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Joe Bastianich's book: Restaurant Man

The book finally came out the other day. It is a good read, quite interesting. Unfortunately, it is laced with profanity... really laced and it was all unnecessary for the story he tells about himself and Batali.

Furthermore, the book is full of factual errors and shows that Bastianich doesn't know nearly as much as he wants everyone to believe. Here is the first of many mistakes: "Angelo Gaja and Bruno Giacosa were making great Barolos." Angelo Gaja making great Barolos? Where did you get that from Joe?

What Bastianich wants to show is that he knows all the players (he was talking about the early 80s here) so that he gets bragging rights. Unfortunately, there are sentences like this where you know he is just making stuff up in order to name drop.

Nonetheless, it is an interesting book and he doesn't pull any punches on his likes and dislikes (see the sections on John Mariani and Steve Cuozzo).

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  1. http://www.bm-auer.com/Gaja.htm

    I have not yet read the book, but it would appear that at least some wine "authorities" think Gaja makes some fine barolos. And I think he does know his stuff. Owning 3 or 4 vineyards and a dozen or more restaurants will do that for a guy.

    1. "Unfortunately, it is laced with profanity... really laced and it was all unnecessary for the story he tells about himself and Batali."

      Is he anymore profane than everyone's "god" Anthony Bourdain?

      1 Reply
      1. re: ttoommyy

        Hell I could write bourdain's claptrap-he is no god

      2. If it's by Joe Bastianich, I think they should re-title it Restaurant Manbaby. :)

        15 Replies
        1. re: inaplasticcup

          This. He is such a tool on Masterchef and every time I see him on Lidia's show he is sullen and acts like he doesn't want to be there. Will never by the book.

          jb

          1. re: JuniorBalloon

            @Mayor of Melonville

            In the late 1970s and early 80s, which is the time period Bastianich is speaking about, Angelo, a friend of mine, did not own anything in Barolo.

            I happen to like some of Bastianich's "Friulanos" in some years. Read what he says about opening a bottle away from the table (after showing the bottle), pouring out a glass of great barolo for himself (at Felidia) and then filling up the bottle with the house red, and taking it back to the table to the unsuspecting customer. Shameful, and it still goes on, not here in Italy, but in the States.

            @ttoommyy
            Bastianich is no more profane than Bourdain (who is a complete novice when it comes to Italian food), but that doesn't make it right. An interesting book, but the profanity is gratuitous.

              1. re: allende

                "An interesting book, but the profanity is gratuitous."

                But if that's the way a person talks and he is trying to sell himself as a brand then why not write like he speaks? After all, his core readership will probably be kitchen and restaurant staffers. Ever spend any time behind the scenes at a restaurant? I have. You can't help but curse with every other sentence! lol

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Oh phooey,I've worked in restaurants for years,and save cussing for really effective moments.Constant f-ing makes people sound dumber than they really are,as it does in this interesting,but often spiteful,book.

                  1. re: geendatz

                    Cursing has nothing to do with intelligence. They are just words. And sometimes they are the only words that convey what one feels.

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      If someone curses too often, then when the need to really curse arises, it is ineffective.

                2. re: allende

                  What an a-hole!

                  "Read what he says about opening a bottle away from the table (after showing the bottle), pouring out a glass of great barolo for himself (at Felidia) and then filling up the bottle with the house red, and taking it back to the table to the unsuspecting customer."

                  1. re: allende

                    That wine gambit is dishonest, I'm surprised he admitted to that.

                    I have no problem with him on Masterchef (though I'm not a regular viewer), but his presence on Lidia's show always rubs me the wrong way. He just doesn't seem to know his way around a kitchen (I mean, I guess he's not a chef, but still) and that reminds me of the Urban Peasant guy that I used to loathe as a kid.

                    1. re: randomthoughts

                      "He just doesn't seem to know his way around a kitchen (I mean, I guess he's not a chef, but still)"

                      I bet he knows his way around a professional kitchen in his restaurants. What you are observing is his discomfort in a home kitchen, with his mother watching/dictating and cameras filming his every move. :)

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        On the show, both Joe and Tanya seem deeply ill at ease next to mamma, as if they'd rather be anywhere else. Must be some interesting holiday dinners.

                        1. re: bob96

                          I've been to events with Lidia and Tanya hosting and they are very at ease with one another. I really think it is being in front of the cameras that gets to both Tanya and Joe.

                  2. re: JuniorBalloon

                    +1 JB. I, too, have often wondered about his on-screen presence, or lack thereof. He comes across as disgruntled and impatient. I caught an earlier appearance of him on the old "Molto Mario" show and he was quick to upstage MB when talking about the wine. Overall, a VERY sullen person who does not exude much enthusiasm about anything. All I can say is his children are his only apparent positive contribution to Lidia's family-styled show.

                    1. re: njmarshall55

                      He's a sullen, self-indulgent mama's boy. Every Italian-American family has at least one. :)

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        In the book he comes across as very insecure.

                3. Allende: I'm glad you mentioned that because I wondered myself about the Gaja reference. I am finding the details about running a restaurant to be fascinating although the author does not seem to be a very simpatico character and the many details of his (cringeworthy-sounding) young adult wardrobe are less than interesting! But he does seem to have put in his dues in the business.

                  1. Here's a link (one of many) to the Cuozzo-Mariani-Bastianich kerfuffle. Seems Joe just gets his pissy stuff wrong, though I have no dog in this pasticcio. He does radiate a sense of sour resentment that makes you want to say, sheesh, just suck it up and enjoy your success. So what if you're completely without charm or personality? http://ny.eater.com/tags/steve-cuozzo