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The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner Hardcover – June 24, 2008
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Rayner lives out every foodie’s fantasy: to dine in the world’s best restaurants, wolfing down master chefs’ most prized products, quaffing the finest vintages, ordering the rarest and most expensive dishes menus can offer, luxuriating in sumptuous surroundings as staff hover solicitously. A London restaurant critic, Rayner documents the capital’s ascent from the culinary embarrassment of fish-and-chips to enthronement as one of the world’s gastronomic destinations. He jets to arid Las Vegas, where he finds just how eagerly chefs violate the currently sacred mantra of locally produced ingredients for the golden opportunity to grab tourist dollars. He finds similar intersections of greed and gluttony in Dubai and Moscow, where expense tends to measure quality. He caps his worldwide quest with a week of unabashed overeating in Paris, visiting both new and classic celebrated Parisian restaurants till even his estimable constitution buckles under the caloric load. --Mark Knoblauch
“Jay’s massive appetite for luxury items and his spectacular understanding of food, chefs, and dining combine to make this a hilarious and insightful journey into the world of restaurant meals. I may have been the bad seed at the root of this journey, but I take no credit whatsoever for his final realizations. I do wish he had invited me along though, for the great meals, for some sense of chef perspective, and to savor a couple of bottles of vintage Krug.”—Mario Batali
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In his quest for the best experience, Jay Rayner chooses six cities in the world - Las Vegas, Moscow, Dubai, Tokyo, New York, London, and Paris. Earlier, the restauranteurs were limited by geography. The geographical boundaries are not longer a challenge with globalization. As a result, the local celebrity restauranteurs have expanded to other parts of the world. Now, they can cater to food lovers in different parts of the world enabling them to enjoy the experience without traveling extensively from their home. The branching out has also brought fresh challenges. Earlier the restaurants used locally grown produce. Now these produce have to be flown in from other parts of the world. There are customizations in every part of the world to suit the local palate which brings down the quality of experience.
The book is about food and hence features it in abundance. The author warns the readers. The book will make you hungry. I agree with the author. After a few pages into the page, you are hungry. Added to this, Jay Rayner has a humorous way of writing that makes you laugh loudly forgetting the surroundings. But how much can you eat before you say no more. The book is like a good buffet. You devour it with energy and enthusiasm. Then the overload of food hits your brain. After this point, you can't take it anymore. The initial pace of the book slows down after a couple of chapters. Then the pace is sluggish. When it comes to Paris, we just want to get this over with.
The book is very funny initially and funny in bits and pieces from there. You may agree with the author in many of the observations made in the book. You can equate the book to a dinner with good starters followed by a bland main course and even blander dessert. Read at your peril. If you do not want to waste time, look at the funny quotes from Jay Rayner to save your time
I so enjoyed Jay Rayner's wit. And his indignation at the worst feasting and also his expressions of holy reverence for the best eating (which as he points out are products of the Chef's brain and talent; and has little to do with God, etc.) His family is a fascinating one and he relates stories of his early years that show the parents' indulgence for his native "bent" and unique personality. You may not want to read this volume in public; because there are passages where you will not be able to repress your instinctive orgiastic groans as he describes the best eating experiences -which might prove embarrassing in mixed company; and of course your snarls when he tells in detail how he was gypped - as he says, "robbed", at the hands of some famous names. He names names and every ingredient of every dish. You will work hard to plug in all descriptive references into your own "food tasting memory bank" so you can try to taste everything yourself. It is such fun.
I think it's exciting that he traveled to all venues throughout "the civilized world"; that is with directions to find the best food anywhere there are expense accounts and credit cards and references from the other Chefs, "workers in the fields". This is not about folks at home.
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