Author(s): Michael Steinberger
France is in a rut, and so is French cuisine. Twenty-five years ago it was hard to have a bad meal in France; now, in some cities and towns, it is a challenge to find even a decent baguette. For the first time in the annals of modern cuisine, the most influential chefs and the most talked-about restaurants are not French. Large segments of the French wine industry are in crisis, cherished artisanal cheeses are threatened with extinction, and bistros and brasseries are disappearing at an alarming rate. But business is brisk at some establishments: astonishingly, France has become the second most-profitable market in the world for McDonald's. How did this happen, and what is being done to reverse France's slide? Michael Steinberger argues that the problem of French cuisine is symptomatic of the broader malaise afflicting France, and his brilliantly reported narrative is set in the context of the political, economic and social crisis that besets the nation. In an enviable trip through the traditional pleasures of France, Steinberger talks to top chefs-Ducasse, Gagnaire, Bocuse-winemakers, farmers, bakers and other artisans.
He marches down a Paris boulevard with Jose Bove, interviews the head of McDonald's Europe and breaks bread with the editorial director of the powerful and secretive Michelin Guide. He spends hours with some of France's brightest young chefs, who are battling to reinvigorate the country's rich culinary heritage. Throughout, Steinberger remains an unabashed and steadfast Francophile, and his own sharp and funny reflections bring empathy to this striking portrait of a cuisine and a country in transition.
This will stir debate amongst high-profile British chefs influenced by French cuisine: Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, who Steinberger will interview. Despite being written by an American author, this book will also have a British focus, contrasting the British food scene with the French. He will interview British-based chefs such as MICHEL ROUX and RAYMOND BLANC. FAST FOOD NATION meets A YEAR IN THE MERDE
'Au Revoir to All That is a fascinating and knowledgeable valediction to the greatest food and wine culture the world has ever known. Michael Steinberger is a great gourmand and a great storyteller, and he will make you care about the fate of camembert and other endangered traditions' Jay McInerney
Michael Steinberger is Slate's wine writer, a regular contributor to Saveur and the sports correspondent and frequent food and wine contributor for the Financial Times. A passionate Francophile, he has travelled and written extensively about French food and wine.