deportation presented hardships, he was undeterred and continued to support his family while working toward his dreams. Narrator Cindy Kay vividly tells Lalo’s story, detailing his growth as a chef and his professional successes, including the establishment of his acclaimed Mexico City restaurant Máximo Bistrot, which was followed by Lalo! and Havre 77. Kay engagingly conveys Tillman’s lush descriptions of Mexico City’s food scene, from sourcing ingredients to reinterpreting culinary traditions.
VERDICT Tillman’s spellbinding story of this extraordinary chef and his journey is not to be missed. For fans of uplifting biographies highlighting food, culture, and history.
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