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  • Published: 1 June 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099494232
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $27.99

Doing without Delia

Tales of Triumph and Disaster in a French Kitchen

An amateur English cook moves to Paris and enrols at France's - and the world's - most famous cookery school - with hilarious consequences.

Michael Booth has had his fill of celebrity chefs and their recipes. He wants to know how to cook, not just to follow recipes. So, he burns his cookery books and, together with his young family, heads for a new life in Paris - reasoning that, if anyone can be trusted to make food complicated, it’s the French.
He embarks on the ultimate foodie fantasy, enrolling at the world’s most famous cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, whose wise and cranky French chefs begin to transform him into a professional, tutoring him in the fascinating, bizarre and occasionally arcane ways of classical French cooking. Meanwhile, he and his family try to adjust to the challenges of life in Paris: dealing with the park Nazis, sweet-talking the Metro police and trying not to look when the neighbours start having sex out of their window.
In this riveting and hilarious book Booth introduces us to his fellow food-obsessed students from around the world; meets Gerard Depardieu (who reveals why you should never eat vegetables from his grandmother’s garden); and hears the extraordinary predictions of the future of food from Hervé This, the founding father of molecular gastronomy.

Booth shares with us the secrets of his training at Le Cordon Bleu and of French cooking itself, explaining how to make the perfect sauce; the secret of great stocks; how to win a fight with a lobster; and how to avoid maiming yourself while cleaning your knives. He explores how France rose to culinary pre-eminence and asks if Paris still deserves its reputation as the culinary capital of the world.

  • Published: 1 June 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099494232
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $27.99

About the author

Michael Booth

Michael Booth is the author of six books, including the international bestseller, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers award for Book of the Year, and Sushi and Beyond, which won the Guild of Food Writers award.

Also by Michael Booth

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Praise for Doing without Delia

The most enjoyable book about food I've read since Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential

Mail on Sunday

An entertaining romp through Parisian kitchen life

Daily Telegraph

Fast-paced, laugh-a-page...[with] more tips than a library of Gordon Ramsay books


Booth's prose is as easily digestible as you hope his food is: he's as sharp as a Michelin chef's collection of knives, and his tart verbal flourishes mean this account is rarely boring ... A flavoursome offering.

Time Out

Gloriously funny...engaging, insightful, informative and even touching... style that's irresistible

Independent on Sunday

He's funny and perceptive, but best of all, Booth writes like a dream

Lucy Knox, Tribune

A light read, this is an entertaining soufflé of a book, perfect holiday fodder for Francophile foodies


Humorously chronicled...If you're a gourmand you'll love this book. Packed full of instructions on how to re-create French cuisine at home, it makes for brilliant reading and even better kitchen results. It's the perfect fix to the slap-it-all-in-the-pan-and-lick-your-fingers Nigella style of cooking

France Magazine

Well written, entertaining and funny.

Paul O’Doherty, Irish Times

The writing is lively.

John Dugdale, Guardian Review

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