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Dining Out:
A snapshot of the process on either side of the kitchen door.

Dining Out:
Secrets from America's Leading Critics, Chefs and Restaurateurs

by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page
Paperback - 400 pages (October 1998)
John Wiley & Sons (T); ISBN: 047129277X
Dimensions (in inches): 0.94 x 9.12 x 7.45
List Price: $29.95 Our estimated Price: $19.16 Order this Book
Publishers Weekly: Anybody who has ever dreamed of joining a restaurant critic's inner circle will thoroughly enjoy this gossipy, insider's view by the 1996 winners of the James Beard Book Award for Best Writing on Food (Becoming a Chef).
Interviews with leading critics and restaurateurs are a major part of the authors' investigation into the methods employed by critics and the effect they have on restaurateurs' culinary ideals. It's a (relatively) serious topic, but one Dornenburg and Page address in a vibrant, conversational tone. Thanks to the unexpectedly dramatic lives of the characters involved, the pages buzz with often surprising tension, humor, and emotion.
Readers hear from restaurateurs who have staked fortunes on a creative vision, only to find that success often rests in the hands of a single, highly-opinionated, sometimes unpredictable writer. The critics meanwhile (most notably The New York Times' Ruth Reichl, teasingly shown on the cover wearing a face-obscuring hat), don wigs to maintain anonymity, fend off attacks from knife-wielding chefs, and eat such dubious delicacies as braised goat penis and worms fried in lard. After being regaled with so many tart and entertaining observations, the final 100 service-oriented pages (Internet review sites, critics' favorite restaurants in selected cities) are somewhat anti-climactic. But just treat them like the after-dinner mint and the rest of the meal will get high marks for its appealing presentation, spice and color. 50 photos.

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