Food, Sex, Wine, and Cigars – A Memoir by Lisa Stalvey


As we began reading Lisa Stalvey’s book, Food, Sex, Wine, and Cigars—A Memoir, we were intrigued by the idea of what a world-renowned chef’s life was like. Stalvey shared how she had an apprenticeship under Wolfgang Puck and was hired by Paul Newman to create his Newman’s Own products, such as his famous salad dressings and steak sauce. Yet, as we read through Food, Sex, Wine and Cigars we quickly came to realize that it was difficult to follow Stalvey’s train of thought. She often jumps tracks from one idea to another and back again. Of course, her transparency with her unstable state of mind, during the period of time she focused on for this memoir, will either shock you or touch your heart. A powerful story of anorexia, mental health issues, and selfish behaviors jumps blatantly off page after page. Yet, there is an even deeper aspect to her story. Her challenges were not just physical and psychological. She faced a spiritual unhealthiness as well. She carries you through seven years of her life in this memoir showing you how it, her amazing career as a top-notch professional chef, all began.

Food, Sex, Wine, and Cigars—A Memoir is a book that may leave you feeling scattered and confused at times. Perhaps, you will wonder, as we did, why Lisa Stalvey included some of her recipes in the midst of her writing. Honestly, we were a bit put off by the sharing of a recipe entitled, Anorexic Breakfast. Yes, the recipes coincided with the story she was sharing at that point in the memoir, but they still felt out of place. What we liked most about Stalvey’s writing is how transparent and vulnerable she was. She appears to fully pull back the curtain and let you see just how all that she went through was part of a spiritual journey for her. Food, Sex, Wine and Cigars, though it could have used a bit more editing and re-organization, could very easily be an inspiration to others.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.