Tracing its earliest incarnations in the city of Pompeii, where Sitwell is stunned by the sophistication of the dining scene, this is a romp through history as we meet the characters and discover the events that shape the way we eat today. Sitwell, restaurant critic for The Telegraph and famous for his acerbic criticisms on the hit BBC show MasterChef, tackles this enormous subject with his typical wit and precision. He spies influences from an ancient traveller of the Muslim world, revels in the unintended consequences for nascent fine dining of the French Revolution, reveals in full hideous glory the post-Second World War dining scene in the UK and fathoms the birth of sensitive gastronomy in the US counterculture of the 1960s.
This is a story of the ingenuity of the human race as individuals endeavour to do that most fundamental of things: to feed people. It is a story of art, politics, revolution, desperate need and decadent pleasure. Sitwell, a familiar face in the UK and a figure known for the controversy he attracts, provides anyone who loves to dine out, or who loves history, or who simply loves a good read with an accessible and humorous history. The Restaurant is jam-packed with extraordinary facts; a book to read eagerly from start to finish or to spend glorious moments dipping in to.
It may be William Sitwell’s History of Eating Out, but it’s also the definitive story of one of the cornerstones of our culture.
William Sitwell is one of Britain’s foremost food writers, critics, and broadcasters. The multi-award-winning editor of Waitrose Kitchen magazine for over a decade, he is a familiar face on TV appearing on shows such as BBC’s Masterchef, Food & Drink, and as presenter on a number of documentaries, notably Michelin Stars: the Madness of Perfection.