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Lobrano, Alec

My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris

My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris

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In this debut memoir, a James Beard Award-winning writer, whose childhood idea of fine dining was Howard Johnson's, tells how he became one of Paris's most influential food critics.

Until Alec Lobrano landed a job in the glamorous Paris office of Women's Wear Daily, his main experience of French cuisine was the occasional supermarket éclair. An interview with the owner of a renowned cheese shop for his first article nearly proves a disaster because he speaks no French. As he goes on to cover celebrities and couturiers and improves his mastery of the language, he gradually learns what it means to be truly French. He attends a cocktail party with Yves St. Laurent and has dinner with Giorgio Armani. Over a superb lunch, it's his landlady who ultimately provides him with a lasting touchstone for how to judge food: "you must understand the intentions of the cook." At the city's brasseries and bistros, he discovers real French cooking. Through a series of vivid encounters with culinary figures from Paul Bocuse to Julia Child to Ruth Reichl, Lobrano hones his palate and finds his voice. Soon the timid boy from Connecticut is at the epicenter of the Parisian dining revolution and the restaurant critic of one of the largest newspapers in the France.

A mouthwatering testament to the healing power of food, My Place at the Table is a moving coming-of-age story of how a gay man emerges from a wounding childhood, discovers himself, and finds love. Published here for the first time is Lobrano's "little black book," an insider's guide to his thirty all-time-favorite Paris restaurants.

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From Chef Scott

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"My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris" is an enchanting and deeply personal memoir that takes readers on a delightful culinary journey through the heart of Paris. This book is much more than a memoir; it's a vivid portrayal of a life immersed in the world of gastronomy, offering a unique glimpse into the Parisian food scene through the eyes of someone who has become an integral part of it. The memoir beautifully chronicles the author’s journey from a wide-eyed newcomer to an established food critic in Paris, one of the world’s culinary capitals. The narrative is rich and engaging, filled with colorful descriptions of the author's experiences in the bustling Parisian food world. From bustling bistros and elegant restaurants to hidden cafes and lively markets, the book transports readers to the iconic culinary landmarks of Paris. What makes "My Place at the Table" particularly compelling is the author’s passion for food and his ability to convey the flavors, aromas, and textures of the dishes he encounters. The memoir is peppered with mouthwatering descriptions of French cuisine and insightful reflections on the art of cooking and dining. The author’s love for food is palpable on every page, making the book a delightful read for anyone who cherishes the joy of eating and the adventure of discovering new flavors. The book also offers an insider's look at the often-intense world of food criticism and the culinary industry in Paris. The author shares his experiences navigating the complexities of this world, from the challenges of establishing himself in a new city to the exhilarating moments of culinary discovery and recognition. His journey is one of resilience, passion, and a deep appreciation for the rich culinary heritage of France. "My Place at the Table" is more than just a personal narrative; it's a celebration of Parisian culture and cuisine. The author's experiences dining in some of the city's most renowned establishments provide a fascinating perspective on the evolution of French cuisine and the ever-changing landscape of the Parisian food scene. The memoir is beautifully written, with a narrative that is both informative and poetic. The author’s storytelling skills shine as he weaves together personal anecdotes, culinary history, and cultural insights. The writing is evocative and immersive, inviting readers to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Paris alongside him. This book will enchant food lovers, travel enthusiasts, and anyone who dreams of a life filled with culinary adventures. This memoir is not just about food; it’s about finding one's place in the world and the transformative power of following one's passions.