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Phaidon's Christmas gift guide: not for boring old arts

Inspire someone this Christmas with The Art of the Restaurateur by Nicholas Lander

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Financial Times Restaurant Critic Nicholas Lander has worked on both sides of the swing doors, having run L'Escargot in Soho in the 1980s. In this, his first book, he looks at the world of restaurants from the point of view of the owner, rather than the diner. Taking in a range of food outlets, from the Michelin starred elite to fast food cafés and cosy bistros, Lander trawls a host of anecdotes, tales and tips, all of which amount to an indispensable guide as to how to create and run a successful restaurant, from seeking out locations to taking orders to side dish policy. 

There are downsides to the trade – Danny Meyer, upon opening Blue Smoke, ruefully realising that New Yorkers do not take kindly to being told how to cook barbecue, for example. However, it is heartening to learn that those who get it right do so not at the expense of the customer but by looking after them with a true passion for their chosen field. Tellingly, Drew Nieporent named his restaurant group “Myriad” because “restaurants involve myriad decisions that know no boundaries. And that is the joy of it all.”  In fine restaurateur spirit, Lander caters superbly to the reader with his unpretentious and engaging literary manner and well-spiced prose. Anyone who enjoys eating will enjoy this book. Flick through our gallery of images above then buy it in the shop now.


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