Christoph Ribbat

In the Restaurant - A Story from the Belly of Modernity

(German title: Im Restaurant)
ca. 180 pages
Christoph Ribbat
Foto: Christoph Ribbat
© Heike Steinweg

Christoph Ribbat, born 1968, is a professor for American Studies at the University of Paderborn after holding posts in Bochum, Boston and Basel.

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English world rights (Pushkin Press), Spanish world rights (Planeta/Gastro), Catalan (Grup 62/Portic), Chinese simplex rights (Shanghai 99), Arabic world rights (Kalima), Italy (Marsilio), Netherlands (Meridiaan | Atlas/Contact), Denmark (Vandkunsten), Finland (Aula & Co.), Korea (The Open Books), Poland (Media Rodzina), Czech Republic (Prostor), Turkey (Yapi Kredi), Greece (Hestia)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Headroom Sound)

Nominated for the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair 2016

Eating is never all that’s going on in a restaurant


Eating is never all that’s going on in a restaurant. Since the first »restored« establishments opened in 18th-century Paris, visiting a restaurant is also about seeing and being seen, about showing off style and distinction – and about the feeling of being both with strangers and at home at the same time. The impatient guests keep the staff on their toes with special requests. But it’s the waitresses, the garçons and the chefs who control the events in the background and who, sometimes quite intentionally, spoil the gentlefolks’ broth. In the kitchen, at the counter and at the table, indulgence and hard work, elegance and exploitation, cultural diversity and racism collide. Whether they are fancy or grimy: restaurants are a mirror of society.

Christoph Ribbat assembles the fascinating experiences of kitchen staff and ingenious chefs, waitresses and philosophers, gourmets and sociologists. He takes a look behind the scenes and forges a bridge from the first Parisian gourmet restaurants to the rise of fast food and to the most innovative chefs of our time. But he doesn’t merely present a cosmopolitan history of the restaurant, but also a fast-paced narrative experiment located between cultural studies and documentary novel.

With guest appearances by Ferran Adrià, Simone de Beauvoir, Paul Bocuse, George Orwell, Elvis Presley, Marcel Proust, Wolfram Siebeck, Eckart Witzigmann and many more, this book is an exciting insight into culinary history.


»A wholesome revue of modernity […] This entertaining book serves curiosities, anecdotes, theories and facts, enjoyable also for readers without any prior knowledge« Jens Bisky, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»This book is – pun intended – the most appetising summary of the restaurant’s history that one could imagine: a collage of key moments in which public eating establishments became what they are today.« Thomas Andre, Hamburger Abendblatt


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