I have been excited and delighted by menus for over 40 years.
This fascination began as a neophyte finding my way round restaurants on a budget. During the 1980’s, as restaurateur in London’s Soho, I wrote, priced and edited the menus at my highly acclaimed L’Escargot restaurant where we were among the first to write menus in English and to change our menus with the seasons.
For the past 25 years I have been dissecting the menus of restaurants from around the world while writing the restaurant column for the Financial Times – and in the pre-internet days I often had to resort to stealing menus!
My first book, The Art Of The Restaurateur – profiles of 20 of the world’s most admirable restaurateurs from around the world – was published to great success by Phaidon in 2012 and was named a Book of The Year by The Economist. It has also, I appreciate, become a source of inspiration for many in the UK and the US setting out on a career in the hospitality business.
On The Menu will be a similar source of pleasure for everyone who enjoys restaurants.
My apprenticeship for all this was sitting around the table at my Jewish home in Manchester where family meals were great fun. Since then, my greedy travels around the world have made me realise that until time travel becomes a reality, holding a menu in one’s hands conveys immediately and unrivalled sense of place, of shared pleasure, of fun, and above all, of friendship.