A rich, lively book about the upheaval in French gastronomy, set against the backdrop of France’s diminished fortunes as a nation. 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 a good one. For the first time in the annals of modern cooking, the most influential chefs and the most talked-about restaurants in the world 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: Amazingly, France has become the second-most-profitable market in the world for McDonald’s.
How did this happen? To find out, Michael Steinberger takes an enviable trip through the traditional pleasures of France. He talks to top chefs—Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse, Pascal Barbot—as well as winemakers, bakers, and other artisans. He interviews the head of McDonald’s Europe, marches down a Paris boulevard with radical farmer-turned-presidential candidate José Bové, 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 gastronomic heritage. The result is a sharp and funny book that will give Francophiles everywhere an entirely new perspective—political, economic, personal, and cultural—on the country and cuisine they love.
“Au Revoir to All That is a fascinating and knowledgeable valedictory 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, author of A Hedonist in the Cellar
“One of the greatest books I’ve read.”—Marco Pierre White
“For anyone who cares about food, wine, or France… Au Revoir To All That is required reading.”—Food & Wine
“A culinary expedition through France hunting for the root of the slow decline of the country’s acclaimed food and wine traditions… Steinberger’s meticulous research and personal hunger for objective truths bring surprising discoveries to light… connected to the larger issue of who or what defines modern France and, by extension, its food. An offering of fresh and engaging insights for foodies and Francophiles alike.”—Kirkus Reviews