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Andy Hayler "prose_lover" (London England)
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The Cultivation of Taste: Chefs and the Organization of Fine Dining
The Cultivation of Taste: Chefs and the Organization of Fine Dining
by Christel Lane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £27.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Written, In-depth Look at the High End Restaurant Scene, 6 July 2014
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In contrast to the vast profusion of recipe books on the shelves, there are very few books written about restaurants themselves. Christel Lane is a Cambridge Professor of Economic Sociology who has written an in-depth book about the fine-dining scene of Britain and Germany (two similar sized countries, neither with much inherent fine-dining culture until recent years). She has conducted 40 in-depth interviews with Michelin starred chefs in both countries, and is able to draw on a rich vein of data from these as she discusses the pressures that chefs face and what motivates them, the economics of the fine-dining sector, the role of front-of house staff and suppliers, and the social and other factors driving high end cooking. Although the author is from an academic background, the book is easy to read and contains a wealth of interesting information and anecdotes about the restaurant scene. Her fluent writing style is combined with proper research, a refreshing change from much of what passes for journalism about the restaurant industry in the UK. The insights from chefs, and even from a separate interview of regular diners, are often enlightening, and I liked the way that she has noted outlying points of view expressed but always put these into a broader context . Anyone interested in the restaurant industry should read this book.


Belkin QODE Ultimate Bluetooth Keyboard Case with Autowake for iPad Air - Black
Belkin QODE Ultimate Bluetooth Keyboard Case with Autowake for iPad Air - Black
Price: £72.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Works exactly as advertised, 27 Jun 2014
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This case protects the iPad while allowing you a keyboard option for when you need to do some more serious typing. The three different magnet settings allow you to position the iPad angle as you wish, and the Bluetooth keyboard setup worked first time. I have been using it for some weeks now and find it very useful, as previously when I travelled with my iPad I found writing documents a little tedious using the in-built screen based keypad.


The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice (P.S. (Paperback))
The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice (P.S. (Paperback))
by Trevor Corson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and interesting, 28 April 2014
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I was a little concerned that this book would have an overly American slant, it being mostly set in a sushi school set up in California. However the author has done his research, had lived in Japan and speaks Japanese. The book alternates between telling the story of a class of students learning how to be sushi chefs in America, intertwined with general information about sushi, its history, etiquette and how it came to the US and has been adapted.

The writer has a fluent writing style, and there is a lot of background research that he and a team of three helpers have put in, which gives the book plenty of depth with regards to the more technical aspects of sushi and its role in Japan. As someone who has eaten quite a lot of sushi in Japan I certainly found plenty to learn from the book. It is remarkable just how much is involved in such a seemingly simple subject of some vinegared rice and (mostly) raw fish.


Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on Form, 9 April 2014
Michael Lewis, as a former Salomon Brothers bond trader, has a perspective on the financial markets that other journalists do not. He also writes fluently, and is skilled at taking complex and obscure subjects and explaining them clearly. Of his books, Liar's Poker and The Big Short are terrific, whereas Boomerang seemed to me as if it had been rushed out and rather lazily edited. Flash Boys marks a return to form, lucidly explaining the hidden world of high frequency trading, and vividly bringing to life the personalities of many of the key players involved in it. It raises very serious questions about the financial system today, as if even more of these were needed.


The Circle
The Circle
by Dave Eggers
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overly long, 6 April 2014
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This review is from: The Circle (Hardcover)
I liked the idea - overly powerful internet company starts to connect up all the personal data in the world with totalitarian consequences. The trouble is that it takes nearly 500 pages to elaborate on this. During this time almost nothing of narrative consequence happens: main character gets job, rises through ranks, becomes poster child for company, loses perspective. Fine, but surely some sort of, er, plot might have come in handy? I kept waiting for something to happen and then realised there were only a few pages left and that, no, nothing was actually going to transpire. Mr Eggers writes fluently enough although his heavy-handed metaphor of the fish tank seemed rather crass to me. The book badly needed a good editor.

A long novel when a short story or essay would have done the trick.


Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef
Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef
by Mark Schatzker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Meaty material, 5 Jan 2014
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This is a very enjoyable book, written by someone with a clear passion for his subject and who has a quite fluent writing style. The author travels to several countries noted for their steak and then buys and raises (and eats) his own cow back in Canada. It is essential reading if you are interested in beef. I am a bit surprised that he does mention Fassone beef in his chapter on Italy, which is certainly one of the highest regarded breeds there, and interesting in a number of ways. He does not visit Germany either, but these are minor quibbles. You are bound to pick up some interesting knowledge and new snippets if you read this book, even if you already know your fillet from your rib eye.


Joby GorillaPod Original Tripod for Compact Cameras and Pocket Camcorders - Charcoal
Joby GorillaPod Original Tripod for Compact Cameras and Pocket Camcorders - Charcoal
Price: £17.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very flexible and stable, 1 Dec 2013
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A really clever invention, this cheap device allows a tripod platform to be set up in a range of conditions, as the legs are extremely flexible yet stay in the shape they are placed, so there is no need for a level surface. The device fits in a pocket, so is ideal for situations where you do not have much space to carry equipment.


Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 7-Port Hub with 36W Power Adapter and 3ft USB 3.0 Cable [VIA VL812 Chipset]
Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 7-Port Hub with 36W Power Adapter and 3ft USB 3.0 Cable [VIA VL812 Chipset]
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: £49.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 10 Aug 2013
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This is a powered USB hub, so you need an electrical socket. I used this to replace an unpowered one, which I found only partially worked (some devices worked through it, others not). The device itself is neat and tidy, and gives you seven USD slots, which is ideal for my MacAir, which is distinctly light on slots.


British Gastronomy: Rise of Great Restaurants
British Gastronomy: Rise of Great Restaurants
by Gregory Houston Bowden
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for those interested in London restaurant history, 21 Jun 2013
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This book looks at the UK (but mainly London) restaurant scene up until 1975, with the bulk of the book devoted to the 20th century. There are some fascinating anecdotes and an interesting section on the history of Chinese restaurants in the UK; in retrospect it was a pity that a similar section on Indian food was not done. The author is clearly has a passion for food, and although some of his views may now seem a little dogmatic or dated by time, he clearly knows his stuff.


The Art of the Restaurateur
The Art of the Restaurateur
by Nicholas Lander
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.97

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book fills a welcome gap in the market, 9 Sep 2012
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These days there are endless books about celebrity chefs, to such an the extent that the public often forgets about the restaurateur, the person who actually sets up a restaurant, defines its vision and takes the financial risks. This book neatly fills this vacuum, with chapters on twenty successful restaurateurs from around the world, though with an understandable slight emphasis on the UK. Mr Lander is particularly well qualified to write such a book, as prior to his position as restaurant critic at the Financial Times he set up L'Escargot, an iconic Soho restaurant, in the 1980s. Indeed the opening chapter of the work, covering the early days of L'Escargot, is perhaps the most engaging of all, based as it is on first hand experience. There are one or two small quibbles; there are a few editing slips (e.g. the incorrect use of "disinterested" instead of "uninterested"), and I would have liked to have heard a little more about the failures as well as the successes. All but one of the restaurateurs featured has had to close at least one of their restaurants, and in many ways analysis of the reasons for such failures would be every bit as interesting as documenting their many successes. However these are minor niggles, as Mr Lander unveils some genuinely interesting stories as he interviews the very different restaurateurs in his book. Above all, his own passion for the business comes through strongly. This is a healthy balance to the glut of books about celebrity chefs, and well worth a read.


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