We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

A Waiter in Paris

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781800960190

Price: £14.99

ON SALE: 5th May 2022

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

***
‘This astonishing book describes a cruel, feral existence and is worthy of standing on the shelf next to George Orwell’s Down And Out In Paris And London (1933) as another classic about human exploitation.’Daily Mail

‘Kitchen Confidential for Generation Z’Fortune

‘An English waiters riveting account of working in Paris’ Daily Mail

‘Visceral and unbelievably compelling’ Emerald Fennell

‘Vividly written and merciless in its detail’ Edward Stourton

‘An excellent book’
Strong Words magazine

‘A Dickensian tale of a young man’s trial by fire in a French bistro gives rise to biting commentary on Parisian culture in Chisholm’s intoxicating debut’ Publisher’s Weekly

‘Ah, Paris… gastronomie magnifique and… insane shit going on behind the scenes. A Waiter in Paris charts Edward Chisholm’s jaw-dropping experiences while serving tables in the French capital, a demi-monde of sadistic managers, thieves, fighting for tips and drug dealers. Seems like not much has changedsince George Orwell worked the same beat.’ Evening Standard

A waiter’s job is to deceive you. They want you to believe in a luxurious calm because on the other side of that door…is hell.

Edward Chisholm’s spellbinding memoir of his time as a Parisian waiter is the perfect summer read. It takes you below the surface of one of the most iconic cities in the world and right into its glorious underbelly.

He inhabits a world of inhuman hours, snatched sleep and dive bars; scraping by on coffee, bread and cigarettes, often under sadistic managers, with a wage so low you’re fighting your colleagues for tips. Colleagues – including thieves, narcissists, ex-Legionnaires, paperless immigrants, wannabe actors and drug dealers – who are the closest thing to family that you’ve got.

It’s physically demanding, frequently humiliating and incredibly competitive. But it doesn’t matter because you’re in Paris, the centre of the universe, and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be in the world.

What's Inside

Read More Read Less

Reviews

An absorbing and moving inside look at a Parisian restaurant.
Library Journal
Chisholm's fortitude in the face of hot-headed, violent chefs and infernal fourteen-hour days without breaks in pursuit of his goal is admirable, and makes for compelling reading.
The Times Literary Supplement
Edward Chisholm's book is vividly written and merciless in its detail. Paris and its pleasures always leave one wondering about the seamier side beneath the surface, and here it is. I'd advise readers to enjoy it somewhere warm and comfortable, and on no account to try it before a gastronomic weekend.
Edward Stourton
This tough little book documents the experience of being a foreign worker, lost in the understrata of the often exploitative industry from which we benefit. It seems glib to compare it to Orwell when it's more universal, or Bourdain when it doesn't glorify the mess. Not exactly a jolly read, but important.
Tim Hayward, Financial Times
An English waiter's riveting account of working in Paris restaurants (...) a searing account of what life is really like 'at the bottom of the food chain', Chisholm's prose positively delights in describing the graffiti, sodden cardboard boxes and litter-strewn pavements. (...) This astonishing book describes a cruel, feral existence and is worthy of standing on the shelf next to George Orwell's Down And Out In Paris And London (1933) as another classic about human exploitation.
Roger Lewis, Daily Mail
We are always hungry for stories from behind the ever-swinging door that separates the calm of a restaurant from the hot temperatures and hot tempers of the kitchen. Edward Chisholm's brilliant memoir shows us the behind-the-scenes chaos, but also lets us tour nocturnal Paris and the strange characters he meets. This is a fascinating book, full of anecdotes that would sound far-fetched in a work of fiction, but that are all absolutely true.
ANNA FIELDING, Woman & Home
Ah, Paris... gastronomie magnifique and... insane shit going on behind the scenes. A Waiter in Paris charts Edward Chisholm's jaw-dropping experiences while serving tables in the French capital, a demi-monde of sadistic managers, thieves, fighting for tips and drug dealers. Seems like not much has changed since George Orwell worked the same beat.
Evening Standard
A Dickensian tale of a young man's trial by fire in a French bistro gives rise to biting commentary on Parisian culture in Chisholm's intoxicating debut.
Publisher's Weekly
A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City by Edward Chisholm is a memoir like I've never experienced. (...) This is a memoir that may well be destined for the screen, so do yourself a favour: read the book first. (...) I opened A Waiter in Paris to find a cultural dumpster dive - a deep, penetrating, spiral into the other side of the City of Lights. (...) The beauty of Paris is stripped, yet miraculously upheld, as I descended into Chisholm's engrossing account of a Paris I'd never imagined. (...) This is a brilliant insider recollection, thundering forward in small snippets of characters revealing every hidden corner of the Le Bistro, which incredibly parallels the world of Paris itself. (...) A true story, a non-fiction tapestry, a page-turner that I could not put down.
Carrie Stanton, The Miramichi Reader