How does a nice Italian boy from Queens turn his passion for food and wine into a nationwide empire? In his intrepid, irreverent, and terrifically entertaining memoir, Restaurant Man, Joe Bastianich charts his remarkable culinary journey from his parents’ neighborhood eatery to becoming one of the country’s most successful restaurateurs, along with his superstar chef partners - his mother, Lidia Bastianich, and Mario Batali.
Joe first learned the ropes of the restaurant business from his father, Felice Bastianich, the original Restaurant Man, the ultrapragmatic and sharp-eyed owner of a popular red-sauce joint. But years of cleaning chickens and other kitchen drudgery convinced Joe that his destiny lay elsewhere. After a year on Wall Street, however, he realized that his love of food was by now too deeply ingrained, and after buying a one-way ticket to Italy, he spent over a year working in restaurants and vineyards there, developing his own taste and learning everything he could about Italian cuisine.
Upon his return to New York, he partnered with his mother to open Becco and soon after joined forces with Mario Batali, an alliance that not only created a string of critically acclaimed and popular restaurants but redefined Italian food in America.
Restaurant Man is not only a compelling ragù-to-riches chronicle but a look behind the scenes at what it really takes to run a restaurant in New York City, the most demanding, fickle, and passionate market in America, from dealing with shady vendors, avaricious landlords, and vitriolic food critics, to day-to-day issues like the cost of linens (“the number-one evil”) and bread and butter.
Writing vividly in an authentic New York style that is equal parts rock ’n’ roll and hard-ass, bottom-line business reality, Joe shares lessons learned from a lifetime spent in restaurants (“Anything you give away for free is bad”), while recounting the stories of his own establishments - including how Del Posto managed to overcome a menu that was initially so ambitious that it could not be executed, to ultimately become the only four-star Italian restaurant in America.
Joe speaks frankly about friends and foes, but at the heart of the book is the mythical hero Restaurant Man, the old-school, blue-collar guy who stays true to the real secret of his success - watching costs but ferociously dedicating himself to exceeding his customers’ expectations and delivering the best dining experience in the world.
©2012 Joe Bastianich (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
This is one of the better audio books I have listened to - in no small part to the voice and style of Joe. While I love dining out - I have never watched the Food Channel or any of the reality shows centered on these celebrity and/or tyrannical chefs.So, I wasn't sure how much I would connect with the story. I could not have been more wrong. It worked on so many levels. It was a classic "immigrant family makes good" story (which I could relate to because I saw my father in so many of his recollections of his dad). It was a terrific business book since he went into some detail about the metrics that underly his business - and more importantly, how an owner needs to stay in touch with those metrics to thrive. It is also a story of family, heritage, passion and values. Joe speaks very candidly about that which of which he is very proud - but also lets us in on some of his less stellar moments. Also - be prepared for a lot of very colorful language ... but his edge is actually quite endearing.I can never sit in a restaurant again without feeling that I have a more visceral connection with whatever "Restaurant Man" owns that establishment!
An autobiography that leaves you liking the guy less than when you started! An ego so outsized that it is laughable. Lets see--he invented the everything bagel and then every new format of Italian dining in NYC for the last 20 years. And, it appears he did it all himself. Sure there were others involved but gives them minor credit. Even his mother. She helped him most by "stepping back". The proof of this inflated ego trip is that he decided he was the best narrator for the material. Except, he can't read his own words. Halting and slow delivery--kind of like handing a book to a middle schooler and pressing record. And he likes to curse to make a point, any point.
The positives? Well, if you are planning on opening a restaurant in NYC there are prob a few useful tips.
If you think you might like him from Master Chef this book will prove you wrong.
NO, if i want to learn something about restaurants..
He focuses too much on himself
The bigenning was good..but after a while it went down hill....very dissappointing
Yes. It was very enjoyable to listen to.
The way he wrote and spoke sounds like the way he would actually talk in real life when telling a story.
Two things: the fact that Joe narrates and how he goes through the restaurant business model in just two pages with a very simple "this is how it has to be".
Well... Joe, even if I found the narcoleptic chef quite endearing.
His epic trip to Rome. As a Roman, I can vouch for his description as being absolutely authentic. Loved it.
It made me miss my family in Italy.
Joe does a great job describing his Italian influences. Most of the times, when I consume american entertainment about Italy I end up cringing through the whole experience. Movies never seem to get words and accents right, and books make idiotic assumptions. Joe instead nails it in describing Italy with a total "no BS" attitude. I can only criticize very few of his enounciations (e.g. "Testaccio" is pronounced "Testach-cheo" not "Testakkyo") - but other than that, he's 5 stars authentic :)
Right up with the best.
Young Joe's summer trips to Italy.
A real treat for anyone who loves restaurant dining!
Although I have never dined in a B&B establishment (Batali and Bastianich), I enjoyed reading about Joe's creative vision for each of his restaurants and what makes them all so unique.
Some parts of the book were a bit over-the-top braggadocio and swagger and I could not help wondering how much of this he picked up from Mama and her own business model.
I would have added more personal stories and anedotes to the book like the Pope Benedict episode and adventures in Italy.
Joe Bastianich was the central character of this book. I never knew anything about his father until I listened to the book.
Yes.....break out and enjoy different foods.
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