Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely palatable, 31 May 2010
This review is from: The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner (Paperback)
I love food but I'm no foodie. Stiff, starched Michelin-starred restaurants are my idea of hell - as they are Rayner's wife's - so the author's globe-trotting in search of the perfect meal, involving some of the world's most expensive and exclusive restaurants, appealed only as an ideally entertaining read. Most readers couldn't afford these meals, if they were even deemed worthy of a table in the first place.
Initially I had admired his honesty, stating why he went for this kind of food snobbery, when others might find it distasteful - he stuck with his guns. But as his journeys continued the veneer of reason began to fade and the hedonism became ugly. Rayner goes on a Michelin-nosh one-night crawl in New York with an uber-rich author of a foodie blog. At one point, a waiter who has the temerity to be unaware of their magnificent plan, and who tries to offer them "cocktails and menus" - as if they'd need menus! - is "got rid of". It left a nasty taste in my mouth, as did their celebrations when meals were declared 'on the house'.
Increasingly the author dreams up gimmicky plans - the NY crawl, seven three-star restaurants in as many days in Paris - to avoid this feeling like a sequence of reviews, and a sense of gluttony creeps in. I went off Rayner. (As for the reviews on the cover - 'Laugh-out-loud funny' and 'Often hilarious' - I'm afraid my lips failed to curl upwards once, but then humour is so subjective.)
On the positive side, I did make it to the end, purely on the strength of the author's way with words. Were he to invite me out for a Michelin meal, even if he picked up the bill, I'd have to pass. Admittedly the invitation seems unlikely.
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