Burn the Place: A Memoir

Burn the Place: A Memoir

A singular, powerfully expressive debut memoir that traces one chef's struggle to find her place and what happens once she does.

Burn the Place is a galvanizing memoir that chronicles Iliana Regan's journey from foraging on the family farm to running her Michelin-starred restaurant, Elizabeth. Her story is raw like that first bite of wild onion, alive with startling imagery, and told with uncommon emotional power.

Regan grew up the youngest of four headstrong girls on a small farm in Northwest Indiana. While gathering raspberries as a toddler, Regan preternaturally understood to pick just the ripe fruit and leave the rest for another day. In the family's leaf-strewn fields, the orange flutes of chanterelles beckoned her while they eluded others.

Regan has had this intense, almost otherworldly connection with food and the earth it comes from since her childhood, but connecting with people has always been more difficult. She was a little girl who longed to be a boy, gay in an intolerant community, an alcoholic before she turned twenty, and a woman in an industry dominated by men--she often felt she "wasn't made for this world," and as far as she could tell, the world tended to agree. But as she learned to cook in her childhood farmhouse, got her first restaurant job at age fifteen, taught herself cutting-edge cuisine while running a "new gatherer" underground supper club, and worked her way from front-of-house staff to running her own kitchen, Regan found that food could help her navigate the strangeness of the world around her.

Regan cooks with instinct, memory, and an emotional connection to her ingredients that can't be taught. Written from that same place of instinct and emotion, Burn the Place tells Regan's story in raw and vivid prose and brings readers into a world--from the Indiana woods to elite Chicago kitchens--that is entirely original and unforgettable.

Title:Burn the Place: A Memoir
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781572842670
Format Type:

    Burn the Place: A Memoir Reviews

  • Kasa Cotugno

    I chose this because some of my most beloved books, beginning with Kitchen Confidential, have been memoirs by established chefs and Iliana Regan's arc seemed to echo that of Gabrielle Hamilton. Yes th...

  • Megan Prokott

    I felt very moved by Regan’s honesty and her ability to forge her own path throughout this book, but especially as she speaks about her sexuality and the trials of being gay in rural American. I loo...

  • Viral

    Thanks to Agate Midway for the ARC at BEA 2019!I wasn't particularly interested in this book at first, because I thought it was just a chef's memoir. I sure am glad I got it and read it anyways, becau...

  • Sam

    This memoir by Ilana Regan shows her life through glimpses, from childhood self proclaimed hillbilly, on to substance abusing young adult, and finally to a successful chef/restaurant owner, with refle...

  • Zach

    Five stars for the first 75 pages. Then it just...It's all over the place and sometimes that works and sometimes it's like you're eating something rich and wonderful and then they just keep feeding it...

  • Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary:A fascinating memoir, enjoyable both for the author's emotional account of her struggles and for the cool technical details of her career.Iliana Regan is perhaps best known for her Michelin-st...

  • Ron

    Like Iliana Regan, I was raised a short hop off US 421 in northwest Indiana, in the middle of nowhere, with limited role models for who or what I might eventually become. We were 90 minutes or less fr...

  • Jess

    Regan’s upbringing is so interesting and I got a real sense of how the artist as chef was formed. Will return to this book later....

  • Dan Gibson

    This is culinary memoir (or memoir-ish) #4 of 2019, which isn't super surprising, I suppose, considering how much time I think about food at work (and let's face it, in life). Regan's struggle to deve...

  • Nicole

    "The best book i've read in a long ass time." — me, in a text just now to my friendsThis memoir was SO GOOD. Memoirs are so tricky. I can always tell when authors want to seem relatable, or self-de...