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Sunday, January 27, 2008

THE MAN WHO ATE THE WORLD: AROUND THE WORLD HIGH END STYLE WITH JAY RAYNER



A shameless plug for a friend today.

A few days ago, a proof of THE MAN WHO ATE THE WORLD by Jay Rayner plopped through the letterbox.

I would have been nice about it anyway, I am that sort of guy and I have had enough free meals from him. Fortunately, I don’t have to fake it as it is a very enjoyable read indeed and, although I had planned to look at it on my flight over to Bangkok, I finished it in a couple of days back home and left it sitting for HP to thumb through at his considerable leisure.

Unlike my own budget driven effort, which will be published in May 2009, Jay’s trip around the globe involves visits to high-end restaurants in Moscow, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Las Vegas and London where he is fed by some of the world’s great chefs at restaurants where a meal could cost the equivalent of a monthly mortgage payment.

It makes me feel a lot better as I sit in a small, windowless room in my cheap guesthouse in Bangkok pondering on tomorrow’s budget of $25 for the day that, despite the cost and even with the help of PR companies around the world, Jay was still subjected to some truly dreadful meals and bizarre company. From a World Poker champion who wonders what the odds are on dying from eating Fugu to the irrepressible Steve Plotniki, founder of Opinionated About Food, who takes him on a tasting tour of NY’s top restaurants.

The book is as much about the characters he encounters as the food.

It is very funny in the right places and chapters on Moscow and Tokyo particularly stand out. However, it is when Jay interweaves the stories of growing up with his celebrity mother and sometime TV chef, Claire, that you begin to see where his obsession with food came from. His attempts to recreate a childhood meal, at a much faded Joe Allen’s, with his own kids particularly made me smile.

It’s a fun read and a useful insight into the mind of a man who has been doing this professionally for nearly ten years.

Well worth picking up a copy when it is published by Headline on April 3rd

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