Michael Steinberger's Au Revoir to all that: food, wine and the end of France is a fun and interesting look at the state of food in France. Like in America, the rise of the food star has made many first-rate chefs abandon food for media exposure. Chefs used to work hard to create new and interesting dishes. But now chefs strive to have the book deals, tv shows, and marketing of their brand. Very few top chefs remain in their kitchens. And as Steinberger notes this is a problem. France used to be the number one country for food excellence. Spain is currently the top-rated country and even England has better ratings than France.
Steinberger also gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of the coveted Michelin star system. As the chefs have been complaining for decades, there is no specific criteria for the stars. Michelin claims it is all about the food. Yet there are numerous instances where the ambience has allowed the restaurant to receive the three stars. Also, the cost of upkeep of a three star restaurant has become such a problem that a number of chefs have refused the three stars.
Many wonderful food facts about France are included, the most shocking being that France is the number two market for MacDonalds. Yes, you read that correctly. After the USA, France is the second largest consumer of McDonalds. Steinberger also presents information about how the French wine industry, formally number one in the world, has shrunk so dramatically.
This is a great read for Francophiles, foodies and anyone interested in the state of three star, chefs, restaurants, and food in today's world.