Bestselling author and world-renowned chef David Lebovitz continues to mine the rich subject of his evolving ex-Pat life in Paris, using his perplexing experiences in apartment renovation as a launching point for stories about French culture, food, and what it means to revamp one's life. Includes dozens of new recipes.
When David Lebovitz began the project of updating his apartment in his adopted home city, he never imagined he would encounter so much inexplicable red tape while contending with the inconsistent European work ethic and hours. Lebovitz maintains his distinctive sense of humor with the help of his partner Romain, peppering this renovation story with recipes from his Paris kitchen. In the midst of it all, he reveals the adventure that accompanies carving out a place for yourself in a foreign country—under baffling conditions—while never losing sight of the magic that inspired him to move to the City of Light many years ago, and to truly make his home there.
DAVID LEBOVITZ has been a professional cook and baker for most of his life; he spent nearly thirteen years at Berkeley's Chez Panisse until he left the restaurant business in 1999 to write books. He is the author of six books, including My Paris Kitchen, The Perfect Scoop, and The Sweet Life in Paris. David has been featured in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Cook's Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, the New York Times, and more. He moved to Paris in 2004 and turned davidlebovitz.com into one of the first phenomenally popular food and living blogs.
Lebovitz’s tale of the miseries and woes of buying and renovating a home in Paris will most likely send anyone thinking of doing the same running the other way. After living for 10 years in a small rented apartment, Lebovitz (My Paris Kitchen) decides to buy his own place. His adventures in home hunting include finding the right neighborhood, the right real estate agent, and, of course, just the right l’appart. But it’s only after he locates his ideal apartment that his adventures truly begin. Despite his partner Romain’s misgivings about the apartment, Lebovitz offers the asking price even before the apartment is inspected by an architect friend. During the inspection, the architect determines that the place needs extensive, costly renovations. Lebovitz plunges in, hiring a contractor and workers who turn out to be unscrupulous, never completing any work on time and so badly installing plumbing, flooring, and wiring that the apartment needs to be redone completely. In spite of his attempts to convince readers how much he still loves Paris—when describing being able to run down the street for a freshly made baguette or getting to know the ruggedly handsome man at the little café close by, for example—Lebovitz peels off the plaster to reveal a Paris beyond tourism. Lebovitz’s stories shimmer with despair, distress, and regret, but he nevertheless embraces life with all its flaws in the city he loves. (Nov.)
“The best thing about this book is that David writes as he talks so it is like having a long conversation with a good friend. Equal parts honest, intriguing, distressing, entertaining, funny and appetizing. Pour yourself a glass of French wine, grab a nibble and cozy up to a great night with a great book.”
“David Lebovitz hilariously recounts the ups and downs of buying an apartment in the City of Light. Readers will relate to Lebovitz’s exploits, from Ikea fails to bureaucratic foibles.”
“Food lovers and travelers alike will fall in love with every single one of the magically charming stories David skillfully recounts.”
“Painfully funny... typically charming and occasionally a touch risqué.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Pastry chef David Lebovitz brings his conversational and often wry, self-deprecating voice to his latest book L’Appart.”
“The book may make you want to never so much as replace a cabinet in your home ever again, but at the same time, it will give you a realistic, yet, somehow still appealing view of what life as a Parisian is really like.”
“Lebovitz's stories shimmer with despair, distress, and regret, but he nevertheless embraces life with all its flaws in the city he loves.”
“Lighthearted... with healthy dashes of satire, wit, and humor…an engaging, entertaining, and delicious divertissement.”
“Francophile Americans will learn plenty here about Parisian French’s often mystifying idioms. Recipes conclude chapters and range from simple chocolate cookies to complex kouign-amman, Brittany’s ultrarich, caramelized version of a croissant.”
“David captures the torturous travails of apartment renovation in the City of Light with humor and acumen. 'Pas de problème,' he's told time and again as the renovation derails. He is as alert to details of parquet and working with a notaire as he is with recipes for tarte tatin and quiche, both included here. This memoir brings fans of David even closer to the happy life he's built for himself in Paris.”
—Jacques Pépin, chef, author, and PBS-TV cooking show host
“This book is so entertaining and so deliciously told that I could just gobble it all up in one sitting. As always, David Lebovitz managed to draw me into his scrumptious universe with a million poignant observations and countless of laugh-out-loud moments.”
—Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Jerusalem, Plenty, and Sweet
“Written in lovely, lucid prose, the story of David's endeavor to make a home for himself in Paris is unflinchingly honest, often poignant, and frequently hilarious. As he astutely perceives, the great gift of his odyssey is ultimately the wry and very Gallic world view he acquires through the eye-popping challenges of buying and renovating a Paris apartment, and it's this hard-won treasure, along with a shy but steely self-knowledge, that makes L'Appart such a memorably winning read.”
—Alexander Lobrano, author of Hungry for Paris and Hungry for France
“David is an incredible storyteller, both in and out of the kitchen. I thoroughly enjoy the authenticity of life in a different country, where every day requires an adjustment and every event is a curve ball. But that's where the joy is: embracing life with a wonderful attitude, seeking exploration and novelty.”From the Publisher
—Gabriele Corcos, chef and author of the New York Times bestseller Extra Virgin
The latest installment by chef and blogger Lebovitz (My Paris Kitchen) is a memoir/cookbook hybrid. For the memoir portion, the author details his misadventures as an expat in France searching for an apartment to buy and renovate. Cultures clash as he tries to explain the appeal of large appliances, open-plan kitchens, and commercial ovens to those who find cooking odors wafting into the living room distasteful. A significant part of the book outlines his ongoing battles with a less than stellar contractor whose questionable workmanship cost him time and money. Interspersed with this recounting of renovation gone wrong are recipes loosely connected to themes in the narrative. The recipes presented, ranging from a three-ingredient ham sandwich to a daunting vanilla eclair made from scratch, are updates on classic French dishes, refreshing drinks and desserts, and treats that remind the author of his American roots, such as marshmallow creme fudge. The complexity, both in terms of ingredient list and preparation, varies wildly. VERDICT For fans of Lebovitz's writing and culinary work as well as those interested in humorous expat memoirs.—Rebecca Brody, Westfield State Univ., MA