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.

Author: Alexander Lobrano

Hardback Published 1 June 2021 256 pages

“A redoubtable restaurant critic and 30-year resident of Paris sets the table with an enticing menu of memories...Lobrano writes with mouthwatering elan, dash, and feeling.”Kirkus

“Lobrano’s story is inspiring, and his prose lush and inviting. Readers will savor every last page.”—Publishers Weekly

“Rest assured, there’s never a dull moment in My Place at the Table. It’s a veritable feast of humility, humor and emotion.”BookPage

“Like so many food-lovers, Alec Lobrano dreamed of a life in Paris. Unlike the rest of us, he made the dream come true. In this warm, delicious, and extremely candid book, he lets us in on all his secrets. Everyone who loves French food will want to read this memoir.” Ruth Reichl

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