16 BOOK | Hospitality REVIEW Today | Christmas 2016 / January 2017
‘ On the Menu ’ by Nick Lander
Nicholas Lander says “ For the past 45 years I ’ ve had the pleasure of spending time in the company of the most exciting menus from around the world . From my days as a commodity trader in the 1970s when I was told ‘ Understand a menu and wine list and you can always show your customers and suppliers a better time than your competitors ’, to my time as a restaurateur at L ’ Escargot in Soho and the 25 years I spent as the restaurant correspondent for the Financial Times .
“ My whole life revolved around menus : writing them , costing them , keeping them pristine and making sure that our menu kept in touch with the changing needs of our customers – for example introducing a vegetarian main course when it was a most unusual phenomenon .”
Author Nicholas Lander with his wife Jancis Robinson MW
Lander ’ s handsome new book ‘ On The Menu ’ explores “ the history , psychology and creativity of these pieces of paper and card that generate more pleasure than any other ”.
The book also includes several of the best looking and most influential menus from around the world , including those from L ’ Escargot in the 1970s , when all main courses were under one pound ; the last menu at The French Dining Room before Fergus Henderson moved to St John ; and the final menu from El Bulli in Spain .
As Lander began to think about a sequel to his first book ‘ The Art Of The Restaurateur ’, he says he kept wondering why , despite the fact that menus generate so much pleasure for an increasingly large number of people around the world , nobody has written a book that give menus the credit they deserve .
With On The Menu , he intended to do that - and indeed , his knowledge and love for his subject leaps off the pages .
Featuring interviews with chefs . . . Heston Blumenthal ( The Fat Duck ), Massimo Bottura ( Osteria Francescana ), René Redzepi ( Noma ), Michel Roux Jr