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Restaurant Man Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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— Anthony Bourdain
“In Restaurant Man…Joe Bastianich has served up a very smart insider’s take on the New York City culinary scene as only and erudite and successful member of the secret society can do. The subtext of this love letter to the memory of his father is in itself a magnificent stand-alone dissertation. Joe pulls no punches and tells it exactly like it is in a way that punctuates the many oddities with brilliant black humor and scene-of-the-crime, matter-of-fact perspective. Restaurant Man will resonate with anyone who has come in contact with the world of food, entertainment, and wine or the cottage industry of scripted reality television it has spawned.”
— Mario Batali
“[Restaurant Man is a] rambunctious memoir….Mr. Bastianich writes in a vigorous, swaggering style….a cross between Anthony Bourdain and Holden Caulfield.”
— Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal
“Enthralling…. Funny, often surprising, and if anything, illuminating.”
— The New York Observer
“A fascinating, brutally candid look at the realities of operating your own eatery.” — People
“Compulsory reading for anyone who dreams of someday opening an eatery….The lessons [Joe] Bastianich has to offer are important and fundamental.”
— Russ Parsons, LATimes.com
“[Restaurant Man is] a wild ride that ends with a richer, happier, healthier man amazed at his survival, emotionally reconciled with his past and committed to nurturing his family and his culinary legacy.”
— Wine Spectator
“[A] darkly humorous and gossipy memoir…[Joe Bastianich’s writing style] is reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential; Medium Raw) and covers some of the same territory.”
— Library Journal
“Joe Bastianich tells it like it is….Restaurant Man is a brutally honest account of his rise from self-proclaimed Queens “punk” to a James Beard-winning restaurateur….[Restaurant Man] serves as an education—and a warning—to anyone who is thinking of entering the restaurant business.”
— The New York Daily News
“[Restaurant Man] is a raw, throbbing nerve of a biography: if [Joe] Bastianich has any intellectual filters, he checks them at the door here, and Restaurant Man is the beter for it….This is the Some Girls of restaurant memoirs.”
“[Restaurant Man] is a combination of homage to food and wine, and tutelage on owning and managing restaurants….Restaurant Man serves as an education to anyone wanting to enter the restaurant business”
“[Restaurant Man is a] salty, rollicking memoir….[Joe Bastianich’s] forthrightness about the business nitty-gritty and his own failures and mistakes are bonus takeaways along the utterly readable way.”
— Publishers Weekly
“[Joe Bastianich’s] easygoing voice and substantial knowledge of real Italian food (not the spaghetti-and-meatballs kind) will lure booklovers and food lovers alike…. Engrossing details of being the front man in a variety of thriving restaurants.”
“Joe Bastianich paints a refreshingly honest picture of what it takes for a restaurant to not just create an impeccable dining experience, but also turn a decent profit…. An entertaining read, a blend of heartfelt family history, practical advice, and insider stories.”
“One thing is for certain, after reading this book you look at your next restaurant visit in a different light.”
— Palm Beach Daily News
“[Restaurant Man] is full of frank, personal revelations…but it’s also an eye-popping industry expose.”
“A fascinating look at the nuts and bolts of running successful restaurants…. Offering tantalizing and deeply personal behind the scenes [sic] information about pricing, menu development, wines, hiring and firing.”
“[Joe] Bastianich’s Restaurant Man rightfully sits alongside Anthony Bourdain’s seminal Kitchen Confidential, pulling readers into the complex inner workings of the restaurant industry…. It’s compulsively readable…. Unabashedly dishy.”
“An insight into the restaurant business that few offer in this way.... Read this book and you will never look at a restaurant the same way again. You will have a new and broader appreciation for what it takes to make the experience for you and what it costs to do it right…. Four stars.”
— The Opelika-Auburn News
“A fantastic memoir…. Brutally honest, and one of the best memoirs of its kind since Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.”
— The BookReport
About the Author
Amazon's editors selected this title as a Best Book of the Month in biography & memoir. See our current Editors' Picks.
Top Customer Reviews
Upped my review to two stars from one because I did read the whole book, in appalled fascination about what self-congratulatory nonsense he'd come up with next. Shook my head at his description of Eataly as some sort of common man's piazza (at those prices? please), open-mouthed at his utter inability to admit failure (his bad restaurants were just ahead of their time - the ideas and food were always good, it was the customers that failed to comprehend the genius). And get comfortable for the long smug passages about his wine knowledge, wine brilliance, wine intelligence, infallible palate and memory for wine - you'll be reading for a while.
Perhaps the best way to read this book would be to start at the end, where Bastianich writes of his children, who he clearly loves. He worries that they will never discover the ability to find their way in the world without relying on the family connections he has cultivated in the food industry or the wealth he has built and speaks of, perhaps excessively. He worries that they might never be able to start from scratch, with no help from others, as he did. If the reader then starts at the beginning of the book, where Bastianich details learning from his parents and then exploiting their food and wine industry connections in order to wander aimlessly in Europe as the indulged son of a successful mother, you realize the level of delusion of this "self-made" man. There's no doubting he has worked hard to achieve the success that brought the contract for this book but I'm certain there wouldn't be such a long list of restaurants to his credit without Lydia Bastianich and Mario Batali out in front, being much more likable than the Joe Bastianich presented in these pages.
The contradictions of being Joe Bastianich are legion. He seems to hold a disdain for celebrity chefs while his career seems to exist primarily because of two of them.Read more ›
However...and this is a big however....Bastianich's ego, snobbery and fondess for swearing made only about 10% of this book worth reading.
And after reading the following, I felt very sorry for his wife: "What's the worst that could happen? You drink a bottle of wine that you don't fall in love with? You can 'F-Bomb' a lot of broads before you buy a diamond ring." Very nice. That attitude must really give his wife the warm and fuzzies.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The propulsive narrative style is highly compelling. The language is consistently rough, but it is an essential part of Bastianich's voice as a writer--and, one imagines, of his... Read morePublished 7 days ago by F. Paul Driscoll
A fabulous read.... I laughed out loud in public as I read Joe's book because he writes like he talks... Joe has done it all....You won't be able to put the book down.Published 2 months ago by I Love Dogs
-So glad Mr. Bastianich agreed to share his journey and perspective..How fascinating and how hilarious!Published 5 months ago by seashore
Fun, fast-moving memoir with enough humor, practical information, life advice, and industry gossip to appeal to most people who love dining out. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. Kuban
Great insight to the restaurant world, as well as Joe's companies and life.Published 8 months ago by Brandon Presley
Very interesting and informational! Too much profanity for my taste. 5 stars without the profanityPublished 9 months ago by Teresa C.