Austin – The Texas Book Fesival

If you look on Amazon, you’ll find my book paired with Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch. I’ve read her book, and it’s wonderful and I highly recommend it. At the Texas Book Festival, we were finally paired in person for a session titled “In the Culinary Trenches.” We were scheduled after Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef in the Bon Appetit Y’all cooking tent sponsored by Whole Foods. Our panel had this description:

The authors of the two most insightful, revealing, and fascinating books about the culinary world to be published this year will be in conversation at this session. Tribeza magazine editor Helen Thompson moderates.”
No pressure there. Fortunately, Phoebe is deeply articulate and personable. We compared book tour notes (neither of us had good turnout in San Francisco) as they put these Britney-music-video style mics on us. Our gracious moderater, Helen, agreed to let us engage in more of a conversation. The panel went well; only a hanful of people seemed confused that we were talking, not cooking. Our conversation wandered from salaries for back of the house (cooks) vs. front of the house types (waitstaff), the glamorization of the culinary industry in general and how we found ourselves in the middle of our stories. The most interesting was the comparison of how our subjects – both iconic institutions – reacted. Le Cordon Bleu has been thoroughly gracious, while Per Se (uber celebrity chef Thomas Keller’s New York outpost) has been less quick to embrace her insider’s tale. But this has not diminished her respect for the restaurant, or pride in having worked there. As she noted, “they don’t necessarily need the press.”

Only later did Mike point out that the tilted mirror show off that my skirt had hiked up my legs while I was on the high stools they put us on… evident in the photo above.

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Filed under book tour tales, reading list

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