Dining in the Dark: A Famed Restaurant Critic's Struggle with and Triumph over Depression

Dining in the Dark: A Famed Restaurant Critic's Struggle with and Triumph over Depression

by Bryan Miller


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The Rise and Fall of the World’s Most Powerful Restaurant Critic and His Battle with Severe, Debilitating Depression
From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, Bryan Miller was a household name among restaurant goers in the greater New York City area and beyond as the restaurant critic for the New York Times, as well as the author of numerous books, a public speaker, and a radio and television commentator. Over ten years as a columnist, he dined out more than five thousand times in the United States and abroad, from haute to humble. The Wine Spectator, in a front-page profile, declared Miller “the most powerful restaurant critic in America.”

And for much of that time, he wanted to die.

Dining in the Dark chronicles Miller’s battle with Bipolar II disorder, also known as depression, which ruined his life, professionally and personally. Depression was directly responsible for his surrendering the New York Times restaurant column and, shortly thereafter, leaving the paper altogether. Everything he had worked for so diligently, rising from cub reporter to big-city columnist in less than a decade, vanished. In the ensuing years, unable to work, he lost his home, his life savings, two wonderful wives, the chance to have a family, and numerous friends and colleagues. He became increasingly reclusive; like many victims of serious depression, he reached the point where he was afraid to answer the phone. Pile on a brain tumor, electroshock therapy, a near-fatal bout with Lyme disease, accidental drug overdoses (he was once carried out of the newsroom on a gurney), and you have a life in shambles.

Dining in the Dark tells the story of Miller’s battle, but it also brings hope by sharing his journey to coping with, and finally conquering, his depression. The coping mechanisms he employed in order to get through the day will be of benefit to those in need of a helping hand. Dining in the Dark is philosophical, inspirational, educational, and even humorous at times. And, of course, there are lots of inside-the-New York Times anecdotes, as well as lots of food, wine, travel, and celebrity.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510760394
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 09/28/2021
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 511,817
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Bryan Miller is a writer, editor, author, internet journalist, and educator. He has worked as a news reporter, features writer, news editor, writing teacher, and food specialist for a number of newspapers, magazines, and online city guides. From 1981 to 1996, he was a reporter and columnist for the New York Times. The author and co-author of nine books, Miller has garnered numerous honors, including the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Westchester County, New York.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Beard Award 1

Chapter 2 The Black Bear 12

Chapter 3 Spain 19

Chapter 4 Food Writers 25

Chapter 5 Abe and Arthur 30

Chapter 6 Panic in the Newsroom 41

Chapter 7 Shrinks 49

Chapter 8 Latchkey Girl 56

Chapter 9 Skippy 60

Chapter 10 Hard Knocks 70

Chapter 11 Deadline 80

Chapter 12 Women 83

Chapter 13 France 95

Chapter 14 Pierre 98

Chapter 15 The Reluctant Critic 102

Chapter 16 Missing in Plain Sight 107

Chapter 17 First Review 113

Chapter 18 Food Revolution 117

Chapter 19 How to Review a Restaurant when Depressed 123

Chapter 20 Dining With… 130

Chapter 21 Mireille 135

Chapter 22 Brain Tumor 141

Chapter 23 Leaving the Times 150

Chapter 24 The Lost Year 153

Chapter 25 ECT 157

Chapter 26 Checking Out 170

Chapter 27 Lyme Disease 178

Chapter 28 Soothsaying 184

Chapter 29 Miracle on 181st Street 188

Chapter 30 Heaven 192

Chapter 31 The Last Dance 194

Epilogue 199

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