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Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque. Hardcover – 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; First Printing edition (2004)
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,254,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bill Marsano on June 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
By Bill Marsano. Can you see yourself reading a couple of hundred pages about the nation's best-known restaurant and restaurateur? Yes, it's all a form of glorified gossip, but if you're interested in the food world and a ton of big names for lagniappe, then you will have a lot of fun here.
Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque is a pretty good story-teller to begin with and he has the able assistance of Peter J. Elliott. The two combine in the early chapters to give an affecting account of Sirio's early life in wartime and postwar Italy ("we lived, we farmed, we got arrested") and then move neatly into his years of building a career, enslaving himself on passenger liners on the high seas and tony restaurants in Paris, New York and elsewhere.
Once he gets to Manhattan things begin to pop and the only fair thing to do is set down some of the notables who talk and/or are talked about in these pages. Stars? Siro's got 'em": Yves Montand, Lauren Bacall, The Burtons ("they came--but just to fight"), the Windsors, Sinatra, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford. Peter Duchin, Claudette Colbert, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren--my what a bunch of clods our present-day stars seem to be by comparison (Britney? J.Lo? Please!). Amonmg princes and politicos there are the Reagans, Nixon, Ford, most Kennedys, Juan Carlos of Spain, King Umberto of Italy, Ferdinand Marcos, Anastasio Somoza, Princess Grace . . . Glitterati: Mrs. Wm. F. Buckley, Babe Paley, Jackie O., Lee Radziwill. Writers: Colman Andrews, James Villas, Michael Batterberry, Truman Capote, Leonard Lyons, Cindy Adams, Liz Smith, Gael Greene, Bryan Miller, Craig Claiborne, Pierre Franey, Julia Child. And more. Many more.
Ho-hum is what I thought when I picked this up, but it proved me wrong. It's fun.--Bill Marsano is a professional writer and editor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. Elliot on August 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
To ZYBYSKO aka Tibet. Nowhere in the book did I even mention the original owner of Lutece, so I'm not sure how you can accuse me of not getting his name right. I never said Mr. Jacobs was a refugee. I write clearly that he had a successful and honored career helping refugees. I have his partners and friends, on record, in the book, giving their opinions of him. Alsace and its surrounding areas are some of the most important ski areas in Europe and the story in question happens in the New York, not in Europe. The restaurants I mention as being family owned, of course, were and are. What other definition would one give for restaurants that are solely owned by a husband and wife. And lastly, Mr. Maccioni when he created Le Cirque, never dreamed he would have restaurants elsewhere in the world.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "nycoperafanatic" on July 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
... so "Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque" does for the culinary biography.
Part biography of a food maestro, part chronicle of a celebrated restaurant, part food fable, part window onto American aristocratic society, "Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque" is a must-read for cognoscenti of all flavors. For cuisine fiends and the people who love them (like myself), chillin with restauranteur Sirio Maccioni is immensely more enjoyable than chillin creme brulee .... trust me.
"Sirio..."'s recipe for success contains merely two ingredients: a darn good story + a darn good presentation. The darn good story is a "ragazzo" to riches tale that goes from Mussolini's italy to Giuliani's NYC, with some glamorous stops along the way. Of course, Sirio Maccioni's life IS le Cirque and his climb to the top of FoodWorld's Mount Everest makes this book a page-turner.
"Sirio..."'s unique presentation also helps make the book a winner. Sirio's grandfatherly stream-of-consciousness recollections are surrounded by a bed of traditional biography (authored by Bloomberg food critic Peter Elliot in an easily digestible pithy style).All this is then smothered with a layer of baroque recipes that will have your lips smackin' for 400+ pages. The continual interspersing of Sirio, Elliot, and the recipes is rarely jarring and the stylistic flip-flopping keeps the narrative lively and the reader interested.
Using the formula that made le Cirque, the restaurant, a success... exceptional food served with flair... le Cirque the book, is a feast for lovers of food, biography, or society. Thankfully, for us all, no reservations are needed to get this Dish served up tastefully. Bon Appetit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William H. Addeo on January 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If this isn't a story about small town boy does good, I don't know what is. I read the book while touring Tuscany, which made it even more special. If you love good food and have an appreciation for what it takes to run a restaurant, then you will love this book. Sirio is truly the ringmaster of the greatest show on earth. The restaurant business either makes you a better person or it gobbles you up and spits you out. Every night is showtime and the next person through the door is your biggest fan or your worst critic. Nobody knows that better than Sirio Maccioni and in the Tuscan hillsides he is practically a national treasure. It seems everybody knows Sirio, or wants to know him and for good reason. Italians love food and they love people. Sirio knows both better than anyone and he has given himself up to a life of entertaining others. Believe it or not, that is a huge sacrifice. Yes, he gets enjoyment from seeing others enjoy themselves but that often comes with huge personal sacrifices and tons of self discipline. He is the best and he gives people the inspiration to be their very best. The restaurant business is unlike any other. From waiters to chefs to busboys and bartenders, every night is showtime and if you put on a sour face you turn off the crowd and crash in a flaming ball of fire.

This is not a cookbook, it is a documentary. It is one of the best stories I have ever read about life, living and the pursuit of happiness. This book is about making yourself a better person and how to succeed in one of the toughest businesses in the world. I read a book a week and I don't believe in negative reviews. If you don't have something good to say, don't say it. I have read this book twice and I can't remember doing that very often.
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