Cover image for Sirio : the story of my life and Le Cirque
Sirio : the story of my life and Le Cirque
Maccioni, Sirio.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley & Sons, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiii, 416 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX945.5.L39 M33 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
TX945.5.L39 M33 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Sirio Maccioni is a living legend, a restaurateur extraordinaire who has wined and dined high society in New York for nearly half a century. Along the way, he helped launch the careers of many illustrious chefs - David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jacques Torres among them - and befriended a host of celebrities in the arts, politics, and business, from Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa to Nancy Reagan and Ivana Trump. Now Maccioni lets us into his world, revealing the secrets that have made his Le Cirque one of the world's most celebrated restaurants.

With the help of award-winning Bloomberg restaurant critic Peter Elliot, Maccioni recounts the story of his life and his restaurant career. Beginning with his childhood in rural Tuscany during World War II and the tragedies and privations that left him determined to pursue success at the world's finest restaurants, he shares a journey that took him to post-war Paris and Hamburg and the nightlife of pre-Castro Cuba and finally to New York.

By 1961, the dashing young Maccioni had become maitre d' at New York's most storied restaurant, the Colony. Within thirteen years, he had the experience and contacts he needed to launch his own restaurant, Le Cirque, which quickly became the hub of cafe society in New York.

From hiring the right chefs and revolutionizing the way top restaurants operate to popularizing now-famous dishes such as pasta primavera and creme brulee, Maccioni reveals how he made Le Cirque such a long-running success - a success that reached new heights when the restaurant moved to a new location in 1997. Along the way, Maccioni explains how he's dealt with defecting chefs and demanding customers. And through it all, he pays tribute to his proud Tuscan roots and to his wife and their three sons, who operate the family's other New York restaurant, Osteria del Circo, as well as restaurants in Las Vegas and Mexico City.

Like Maccioni himself, Sirio is full of passion, energy, and life - the unforgettable story of the world's most extraordinary restaurateur.

Author Notes

Sirio Maccioni lives in New York City and Montecatini, Italy. Along with his wife, Egidiana, and their three sons, Mario, Marco, and Mauro, he operates Le Cirque 2000 and Osteria del Circo in New York City as well as Le Cirque and Osteria del Circo in Las Vegas and Le Cirque in Mexico City
Peter Elliot is the food critic for Bloomberg L.P. and host of Dine [left angle bracket]GO[right angle bracket], which airs on Bloomberg Radio in the New York area and nationally on satellite radio. The show won a James Beard Foundation award in 1999. He lives in Litchfield, Connecticut, and is a graduate of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

New York's social history can often be traced through its restaurants. The robber barons adored Delmonico's, 1950s media darlings fancied the 21 Club and the 1980s' power elite loved Le Cirque and its dazzling owner, Sirio Maccioni. Maccioni learned his trade in the hotels and restaurants of Europe and New York. By the early 1970s, the dashing Italian was ready to launch his own culinary experiment, and for more than 20 years, Le Cirque on East 65th Street epitomized near-reckless luxury. At first, Le Cirque was known more for the exclusivity of its customers, a blue-ribbon gaggle of celebrities and politicians (many of them, from Nancy Reagan to Frank Zappa, befriending Maccioni) than for the food. But Maccioni's aggressive spending and the free rein he gave his chefs soon resulted in a dining revolution. The restaurant served as the training ground for chefs like Daniel Boulud, and it claims to have invented Pasta Primavera. Maccioni's memoir is mostly a stream of reminiscences, with a dash of loving quotes from celebrities. It's a doting portrait of, in the words of Ruth Reichl, "the most important restaurateur of the era." Agent, Mort Janklow. (June) Forecast: Like Everyone Comes to Elaine's (Forecasts, Jan. 5), this book is sure to generate some New York media coverage (it's already been excerpted in Vanity Fair) and could be popular among New Yorkers interested in the city's social scenes. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

From war-torn Tuscany in the 1940s to post-9/11 New York City, dining legend Maccioni has worked hard to create his place in the world. In Italy, Paris, and, finally, New York, he trained as a waiter and maetre d'e learning to create exceptional dining experiences for customers. His ambition, however, was to bring a more Italian flavor-from ingredients to style-into New York's restaurant scene, which at the time was dominated by French haute cuisine. In 1974, he achieved his ambition by opening Le Cirque; 30 years later, Le Cirque 2000 (a new name for a new location and new century) is going strong, although Maccioni will again be relocating at the end of this year; he has restaurants in Las Vegas and Mexico City as well. Here, Maccioni does for restaurateurs what Jacques Pepin did for chefs in his insightful memoir, The Apprentice, with chapters featuring remembrances by Maccioni and exposition by co-writer Elliot, host of the radio program The Bloomberg Executive Dining Guide. Nicely complementing these narrative portions are interpolated quotes from family, colleagues, and famous clientele. Recommended for larger public libraries and restaurant management collections. (Recipes not seen.)-Andrea R. Dietze, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Donald Trump
Forewordp. vii
Prefacep. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. xii
Welcome to Le Cirquep. 2
The Maccionis of Montecatinip. 8
"Always Tell the Truth"p. 19
It's Always About Leavingp. 31
Leaving Home
Getting Started in Parisp. 60
The Next Generation of Chefsp. 72
Hamburgp. 80
The Home Linesp. 87
"He's Good, but He's Italian"p. 108
From Delmonico's to the Colonyp. 119
Maitre d'!p. 129
Planning a Restaurantp. 149
Opening Le Cirquep. 164
Restaurant Revolutionary
The Restaurateurp. 200
Kids, Wine, and Creme Bruleep. 210
The Ladies and Men of Le Cirquep. 222
The Triumph of Simplicityp. 238
The Prodigal Sonp. 259
Losing and Winningp. 270
Three-Ring Circus
Sinatrap. 304
Twentieth Anniversaryp. 308
Osteria del Circo: A Family Restaurant?p. 314
The Palacep. 327
Le Cirque 2000p. 343
New Directionsp. 359
Don't Play Games with Godp. 376
Bibliographyp. 405
Indexp. 407