Turning Tables, Heather & Rose MacDowell

Turning Tables is quick, fast, and entertaining. The book describes the hidden world of service behind five star restaurants:  Le Cirque, Le Bernadine, Per Se, or the latest haute cuisine zone of indulgence. The forced smile and chef abuse is universal and captured wonderfully and with compassion by both Heather & Rose, who both have no doubt turned many a table themselves and probably worked longer in the restaurant biz then our heroine Erin.


Turning Tables by Heather & Rose MacDowell

Turning Tables by Heather & Rose MacDowell


Unlike The History of Love, a book which holds itself in high esteem, Turning Tables is a well written story that doesn’t take its’ self to seriously. Something quite hard to accomplish.

I’ve been yelled at by many chefs in my day, at fancy five star places and have been blessed to have cracked open and tasted $500 wines. This book, does a wonderful job of showing the reader the fantasy world of hospitality, drawing away the curtain – it’s hard to put down. 

Not enough books, or I haven’t found them in any case. Focus on the servers that perform the smoke and mirrors of luxury, the smile that’s never worn even after many hours of polishing silver and crystal just so. When Erin dangles, having to clean a chandelier in a harness. I can almost picture the old Lespinasse or the much to decadent Le Cirque (when it was in the Palace Hotel).  With owners to cheap to hire a proper cleaning crew.  When the authors describe the fine dinning table, a table that’s usually just plywood with much padding to muffle the silver.  The table transforms when the lights are dim and the many thousands of dollars of china and wares guild it.  

This novel is captivating as it is well written. Fine, it won’t rock your world. It’s not going to shake you to the core. It’s never going to win prizes. Yet, it’s a fun fun read, I cared for Erin deeply in the end. In a genre dominated by Candace Bushnell who’s one good book was Sex in the City itself.  Turning Tables makes me happy that I dipped into my memories as a server and made me resolute to do everything in my power, to avoid that profession ever again.  

The writers capture the frenzy of the restaurant owners, the macho self-confidence of the chef. Sex in the wine cellar and the many other habits of people that work much to much at a job they self-destructive passion for.

Overall it’s a fun quick read. Get the book and do tip twenty percent next time you’re out. You’ll be glad you did. 


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