Now in paperback: the beloved Lee Brothers take on the wild, competitive world of high-end catering, exposing secrets of the food business that no home cook or restaurant chef has experienced.
Hotbox reveals the real-life drama that takes place behind cavernous event spaces and soaring white tents, where cooking conditions have more in common with a mobile army hospital than a restaurant (think M*A*S*H instead of Top Chef) and clients tend to be highly emotional and demanding (think mother-of-the-bride).
The Lee brothers, known for their hip take on Southern cooking, steeped themselves in the culture of catering for four years, getting to know the business from the inside out. It’s a realm where you find eccentric characters, working in extreme conditions under insane stress, who must produce magical events and instantly adapt when, for instance, the host’s toast runs for a full hour or a hail storm suddenly erupts.
Working undercover at a catering firm, the Lee brothers take you from black-tie galas to celebrity-filled Hamptons cookouts, investigating the outer reaches of the industries that make the galas happen, such as an industrial park in New Jersey, where a party rental company’s warehouse flashes to life every day at three a.m. with the arrival of the silverware crew.
They also introduce you to the incredible DeSoto brothers, who pioneered hotbox cooking, and trace the history of catering back to when crepe parties were all the rage. You’ll never attend a party—or entertain on your own—in the same way after reading this book.
The Lee Bros. are the authors of several bestselling cookbooks: Charleston Kitchen, Southern Cookbook, and Simple Fresh Southern.
They have written for the New York Times, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, The New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, Saveur, and other publications, and have appeared on many TV shows, including Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and The Today Show.
They have won six James Beard and IACP Awards.