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Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine."
Last summer, The New Yorker published Chef Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." Bourdain spared no one's appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From Bourdain's first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as dishwasher in a honky tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown (where he witnesses for the first time the real delights of being a chef); from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the east village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again, Bourdain's tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable. Kitchen Confidential will make your mouth water while your belly aches with laughter. You'll beg the chef for more, please.

Topics: Food History, Chefs, Celebrities, Candid, Witty, Tips & Tricks, Gossip, Realistic, Funny, First Person Narration, 2000s, and Creative Nonfiction

Published: Bloomsbury USA an imprint of Bloomsbury USA on
ISBN: 9781596917248
List price: $9.99
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The man can write. It was amazing to see someone write about something that they loved. It was clear as day that Anthony Bourdain is in love with food and everything that comes with it. His infatuation with that world is a reminder for us all to follow our dreams.more
Stands the test of time as a wry and candid look at the industry.more
A classic behind the scenes look at restaurants and working in a kitchen.more
Perhaps if Mr. Bourdain spent less time attempting to convince the reader that he's the most fabulous, intelligent, masterful chef to have ever graced the world with his presence, we may have a half-way decent book on our hands. Instead, we see Mr. Bourdain gloat about smoking marijuana, snorting coke, having sex, and generally being better than every single human being who surrounds him. Not only that, but many of the passages in the book are so outlandishly ludicrous that I find it difficult to ever imagine the scenarios actually playing out in real life. This reads less like a autobiography and more like Mr. Bourdain desperately trying to prove to the world he has led, and continues to lead, a totally rock-star, ultra-badass life that is definitely cooler than yours, because he is way better than you. Ugh. Save yourself a few hundred pages of un-contained ego-tripping, and read something else. Would rate 0 stars if possible.more
This took me a lot longer to read than I expected. I think I got a little caught up in the technical cooking terms and concepts that I wasn't familiar with. Otherwise, pretty enjoyable.more
The first half (funny and interesting) was much better than the second half (self-indulgent and boring). Brought back a lot of memories. I've worked with the characters Bourdain describes. I would recommend the audiobook. Bourdain, in addition to being a deadpan laugh riot, reads very well.more
An interesting look behind the scenes and some scary warnings: no more mussels in a restaurant or fish on Monday for me. The beginning chapters felt slow and a bit awkward and I am still not sure that I needed a chapter on the rules surrounding crude kitchen talk, but again that may be just me.more
this dude talks about food and cooking with the passion most people reserve for God. absolutely fascinating - his tone, the way he describes things - makes you want to jump right onto his kitchen staff. seriously - one of my favorite books now. highly recommend this even if you don't like to cook - this is amazing. And I want to go to Tokyo.more
Way more fun than I expected!more
I kept hearing about this book from two friends, and finally read it largely out of self defense. Unfortunately, Bourdain comes across as a bit of an ass, and I gave up on drug-soaked memoirs long ago.

He "exposes" the dark underbelly of the culinary world, and after a couple hundred pages of nothing but over-the-top descriptions of co-workers, restaurant owners and his own escapades, I lost interest.

Or more accurately, I lost trust in his perceptions. Everything can't always be larger than life, and "gonzo" tends to wear out over time.

Bourdain's description of an average workday (and what it took to keep a restaurant running) was interesting, but overall, I had trouble staying interested.
more
A stark, dirty and humerous autobiography of chef Anthony Bourdain. He never holds anything back and the book is all the better for it. It makes me almost fondly look back on the years I worked in restaurants and shows me just how universal some restaurant behaviour can be.

A great book I will definitely read his other work as well.more
This book is pretty much what I thought it would be - Anthony Bourdain's crass and (maybe?0 somewhat honest look at some of the kitchen culture in restaurants in America.

I think I would have liked it better if I had read it when it first came out, but I like Bourdain and I like his flavor of attitude, so reading his look at the kitchen culture he started off in was fun.more
I'm hesitant to say this is a 4-star book, but I did enjoy it a lot, so I guess that makes it 4 stars. A lot of the information here is dated by now and has become common knowledge, but it's still fun to listen to, if only for Bourdain's gutter mouth and sneering references to Emeril.

I'll probably read some of his other books, but this was an enjoyable enough introduction.more
Written by celebrity chef, Bourdain gives readers tips to never eat mussels in restaurants, to avoid Sunday Brunchs and to never order seafood on Friday-Monday.

Very witty and addictive biography that somehow after finishing with the book, you will have a better understanding of the kitchens and respect to all chefs.more
It is such fun to read Bourdain. I've read the fiction book he alludes to in Kitchen Confidential (along with the other fiction book he's written and the small history of Typhoid Mary). Bourdain is an unapologetic wiseass, trying to reform badass, whose current reputation rests on his badassery in the food world (and around the world eating things most mortals would run away from) and his honest assessment of what's right, and wrong, with the food someone has cooked for him. Watching him as judge on Top Chef was one of the biggest delights I ever witnessed. But I digress, this "Insider's Edition" of Kitchen Confidential contains hand written notes and a new afterword which made reading it again even more fun. One thing Bourdain has convinced me off, I do not belong in the restaurant business except as a patron.more
The information was interesting, and the author was funny, in a weird New York way. I listened to this as a book on tap and I have to say that books narrated by the author - especially when that author is from New York or New Jersey is very annoying.more
If you love to watch Anthony Bourdain's tv programs, you'll also love this book -- and I'm a fan of both. It's a great look at the behind the scenes of restaurants. Bourdain is also an adviser for the HBO series Treme and you can see the "flavor" of his insights from this book in the restaurants and the chefs on that series. His is one of the very few shows I watch on the travel channel and probably one of the few chef memoirs I can see myself reading.more
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain made me recall my first escargot. Having occurred only once in the first half century of my life, it stands out as the only culinary risk I took of my own free will. Bravery played no role in my decision, as my ignorance was blocking it out. We were in Montreal so that dad could represent the Volunteer State spirit at an international gathering of Kiwanians. This obviously called for a gourmet dining experience. In the midst of the 1970’s etiquette did not require us to wear ties, but I believe we donned our Sunday-go-to meeting leisure suits out of respect for the culture that was about to expand our horizons. When in Quebec do as the Quebecians would do, and thus the stage of the adventure was a French restaurant, and escargot was the appetizer.Texture far more than taste is the determining factor in my liking or disdaining what I eat, and to me the escargot had the same feel as shrimp. They were also smothered in butter and garlic which I love. In the middle of my third escargot I was given its translation from French to English, and I learned I was eating snails. The battle line was now drawn between my taste buds and my primordial instinct to hurl. There was no turning back. Reading Kitchen Confidential was déjà vu of my escargot night in Montreal. Bourdain’s work started by carpet bombing the reader with “F bombs” which instantly made it impossible to defend oneself from the intolerant bigotry that followed. The only redeeming quality in Mr. Bourdain’s clichéd prejudice is that there is not a single ethnic/religious/racial group that escaped his ire. The palate for his masterpiece was a combination of cursing, foul mouthed, sexually inappropriate, chauvinistic spew of metered contempt that would have made Tupac Shakur and Dennis Miller proud. The crescendo came in the chapter A Day in the Life. All of this was laid on a foundation of love for cooking and the life of a restaurateur. Like the escargot affair it was too late to turn back.His rhythm, tone, and honesty created a seductive literary gravity that would not allow escape. So much so that I realized only after I finished the book that I don’t possess even the most rudimentary kitchen knowledge to have any idea what the man was saying about cooking!more
I didn't really know what to expect... very much Anthony Bourdain, but much more of a memoir than a expose...more
My boyfriend and I are OBSESSED with Anthony Bourdain. We've seen every episode of No Reservations, own most of the DVDs, own almost all of his books, etc. etc. I think my boyfriend may even prefer Anthony Bourdain to me. My boyfriend actually read this one about a year ago after I bought it, and insisted that I had to read it because OMG you can hear Bourdain's voice telling the story, it sounds just like him. And I'm so glad I finally read it. Kitchen Confidential was so fun, an interesting look at Bourdain's years in the underbelly of the restaurant business, full of his own story as well as fascinating (and often scary) anecdotes about what goes on behind the scenes, in the kitchen. And it's very well-written; it absolutely feels like Bourdain telling a series of stories, like he would tell them sitting around the dinner table. (Okay, some of them are gross, so maybe at the bar.) Definitely recommended for anybody who loves food, or maybe just loves Anthony Bourdain.more
It's a great book. It's full of the flavors and aromas of late 20th Century New York. Bourdain is a good storyteller. and paint lovely pictures of his cooking exploits. A great read!more
Great account by a gifted writer (he wrote mystery thrillers!) of the restaurant business in New York and the Northeast.more
Kitchen Confidential- adventures from the kitchen underbelly. These are stories of what goes on behind the scenes in big restaurants’ kitchens mixed into Bourdain’s autobiography. I enjoyed most of it. Bourdain is extremely opinionated and manic about food, has vegetarians and vegans in deep contempt, but appears to have tonnes of energy and quite a bit of integrity in the work ethics department. As for the secrets of the industry, I learned never to eat brunch, or any salad on special, or on Monday nights. The writing, even though highly entertaining, is not for everybody. Definitely not for those who don’t have high tolerance for profanities and foul language. I am apparently late getting to this book, but I knew nothing about the author or his TV programme, or the fact that this book was published 11 years ago. It’s read by the author, and very well to that.more
I only really discovered Anthony Boundain a few years ago through No Reservations. A badass, traveling the world, eating all sorts of funky thing, I was in crush bliss. Then I paid attention to what he was saying and where he went and was truly hooked. I knew about KC when it first came out but never got my hands on it. This is the chronicle of how he fell into the world of restaurants, from a shack on Cape Cod to the ins and outs of the New York City food scene. Not only is it a shot of Bourdain's life and what made him, but also of what restaurants used to be like in this country. It's becoming less common for chefs to work with ingredients purchased that day, instead relying on processed foods. Where is the real skill in that? There is something to be said for knowing when to use a shallot in your dish. If you love cooking, read this. If you want to become a professional chef, this is required. If you're not completely put off from the profession when you're done, maybe it's one for you. Just don't act the way Bourdain did.more
I picked this one of the shelf of my sister-in-law, finally in the mood to give it a whirl. I have very little knowledge of the restaurant business, and I am probably the opposite of a foodie. In fact, I was given a lot of flack this summer from my sister's boyfriend, who does own a very good restaurant in Victoria, about never having tried an oyster, and about never wanting to try one. This makes me in his eyes, as well as Bourdain's it turns out, the biggest cretin on earth. Oh well. So be it. There is something about sliding something that looks like a squashed slug down my throat that I can't stomach.The quote I remember the most from this book is "Your body is not a temple. It is an amusement park." Or something of the sort. He had his first food revelation on a trip to France with his parents, where, yes, he tried his first oyster, while fishing with an old man. The rest of his life was spent treating his body like a death-defying rollercoaster: substance abuse, alcohol and of course, the best food. There is some interesting commentary on the restaurant business (why you should never buy fish on a Monday) as well as a glimpse into some of the kitchens of New York's finest.A fun, fast read, that also conveniently served as a handy conversation piece with both my sister's boyfriends who work in the industry as well as a good friend of mine who is a chef, all of whom visited this summer.more
On New Year’s Day, I was hungover at a friend’s house and looking for a light read. When I found Kitchen Confidential on his bookshelf I thought it’d be perfect. The fact that it took me 7 months to finish should tell you most of what you need to know about this book.There were certainly things I liked. I do love to cook and it was interesting to get some insight into a professional cook/chef’s world. However, I felt like the biggest problem with this book was that he didn’t know who he was writing for. Portions of the book are written as though the reader knows nothing about professional cooking and goes over some very basic information. Others are written with tons of ‘inside jokes’ and terms that the average person would not know. Come on now, you have to know your audience. There isn’t much I dislike more than inconsistency in a book.I also felt that Mr. Bourdain was annoying as hell. He was so damn proud of himself, and even his self-deprecating humor didn’t do much to convince me that he doesn’t think he’s the most fabulous person on the earth. The prose was overly complicated and it regularly took him forever to get to the point.The sexism, racism and homophobia in this book really rubbed me the wrong way as well. He was completely unapologetic about it and insisted that it’s just ‘the way things are’ and that these people aren’t really racist – they just say racist things all the time! Duh! I was embarrassed by the way Mr. Bourdain felt the need to fall all over himself every time there was a mention of a successful woman in the kitchen, as though a few mentions of women makes up for all his sexism. It’s kind of like your neighborhood racist insisting that he’s not racist because he has himself a black friend!All that said, there were some interesting chapters. I learned a few things and there wasn’t really a point where I considered giving up on this book. It just didn’t excite me enough to pick up on a regular basis.more
The tagline for this book is something like "sex, drugs, and haute cuisine," and that about sums it up. Bourdain takes the reader on a journey through his culinary days, from dishwasher to head chef. This is not a good book for vegetarians, those offended by crude language, or anyone grossed out by frank descriptions of animal flesh. I found, in general, that these autobiographical essays entertained me thoroughly but also convinced me that I'd rather not experience such things first hand. Bourdain's average day makes me tired just thinking about it. While I appreciated the advice about restaurants and tips for would-be chefs, my favorite parts were unquestionably the anecdotes and adventures. Bourdain's cynical but generally amused and appreciative view of the crazy characters he's encountered never failed to make me smile. Sure, these are not people I'd want to associate with in person but they're fun to get to know vicariously. I will definitely have to pick up some of Bourdain's other books.more
An interesting look at the world of cooks. Anthony Bourdain is an interesting character. I loved the way he describe his life and the world of kitchen. I loved his description of food and became somewhat envious of all the cooks. I would have like to be able to work in such a depraved environment (funny isn't it)more
Written by a chef working 17-hour days in a New York restaurant (when did he find the time?), this memoir supposedly exposes the “culinary underbelly.” I found it entertaining enough, but I wanted to know how a restaurant really works. Bourdain never really got his teeth into that. Instead, it was an amusing anecdote, an exaggeration designed to impress, an inside joke for his friends on each page. I thought 90 percent was faulty memory or just plain embellishment. And at the end, I didn’t know much more than when I started, other than that professional chefs look down on those of us who want to learn more about the restaurant business. But I will be fair: I did learn a few things, and I was moderately entertained.more
Read all 115 reviews

Reviews

The man can write. It was amazing to see someone write about something that they loved. It was clear as day that Anthony Bourdain is in love with food and everything that comes with it. His infatuation with that world is a reminder for us all to follow our dreams.more
Stands the test of time as a wry and candid look at the industry.more
A classic behind the scenes look at restaurants and working in a kitchen.more
Perhaps if Mr. Bourdain spent less time attempting to convince the reader that he's the most fabulous, intelligent, masterful chef to have ever graced the world with his presence, we may have a half-way decent book on our hands. Instead, we see Mr. Bourdain gloat about smoking marijuana, snorting coke, having sex, and generally being better than every single human being who surrounds him. Not only that, but many of the passages in the book are so outlandishly ludicrous that I find it difficult to ever imagine the scenarios actually playing out in real life. This reads less like a autobiography and more like Mr. Bourdain desperately trying to prove to the world he has led, and continues to lead, a totally rock-star, ultra-badass life that is definitely cooler than yours, because he is way better than you. Ugh. Save yourself a few hundred pages of un-contained ego-tripping, and read something else. Would rate 0 stars if possible.more
This took me a lot longer to read than I expected. I think I got a little caught up in the technical cooking terms and concepts that I wasn't familiar with. Otherwise, pretty enjoyable.more
The first half (funny and interesting) was much better than the second half (self-indulgent and boring). Brought back a lot of memories. I've worked with the characters Bourdain describes. I would recommend the audiobook. Bourdain, in addition to being a deadpan laugh riot, reads very well.more
An interesting look behind the scenes and some scary warnings: no more mussels in a restaurant or fish on Monday for me. The beginning chapters felt slow and a bit awkward and I am still not sure that I needed a chapter on the rules surrounding crude kitchen talk, but again that may be just me.more
this dude talks about food and cooking with the passion most people reserve for God. absolutely fascinating - his tone, the way he describes things - makes you want to jump right onto his kitchen staff. seriously - one of my favorite books now. highly recommend this even if you don't like to cook - this is amazing. And I want to go to Tokyo.more
Way more fun than I expected!more
I kept hearing about this book from two friends, and finally read it largely out of self defense. Unfortunately, Bourdain comes across as a bit of an ass, and I gave up on drug-soaked memoirs long ago.

He "exposes" the dark underbelly of the culinary world, and after a couple hundred pages of nothing but over-the-top descriptions of co-workers, restaurant owners and his own escapades, I lost interest.

Or more accurately, I lost trust in his perceptions. Everything can't always be larger than life, and "gonzo" tends to wear out over time.

Bourdain's description of an average workday (and what it took to keep a restaurant running) was interesting, but overall, I had trouble staying interested.
more
A stark, dirty and humerous autobiography of chef Anthony Bourdain. He never holds anything back and the book is all the better for it. It makes me almost fondly look back on the years I worked in restaurants and shows me just how universal some restaurant behaviour can be.

A great book I will definitely read his other work as well.more
This book is pretty much what I thought it would be - Anthony Bourdain's crass and (maybe?0 somewhat honest look at some of the kitchen culture in restaurants in America.

I think I would have liked it better if I had read it when it first came out, but I like Bourdain and I like his flavor of attitude, so reading his look at the kitchen culture he started off in was fun.more
I'm hesitant to say this is a 4-star book, but I did enjoy it a lot, so I guess that makes it 4 stars. A lot of the information here is dated by now and has become common knowledge, but it's still fun to listen to, if only for Bourdain's gutter mouth and sneering references to Emeril.

I'll probably read some of his other books, but this was an enjoyable enough introduction.more
Written by celebrity chef, Bourdain gives readers tips to never eat mussels in restaurants, to avoid Sunday Brunchs and to never order seafood on Friday-Monday.

Very witty and addictive biography that somehow after finishing with the book, you will have a better understanding of the kitchens and respect to all chefs.more
It is such fun to read Bourdain. I've read the fiction book he alludes to in Kitchen Confidential (along with the other fiction book he's written and the small history of Typhoid Mary). Bourdain is an unapologetic wiseass, trying to reform badass, whose current reputation rests on his badassery in the food world (and around the world eating things most mortals would run away from) and his honest assessment of what's right, and wrong, with the food someone has cooked for him. Watching him as judge on Top Chef was one of the biggest delights I ever witnessed. But I digress, this "Insider's Edition" of Kitchen Confidential contains hand written notes and a new afterword which made reading it again even more fun. One thing Bourdain has convinced me off, I do not belong in the restaurant business except as a patron.more
The information was interesting, and the author was funny, in a weird New York way. I listened to this as a book on tap and I have to say that books narrated by the author - especially when that author is from New York or New Jersey is very annoying.more
If you love to watch Anthony Bourdain's tv programs, you'll also love this book -- and I'm a fan of both. It's a great look at the behind the scenes of restaurants. Bourdain is also an adviser for the HBO series Treme and you can see the "flavor" of his insights from this book in the restaurants and the chefs on that series. His is one of the very few shows I watch on the travel channel and probably one of the few chef memoirs I can see myself reading.more
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain made me recall my first escargot. Having occurred only once in the first half century of my life, it stands out as the only culinary risk I took of my own free will. Bravery played no role in my decision, as my ignorance was blocking it out. We were in Montreal so that dad could represent the Volunteer State spirit at an international gathering of Kiwanians. This obviously called for a gourmet dining experience. In the midst of the 1970’s etiquette did not require us to wear ties, but I believe we donned our Sunday-go-to meeting leisure suits out of respect for the culture that was about to expand our horizons. When in Quebec do as the Quebecians would do, and thus the stage of the adventure was a French restaurant, and escargot was the appetizer.Texture far more than taste is the determining factor in my liking or disdaining what I eat, and to me the escargot had the same feel as shrimp. They were also smothered in butter and garlic which I love. In the middle of my third escargot I was given its translation from French to English, and I learned I was eating snails. The battle line was now drawn between my taste buds and my primordial instinct to hurl. There was no turning back. Reading Kitchen Confidential was déjà vu of my escargot night in Montreal. Bourdain’s work started by carpet bombing the reader with “F bombs” which instantly made it impossible to defend oneself from the intolerant bigotry that followed. The only redeeming quality in Mr. Bourdain’s clichéd prejudice is that there is not a single ethnic/religious/racial group that escaped his ire. The palate for his masterpiece was a combination of cursing, foul mouthed, sexually inappropriate, chauvinistic spew of metered contempt that would have made Tupac Shakur and Dennis Miller proud. The crescendo came in the chapter A Day in the Life. All of this was laid on a foundation of love for cooking and the life of a restaurateur. Like the escargot affair it was too late to turn back.His rhythm, tone, and honesty created a seductive literary gravity that would not allow escape. So much so that I realized only after I finished the book that I don’t possess even the most rudimentary kitchen knowledge to have any idea what the man was saying about cooking!more
I didn't really know what to expect... very much Anthony Bourdain, but much more of a memoir than a expose...more
My boyfriend and I are OBSESSED with Anthony Bourdain. We've seen every episode of No Reservations, own most of the DVDs, own almost all of his books, etc. etc. I think my boyfriend may even prefer Anthony Bourdain to me. My boyfriend actually read this one about a year ago after I bought it, and insisted that I had to read it because OMG you can hear Bourdain's voice telling the story, it sounds just like him. And I'm so glad I finally read it. Kitchen Confidential was so fun, an interesting look at Bourdain's years in the underbelly of the restaurant business, full of his own story as well as fascinating (and often scary) anecdotes about what goes on behind the scenes, in the kitchen. And it's very well-written; it absolutely feels like Bourdain telling a series of stories, like he would tell them sitting around the dinner table. (Okay, some of them are gross, so maybe at the bar.) Definitely recommended for anybody who loves food, or maybe just loves Anthony Bourdain.more
It's a great book. It's full of the flavors and aromas of late 20th Century New York. Bourdain is a good storyteller. and paint lovely pictures of his cooking exploits. A great read!more
Great account by a gifted writer (he wrote mystery thrillers!) of the restaurant business in New York and the Northeast.more
Kitchen Confidential- adventures from the kitchen underbelly. These are stories of what goes on behind the scenes in big restaurants’ kitchens mixed into Bourdain’s autobiography. I enjoyed most of it. Bourdain is extremely opinionated and manic about food, has vegetarians and vegans in deep contempt, but appears to have tonnes of energy and quite a bit of integrity in the work ethics department. As for the secrets of the industry, I learned never to eat brunch, or any salad on special, or on Monday nights. The writing, even though highly entertaining, is not for everybody. Definitely not for those who don’t have high tolerance for profanities and foul language. I am apparently late getting to this book, but I knew nothing about the author or his TV programme, or the fact that this book was published 11 years ago. It’s read by the author, and very well to that.more
I only really discovered Anthony Boundain a few years ago through No Reservations. A badass, traveling the world, eating all sorts of funky thing, I was in crush bliss. Then I paid attention to what he was saying and where he went and was truly hooked. I knew about KC when it first came out but never got my hands on it. This is the chronicle of how he fell into the world of restaurants, from a shack on Cape Cod to the ins and outs of the New York City food scene. Not only is it a shot of Bourdain's life and what made him, but also of what restaurants used to be like in this country. It's becoming less common for chefs to work with ingredients purchased that day, instead relying on processed foods. Where is the real skill in that? There is something to be said for knowing when to use a shallot in your dish. If you love cooking, read this. If you want to become a professional chef, this is required. If you're not completely put off from the profession when you're done, maybe it's one for you. Just don't act the way Bourdain did.more
I picked this one of the shelf of my sister-in-law, finally in the mood to give it a whirl. I have very little knowledge of the restaurant business, and I am probably the opposite of a foodie. In fact, I was given a lot of flack this summer from my sister's boyfriend, who does own a very good restaurant in Victoria, about never having tried an oyster, and about never wanting to try one. This makes me in his eyes, as well as Bourdain's it turns out, the biggest cretin on earth. Oh well. So be it. There is something about sliding something that looks like a squashed slug down my throat that I can't stomach.The quote I remember the most from this book is "Your body is not a temple. It is an amusement park." Or something of the sort. He had his first food revelation on a trip to France with his parents, where, yes, he tried his first oyster, while fishing with an old man. The rest of his life was spent treating his body like a death-defying rollercoaster: substance abuse, alcohol and of course, the best food. There is some interesting commentary on the restaurant business (why you should never buy fish on a Monday) as well as a glimpse into some of the kitchens of New York's finest.A fun, fast read, that also conveniently served as a handy conversation piece with both my sister's boyfriends who work in the industry as well as a good friend of mine who is a chef, all of whom visited this summer.more
On New Year’s Day, I was hungover at a friend’s house and looking for a light read. When I found Kitchen Confidential on his bookshelf I thought it’d be perfect. The fact that it took me 7 months to finish should tell you most of what you need to know about this book.There were certainly things I liked. I do love to cook and it was interesting to get some insight into a professional cook/chef’s world. However, I felt like the biggest problem with this book was that he didn’t know who he was writing for. Portions of the book are written as though the reader knows nothing about professional cooking and goes over some very basic information. Others are written with tons of ‘inside jokes’ and terms that the average person would not know. Come on now, you have to know your audience. There isn’t much I dislike more than inconsistency in a book.I also felt that Mr. Bourdain was annoying as hell. He was so damn proud of himself, and even his self-deprecating humor didn’t do much to convince me that he doesn’t think he’s the most fabulous person on the earth. The prose was overly complicated and it regularly took him forever to get to the point.The sexism, racism and homophobia in this book really rubbed me the wrong way as well. He was completely unapologetic about it and insisted that it’s just ‘the way things are’ and that these people aren’t really racist – they just say racist things all the time! Duh! I was embarrassed by the way Mr. Bourdain felt the need to fall all over himself every time there was a mention of a successful woman in the kitchen, as though a few mentions of women makes up for all his sexism. It’s kind of like your neighborhood racist insisting that he’s not racist because he has himself a black friend!All that said, there were some interesting chapters. I learned a few things and there wasn’t really a point where I considered giving up on this book. It just didn’t excite me enough to pick up on a regular basis.more
The tagline for this book is something like "sex, drugs, and haute cuisine," and that about sums it up. Bourdain takes the reader on a journey through his culinary days, from dishwasher to head chef. This is not a good book for vegetarians, those offended by crude language, or anyone grossed out by frank descriptions of animal flesh. I found, in general, that these autobiographical essays entertained me thoroughly but also convinced me that I'd rather not experience such things first hand. Bourdain's average day makes me tired just thinking about it. While I appreciated the advice about restaurants and tips for would-be chefs, my favorite parts were unquestionably the anecdotes and adventures. Bourdain's cynical but generally amused and appreciative view of the crazy characters he's encountered never failed to make me smile. Sure, these are not people I'd want to associate with in person but they're fun to get to know vicariously. I will definitely have to pick up some of Bourdain's other books.more
An interesting look at the world of cooks. Anthony Bourdain is an interesting character. I loved the way he describe his life and the world of kitchen. I loved his description of food and became somewhat envious of all the cooks. I would have like to be able to work in such a depraved environment (funny isn't it)more
Written by a chef working 17-hour days in a New York restaurant (when did he find the time?), this memoir supposedly exposes the “culinary underbelly.” I found it entertaining enough, but I wanted to know how a restaurant really works. Bourdain never really got his teeth into that. Instead, it was an amusing anecdote, an exaggeration designed to impress, an inside joke for his friends on each page. I thought 90 percent was faulty memory or just plain embellishment. And at the end, I didn’t know much more than when I started, other than that professional chefs look down on those of us who want to learn more about the restaurant business. But I will be fair: I did learn a few things, and I was moderately entertained.more
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