Not simply an account of endless meals in high-end restaurants, it is an exploration of the cities and cultures in which they are found; the inevitable involvement of Russian mafia in Moscow's luxury post-soviet catering business, Tokyo's efforts to fuse ancient Asian culture with Western ideas, and the feverish cult of the Manhattan restaurant in a town which considers itself the most cosmopolitan in the world.
Part character-driven travelogue, part food critique, always sharp and often funny, this book is the result of Jay's lifelong campaign to find the perfect meal. Just don't read it if you're hungry.
©2008 Jay Rayner; (P)2008 WF Howes Ltd
"Better than the print version"
This is a fantastic example of the audio book being better than the print because you get to enjoy the author's passionate and enthusiastic narration of his story - his voyage of discovering on the world stage of gastronomy. This is as much about the people and the places as it is about the food and his sharply witty style puts them all into perspective. He even brings his family background and history into it, Woody Allen style, as he contemplates the journey of the peasant food of Easter Europe through the gratuitously over-priced restaurants of Moscow to the gratuitoulsy over-filled sandwiches of the emigree New York deli.
I've throughly enjoyed every minute of this and would recommend it to anyone who likes eating out, people watching and travelling.
"Enjoyable for foodies"
You might think that 8 hours of a food critic talking about lavish meals he's eaten round the world might be hard to swallow, but, if you're interested in food it's an intriguing listen. The author, Rayner, writes in a lively style and reads his own words with panache. It's not just the meals that are interesting but also the cultural differences between, say, Dubai and Moscow and the authors experiences with the locals. Having for a time been a food guide inspector I sympathized with the author over disappointments one can get in some highly-rated restaurants and how price is not a reliable guide to quality.
"Fairly interesting but terrible production"
I downloaded this book as I won two places at a dinner hosted by Jay Rayner. I'm only up to chapter 4 so far but the stories aren't sufficiently well paced to hold my attention. I find the writing style rather too florid, with too many exaggerated analogies and overblown descriptions. This may work in the context of a newspaper review but in novel form the style quickly becomes repetitive and in this instance I think the form takes over from the content and gets in the way of telling some good stories.
I think this audio suffers from being badly produced, I suspect that Mr Rayner is an inexperienced reader and could have done with better direction to sound more genuine whilst keeping the pace of the book going.
That said, the stories themselves have some interesting snippets, I just wish that the book editor and the audio producer had given Mr Rayner the extra push to make this first class.
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