A hilarious series of culinary adventures from GQ's award-winning food critic, ranging from flunking out of the Paul Bocuse school in Lyon to dining and whining with Sharon Stone.
Alan Richman has dined in more unlikely locations and devoured more tasting menus than any other restaurant critic alive. He has reviewed restaurants in almost every Communist country (China, Vietnam, Cuba, East Germany) and has recklessly indulged his enduring passion for eight-course dinners (plus cheese). All of this attests to his herculean constitution, and to his dedication to food writing.
In Fork It Over, the eight-time winner of the James Beard Award retraces decades of culinary adventuring. In one episode, he reviews a Chicago restaurant owned and operated by Louis Farrakhan (not known to be a fan of Jewish restaurant critics) and completes the assignment by sneaking into services at the Nation of Islam mosque, where no whites are allowed. In Cuba, he defies government regulations by interviewing starving political dissidents, and then he rewards himself with a lobster lunch at the most expensive restaurant in Havana. He chiffonades his way to a failing grade at the Paul Bocuse school in Lyon, politely endures Sharon Stone's notions of fine dining, and explains why you can't get a good meal in Boston, spurred on by the reckless passion for food that made him "the only soldier he knows who gained weight while in Vietnam" and carried him from his neighborhood burger joint to Le Bernardin.
Alan Richman, once described as the "Indiana Jones of food writers," has won more major awards than any other food writer alive, including a National Magazine Award, eight James Beard Awards for restaurant reviewing, and two James Beard M.F.K. Fisher distinguished writing awards.
The all new cover will emphasize Richman's globetrotting persona and attract a wide audience
As GQ's longtime food critic and an 11-time James Beard Award winner, Richman has eaten a lot of fancy food. But the best essays in this collection--culled mainly from his work for magazines--don't speak of foie gras or truffles. The accounts of Richman's escapades eating at places like Alain Ducasse's three Michelin-starred Le Louis XV, and even his reminiscences of meals at dives like the Pantry in Los Angeles, become repetitive when grouped together. The two standouts are the essays about Richman's parents. In"A Mother's Knishes," he achieves the quasi-miraculous feat of finding something fresh to say about a food-crazed Jewish mother, in this case by recounting her loss of identity as she descends into senility and loses her culinary skills. The second, the hilarious"Miami Weiss," investigates the"Early Bird" tradition of South Florida. When the doors open at 5 p.m. at the Fort Lauderdale restaurant Fifteenth Street Fisheries, Richman writes,"It's a sort of Geriatric Olympics." The essays are arranged in menu-like fashion under such headings as"Appetizers,""Entrees," etc. The"Palate Cleansers" are unsatisfactory, brief pieces, with titles like"Ten Commandments for Diners," which come off as condescending. Also, Richman's attitude toward women is archaic to say the least ("she was a woman who knew how to eat like a man"), which may turn off a good number of readers. Agent, Kathy Robbins.