Before there were celebrity chefs, there was the celebrity restaurateur: Sirio Maccioni, the unflappable owner of New York's Le Cirque 2000. Friend and feeder of kings and presidents, Maccioni recently stopped taking reservations long enough to pen his memoir, Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque (Wiley & Sons). Here he offers some savory travel morsels from a well-fed career.
IN PRAISE OF REGIONALISM "My favorite way to eat is to get in a car in Italy and just start driving. Every fifty kilometers, the food changes."
CHOOSING A RESTAURANT "With few exceptions—Paul Bocuse in Lyons is one—great chefs don't make great restaurateurs. After years of sweating it out in the kitchen, all they want is revenge."
BURGER WARS "You need a scorecard to keep track of New York's designer burgers, but the one at '21' (21 W. 52nd St.; 212/582-7200) is still the best."
PARIS CONFIDENTIAL "I usually stay at the Ritz (15 Place Vendôme; 33-1/43-16-30-70) because the general manager is an old friend. I may be opening an Italian restaurant there. Stay tuned."