The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Let Them Eat Tripe: The Story of Antoine’s

Let Them Eat Tripe: The Story of Antoine’s

For nearly five decades Tony Astle’s restaurant, Antoine’s, was the go-to-fine-dining spot for celebrities, the wealthy and the glamourous. Consequently, Tony has many a story to tell.

At the height of its success in the wealth-saturated 1980s, Antoine’s was booked out for lunch and dinner six days a week for months in advance. International celebrities, politicians and dignitaries visited whenever they were in town.

Patrons had to ring a doorbell and be vetted prior to entry. Customers were barred entry for wearing inappropriate clothing. Diners spent thousands on dinners. Wine was sold for up to $20,000 a bottle. EFTPOS was never accepted.

Let Them Eat Tripe, due for release this October, is the story of a trailblazing entrepreneur who had a huge impact on the hospitality and dining scenes in New Zealand, regularly taking trips to Europe for inspiration. He also mentored dozens of New Zealand’s top chefs and taught for many years at AUT’s hospitality school.

The Naked Diner

With chapters titled: The Naked Diner, Fresh Meat (This chapter comes with a trigger warning!), Celebrities —The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Legally Blind (Drunk), and Death by Duck, the stories from the man behind the institution are endless, controversial, outrageous and wildly entertaining.

Let Them Eat Tripe has an appeal that will reach far beyond the Antoine’s past clientele. The stories will also resonate with lovable reprobates, those with a fierce sense of right and wrong, and anyone who has ever considered pursuing their greatest passion — no matter what.

This is more than a memoir and way beyond the recitation of restaurant exploits. Let Them Eat Tripe traverses all manner of incidents, each surrounded with Tony Astle’s indomitable take on life, from childhood through to the current day. Spanning half a century of the New Zealand dining scene, the book contains a wealth of social history.

Shock & Controversy

Author and award-winning journalist Geraldine Johns says: “There are elements of shock and controversy that have never been revealed. Tony Astle has been very bold in sharing aspects of his personal and very private past with his readers.

“Even he was surprised when he saw some of his revelations in print. Writing this book has introduced me to a Tony Astle I never knew before. The interview process spanned some years, within which time his world changed dramatically. If the original intent was to write a book detailing his restaurant exploits, the end result became something way beyond that.”

Geraldine Johns has written for the New Zealand Herald, Metro, Cuisine, Stuff, NZ Listener and many other newspapers and magazines. She has also worked extensively as a restaurant reviewer and food editor.

She co-authored the New Zealand version of an Australian book about raising a child independently and is an old friend of Tony Astle’s who was at one time banned from setting foot on Antoine’s premises!

RRP $45, Publishing October 2024,

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