Your Table is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maitre D’ By Michael Cecchi-Azzolina
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have dined in a restaurant at some point in our lives. Dining out is one of the most common ways we celebrate life’s events. Birthdays, anniversaries, engagements. Hand the responsibility of cooking over to the experts and leave the washing up to the bussers and dishwashers. Tonight is about you. But do you ever wonder what this magical experience looks like from the other side?
Michael Cecchi-Azzolina is a career Maître D’hotel, serving everyone from mobsters to duchesses at some of New York City’s most popular restaurants from the 1970s to 2020. His memoir, Your Table is Ready, invites us behind the curtain of the front-of-house experience.
Your Table is Ready takes us places we’ve never been before.
Covering much of Cecchi’s life, we get the scoop on the drama surrounding New York City’s hottest spots to drink and dine.
Cecchi does a fantastic job transporting us to the dining room. My heart rate shot up, and my palms began to sweat as Cecchi ran about putting out fires caused by demanding guests, incompetent workers, and unpredictable bridge jumpers. Cecchi doesn’t hold back on the raunchy and wild stories from his past. Names are dropped, and even when they aren’t, it’s clear enough who he’s referencing. Anna Wintour, Madonna, and Anna Delvey are just a few of the guest appearances.
If you’re not already a pleasant and gracious guest at restaurants, you’ll surely be on your best behavior after reading Your Table is Ready. Although times have changed, and people now have a deeper understanding of the skill it takes to work in the restaurant business, this memoir will open your eyes even further. Cecchi uses entertaining tales from his career to teach us about what it takes to run a restaurant and for that restaurant to succeed. Individuals who choose to make this job their career are a different breed of human — patient, flexible, and tough as nails. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to take the abuse suffered by Cecchi and his coworkers on a daily basis.
Your Table is Ready is a wildly fun and informative memoir.
Unfortunately, the stories can get somewhat repetitive (I can only stand so many pages full of drunken escapades and sexual encounters), and women are not well represented in this account of restaurant life. Still, I found Cecchi’s writing brilliant, and most readers will enjoy this book immensely.
Your Table is Ready will be released on December 6th. Don’t miss out. Order your copy from Bookshop Benicia, then take your book down to Cullen’s Pub, where you can get cozy with this month’s Booktails cocktail. If you’d like to skip the booze, try our zero-proof cocktail instead!
- 2 oz. Ritual Whiskey Alternative
- 1 oz. Unsweetened Red Grape Juice
- 3 dashes Bitters (All the Bitter brand for a true zero-proof cocktail)
- Orange and Cherry
- Fill a shaker with ice, Ritual, red grape juice, and bitters.
- Stir gently.
- Place a cherry in the bottom of a chilled glass and strain the mixture over it.
- Garnish with an orange slice or twist.