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The deliciously cosmopolitan story of the restaurant from eighteenth-century Paris to El BulliWhat does eating out tell us about who we are? The restaurant is where we go to celebrate, to experience pleasure, to see and be seen - or, sometimes, just because we're hungry. But these temples of gastronomy hide countless stories.As this dazzlingly entertaining, eye-opening book shows, the restaurant is where performance, fashion, commerce, ritual, class, work and desire all come together. Through its windows, we can glimpse the world.This is the tale of the restaurant in all its guises, from the first formal establishments in eighteenth-century Paris serving 'restorative' bouillon, to today's new Nordic cuisine, via grand Viennese cafés and humble fast food joints. Here are tales of cooks who spend hours arranging rose petals for Michelin stars, of the university that teaches the consistency of the perfect shake, of the lunch counter that sparked a protest movement, of the writers - from Proust to George Orwell - who have been inspired or outraged by the restaurant's secrets.