Praise for Ritz & Escoffier

His work is not just a fluidly structured dual biography but a provocative history of a turning point in the evolving hotel and restaurant industry.

– Booklist

Ritz & Escoffier is a vividly engaging piece of social history about two humbly-born visionaries—one a great hotelier, and one a great chef—and the temples of luxury they fashioned, first at the Savoy Hotel in Belle Époque London, and then at the Paris Ritz.  Filled with intriguing details and fascinating (and sometimes unsavory) characters, Ritz & Escoffier re-creates a certain time and place with the deftest of touches.

– Daphne Merkin

In this winningly told story, Luke Barr explores the advent of the luxe life through the saga of hotelier César Ritz and chef Auguste Escoffier, whose partnership brought us not only the adjective ‘ritzy,’ itself no small testament, but also such once-novel phenomena as hotel rooms with their own bathrooms, and innovative dishes like Peach Melba. It’s a charming tale of success, scandal, and redemption—complete with an unexpected villain. Trigger alert: It will make you hungry, and a little nostalgic for bygone times.

New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson

A thrilling story of how an outsider—a Swiss peasant—instructed 19th century aristocrats, celebrities, politicians, and plutocrats how to live and, in doing so, single-handedly defined modern luxury. Luke Barr’s incandescent narrative is as smooth and seductive as the service at the Ritz.

– Kate Betts, author of My Paris Dream

Like Barr tells the remarkable story of how César Ritz built a world-class hospitality empire, and his esteemed chef Escoffier, took fine dining to new heights. Ritz & Escoffier is an entertaining account of how they adapted to–and even changed–social customs, helping the world modernize, and leaving behind an impressive legacy.

– David Lebovitz, New York Times bestselling author of L’appart and My Paris Kitchen_

So very much of what is exciting in food and hospitality today, started with Ritz and Escoffier. They were modern for their time; they are modern for ours. Barr’s book is fascinating from beginning to end.

– Dorie Greenspan, James Beard Award-winning author of Dorie’s Cookies and Baking Chez Moi

Such a fabulous couple of characters and such glamorous, dicey cosmopolitan milieux that Luke Barr depicts with such verve and lucidity. Ritz & Escoffier is a case study ofthe birth of branded luxury that reads like a dark, delicious urban spinoff prequel to Downton Abbey.

– Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of You Can’t Spell America Without Me and Fantasyland

Bar…vividly captures the moment when Ritz and Escoffier conceptualized and created a new type of luxury establishment in which the aristocracy, the nouveau riche, and the beau monde mingled freely and easily. Barr’s highly enjoyable and well-researched book carries the reader into the intimate heart of Ritz and Escoffier’s philosophy.

– Library Journal

Was it a coincidence that both Ritz and Escoffier were incontrovertibly ‘outsiders’ and that it took this outsider-dom to create a new barometer of taste?

– Toronto Star

Luke Barr’s delightful and engrossing book is a gripping story of rags to riches to scandal and back, and also a trenchant study of how our materialistic society formulated the idea of luxury.  It’s written with wit and charm, seducing the reader just as deftly as its subjects once seduced international society.

– Andrew Solomon

Barr’s prose is lively and his sourcing impeccable…a thoroughly enjoyable look into a defining moment of culinary history

– Publishers Weekly

Praise for Provence, 1970

Luke Barr has inherited the clear and inimitable voice of his great-aunt M.F.K. Fisher, and deftly portrays a crucial turning point in the history of food in America with humor, intimacy and deep perception…beautifully written.

– Alice Waters

Luke Barr paints an intimate portrait of the ambitious, quarrelsome, funny, hungry pioneers who brought about a great culinary shift—the ending of the classical era, and the beginning of a newly experimental, wide-ranging cuisine, one that was inspired by France but was quintessentially American in style and flavor. Provence, 1970 gives a front row seat to the creation of modern American cooking.

– Alex Prud’homme, co-author with Julia Child of My Life in France

Luke Barr has written a wonderful, sun-dappled account of the pleasures of cooking and eating in good company. With the deftest of touches, he describes a gathering of celebrated chefs—including Julia Child, his great-aunt M.F.K. Fisher, James Beard and Richard Olney—and the way their American palates transformed French culinary rules for a homegrown audience. Both a meditation on the power of friendship and the uses of nostalgia, Provence, 1970 is the kind of book you want to linger with as long as possible.

– Daphne Merkin

…delightful fodder for foodies.

– Publishers Weekly, starred review

Such a lovely, shimmering, immersive secret history of an important moment that nobody knew was important at the time. Which are almost always the most splendid kind of important moments.

– Kurt Andersen, author of True Believers

Luke Barr has written one of the most delicious and sensuous books of all time.

– Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook

With an insider’s access, a detective’s curiosity, and a poet’s sensitivity, Luke Barr illuminates a culinary clique that changed the way we eat and how we think about food. Provence, 1970 is a revelation.

– Andrew McCarthy, author of The Longest Way Home

Luke Barr has brought the icons of the food world vibrantly to life and captured the moment when their passion for what’s on the plate sparked a cultural breakthrough.

– Bob Spitz, author of Dearie​​