"Ambition, abandonment, revenge, the Napoleonic code, broken promises, gorillas, bad contracts, evil intentions, and lawsuits never-ending; they're all here in Randy Fertel's feast of a memoir, served with a healthy side of New Orleans history, and, for dessert, ville flottante! Balzac would be envious; Tennessee Williams would feel right at home."
-Valerie Martin, Orange Prize-winning author of Property and Mary Reilly
"A giant jambalaya of a book that throws into the pot a huge variety of ingredients that surprise, delight, burn the tongue, sear the heart, make you laugh until you cry--and beg for more. Randy Fertel's triumph, as a writer obsessed with history, is to have turned the story of his own disastrous family into the story of the city itself, and of its survival."
-Betty Fussell, James Beard Foundation Award-winner and author of Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef
"Funny, smart, poignant, and richly redolent of New Orleans, Randy Fertel's The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak is a brilliant memoir by a very talented writer indeed."
-Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"His mother was the 'first lady of American restaurants.' His father was 'odd, self-centered, and nuts.' Randy Fertel leverages a raucous New Orleans upbringing, in which Salvador Dali and Edwin Edwards play bit parts, to tell the story of an uncommon American family, defined, in equal measure, by bold swagger and humbling vulnerabilities."
-John T. Edge, series editor of Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing
"Lots of New Orleans history in this family story, which is wilder than the gorillas and almost as juicy as the steaks."
--Roy Blount Jr., author, Feet on the Street: Rambles around New Orleans
"A vivid, engrossing evocation of New Orleans, an exceptional city, in part because of characters like Randy Fertel's parents, Ruth and Rodney, the Empress of Steak and the Gorilla Man. A wonderful reading experience."
-Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
"Randy Fertel's soulful southern storytelling captures you instantly. I love how he uses the lens of family and food to tell the rich, complex history of New Orleans."
-Alice Waters, founder, Chez Panisse Restaurant
This is a well written story of a great lady revealing her struggles and accomplishments and documenting her development of singularly branded and recognized worldwide business... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ely Hurwitz
I knew Rodney Fertel for the last three or four years of his life. He was eccentric and a bit left of center. Read morePublished 9 months ago by DiLaughing
Very enjoyable for a fan of New Orleans and/or of Ruth's Chris.Published 11 months ago by Roger Neustadter
Randy Fertel has penned this history of his family, in particular, of his two unique, divorced, and flawed parents. The earlier generations of family are unusual cases, too. Read morePublished 15 months ago by W. A. Greene
This book could have been really interesting, but the author spent too much time feeling sorry for himself and eventually you just stop trusting himPublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
I choose 4 stars only because I knew the majority of the story.
Mr. Fertel, did indeed have a dysfunctional family. Read more
The writer was very knowledgeable about the subject matter.
This was both an easy read and very informative.
WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A BEER WITH MR.. Read more
And not nearly as interesting of a biography of Ruth herself. I hadn't previously thought that there could be ever be too much uninteresting detail about New Orleans. Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by jacqueline e post
The book was well written and very entertaining. It was chosen for my book club and Randy Fertel joined us for a discussion of the book. It was very enjoyable. Read morePublished on November 24, 2012 by Gramma dee