A frank and funny memoir of a successful New York restaurateur.
Distinctly Italian with a twist of Queens, Bastianich displays a palpable love of good Italian food and wine throughout his humorous reflections on how he became one of the best-known restaurant owners in New York City. From his early days as a dishwasher and busboy in his parents’ Italian restaurant (his mother is famed chef Lidia Bastianich), the author learned the basics of restaurant management—e.g., “your margins are three times your cost on everything”; “you have to appear to be generous, but you have to be inherently a cheap fuck to make it work”; “no bottle of wine costs more than five dollars to make.” After a stint in Wall Street and a wild time in Italy working in restaurants and vineyards, Bastianich returned to New York, unable to deny his “biological imperative.” Using the maxims his father had taught him, he launched his own restaurant, Becco, and from there the direction was only up. He and his business partner, Mario Batali, moved on to open many other prosperous Italian eateries, culminating in his part ownership of Del Posto, the only four-star Italian restaurant in America. Despite his liberal use of the f-bomb, the author’s easygoing voice and substantial knowledge of real Italian food (not the spaghetti-and-meatballs kind) will lure booklovers and food lovers alike. Oenophiles will appreciate Bastianich’s rich descriptions of the many Italian wines he recommends and his savant-like ability to recall and identify the tens of thousands of wines he has tasted since his childhood.
Engrossing details of being the front man in a variety of thriving restaurants.