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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 Dec 10, 2008
ISBN: 9781596917248
List price: $9.99
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A classic behind the scenes look at restaurants and working in a kitchen.read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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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.
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Fun read. Bourdain writes in a very frank and informal style. I liked that the book wasn't quite an autobiography - it talked about his coming up in the cooking world, but he spent very little time on his wife or his personal life. Kitchen Confidential is often quoted for some of the advice Bourdain dispenses (including the infamous "never order fish on Monday"), but this is actually a very small part of the book (compromising a small part of a single chapter). The rest of the book has a chef-turned-author alternating between waxing poetic about the food he loves, and deriding his extremely dysfunctional "family" (the cooks and chefs in his life). The prose about his family is honest and full of both genuine love and hate, and while the talk about food is over the top, it can be forgiven as ramblings from a man in the middle of a lifelong on-again off-again love affair with food.read more
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This was a fun memoir from a chef in the New York restaurant scene. Great for people who love food and for those who work or have worked in the restaurant industry...read more
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I came to this book a little late so the scandalous tidbits he reveals about the restaurant industry, like don't order fish on Monday, beware the swordfish worms, and if you order meat well-done know it will be microwaved, were already old news to me. Plus I worked my way through college in a greasy spoon so there isn't a lot you could tell me about a commerical kitchen that would surprise me (not for the squeamish or germaphobes). Despite having the juicy stuff ruined for me I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on an audio book and his Bourdain's performance really captured the pace and rythm of the kitchen itself. Most of all I really related to his obvious passion for food and appreciation for everything involved with its preparation and consumption.read more
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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.read more
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If you are a fan of Tony on the Food Network you will enjoy this book. Its gives you a perspective of his life and reads just like he talks/editorializes on the show.read more
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Kitchen Confidential was one of the better memoirs I have read. Bourdain uses a straightforward style to bare his past and experiences, both good and bad, and opens up a world that exists just on the other side of the kitchen doors at your favorite restaurant. I enjoyed every second of the time I spent reading it and was only disappointed because it went so fast.read more
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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.read more
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This is a look at the underbelly of the restaurant industry and what it really means to be a chef...the opposite of food network. I've seen Bourdain's show and the writing sounds exactly like he talks to the camera. The drugs and lifestyle was a little shocking to me. I'm interested to read more of his books.read more
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I remember a couple years ago watching Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations, and being repulsed by the guy. I found him cocky, irritating and at times the show seemed to go nowhere. So when I would see him on, I'd turn the channel. I don't know when it happened or how it happened, but I started liking the guy. I started liking his show. Maybe it's like the first time you see a new model of car, and you think it's ugly. Sometime later you find yourself dreaming about buying one. At any rate I decided to read his book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures In The Culinary Underbelly. I'm glad I did. This book chroniclesBourdain's relationship with food from the time he was a kid to becoming chef at Les Halles. It's well written, interesting, funny and as the subtitle states, one gets a look at the "culinary underbelly" from Bourdain's perspective. Bourdain started out in a privileged family but struck out on his own, landed a job as a dishwasher to pay bills, and his culinary career was born. From there you get to see both his humiliations and triumphs as he works his way up. He doesn't seem to pull any punches, he lays it all out, the drugs, the hard times and the fun he had. I think just about anyone would find this a good read, but if you're interested in what it's like working in a professional kitchens, I think you'll like it a lot.read more
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I didn't think this was the delight most people I know thought it was, but it was funny and that's something.read more
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As some one who has spent the past few years of her life running around restaurants, working my way through school I picked up this book hoping to laugh a little and read about someone whose been in way worse situations than me. For the first half of this book this is exactly what I got. Bourdain's rise from dishwasher to chef at the Rainbow Room really demonstrated Bourdain's love of food and how hard he was willing to work to become a chef. After that however I found myself reading a disorganized jumble of anecdotes mixed with some self pity and too much pride. I got tired of reading Bourdain's pity party of working for managers who don't know what they're doing, applying for jobs that were beneath him and cooking food that was gasp not haute cuisine! You almost wanted to reach into the book, grab Bourdain, shake him and tell him to suck it up! Where had the drive, the ambition and the humour gone from earlier in the book? Oh and “sex, drugs and bad behaviour”? Only alluded too. They were just brief passages connecting stories that left you wanting more. Bourdain gives us an honest account of his experience in the restaurant industry. Do not, however, assume this is everyone's experience. Sure there are things we would rather customers didn't know. But the restaurant industry I know isn't a top secret exclusive club. It's filled with a bunch of people, who even with the bad days enjoy what they do (yes even a lot of waiter's like what they do, despite what you may believe) and the chef's I know are proud of it!Bourdain is a talented chef and I am a huge fan of his show No Reservations but this book left me wanting more. I wanted more of the “bad behaviour” he constantly refers to. I wanted more tips and tricks that aren't common knowledge for a lot of people (like owning a chef's knife – I own one, my mother owns one, my grandmother got one for Christmas). And I want less complaints about other staff in the restaurant (waiters, managers, hosts, runners etc). You're a team! Now act like it! If Bourdain can do all that, than I will happily pick up his next book and try again. Until then I'll stick with my own culinary adventure.read more
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wish i could it give 6 stars...read more
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A fun poke into the seedy culinary underbelly, from drugs to gluttony. An interesting insight into the non-glamorous life of a chef, and a great story. if you're interested in why you shouldn't order the shrimp cocktail at your favourite restaurant, this is the book for you.read more
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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.read more
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Enjoyable, breezy book. Bourdain's style is engaging, but it has its limitations: this isn't a book that will stay with me for a long time. I was glad to have such an easy-to-read memoir with me on a recent trip, however. Made time fly during the dull moments.read more
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I didn't really know what to expect... very much Anthony Bourdain, but much more of a memoir than a expose...read more
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I learned a quite a bit about the life of a chef. I recommend this to anyone who loves to cook. It is a light read, but it provides a viewpoint into the culinary world.read more
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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.read more
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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.read more
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I read his second book (Medium Raw) first... it was nowhere near good as this one.. I nearly did not finish it.read more
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It's been a long time since a book made me laugh, literally and consistently, out loud. Not even books emblazoned with blurbs stating this fact from bribed reviewers made me sputter the way Bourdain's ranty exposé/memoir did, at least in the beginning. The funniest passage happens early in the book when Bourdain is laying out the dos and don'ts of restauranting(eating at and running one) and mentions one of his most hated groups:"Vegetarians and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It’s healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I’ve worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold."I'm a vegetarian, and I still think this fuck-the-world attitude is funny and refreshing.While the first half or so of the book shows off the swaggering, ballsy, boy's club side of Bourdain's early career and the myriad of kitchens he's toured, it belies the concluding chapters. For all his machismo, Bourdain is a softie at heart, easily brought down by good food prepared simply and absolutely humbled by his associates and contemporaries that, in his words, cook better than he does. As he would chronicle in his subsequent book A Cook's Tour, his passion for every kind of edible substance, delectable or not, ordinary or exotic, grandiose or gross knows no bounds, which often translates into a certain fearlessness when approaching foods like offal, fugu, and sheep's testicles.Plus, in a Louise Books-like coincidence, Bourdain is as gifted a writer as he is(presumably, as I haven't had the time or resources to visit his diner in New York) a chef. The highlights of Kitchen Confidential include the "day in a life" chapters, where he takes our hand and shows us step by step what it's like to "work the line" and churn out hundreds of plates a night. This eye for detail naturally translates into the travelogue pieces he prefers to write now.However, if you have any aspirations of working in or running a restaurant, reading this book is probably fair warning. Being a line cook isn't about being an auteur or an innovator, it's about being a soldier and following orders; and being a chef is more like being a general. While this is a little disillusioning, it does little to dilute the draw of the industry, especially to us, the diners.read more
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This was an interesting story from one of my favorite chefs on his experiences in Provincetown and the New York restaurant scene. He has a geat sense of humor, but after a while, his gritty attitude got a bit old.read more
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IS this about a line cook/chef or a rock star from the eighties? Crazy stuff but having worked in the food industry for many years, I could say it's the truth. Great for viewers of his show.read more
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As someone who loves restaurants, from greasy spoons to places that give you more forks than you need, I always wondered how a kitchen worked. How does everything come together at the same time, how does a chef maintain quality, how do you know how much of a certain fish will sell on a Friday, and what kind of people do this work? Kitchen Confidential answers all of those questions, but felt more like a narrative than an expose. Bourdain's no nonsense, truth-at-all-costs persona is the reason this book is at the top tier of food writing. When Bourdain describes his first oyster, you realize why he chose this path in life.If you like to eat, and eat out, you have to read this book.read more
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Great book about life in the kitchen written by someone with a real talent to tell a story. Book can be harsh but it is never not real. This is a must read for anyone planning to work in food service industry.read more
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I was both entertained, and a little disappointed in the book. I enjoyed the anecdotes, but they never delved much below surface level. I learned about food, though a lot in the book I knew already. This book was of its moment, and momentous in the changes it helped inspire. Eight years later it’s still good, but perhaps more culturally significant in retrospect than currently relevant.read more
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A classic behind the scenes look at restaurants and working in a kitchen.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Fun read. Bourdain writes in a very frank and informal style. I liked that the book wasn't quite an autobiography - it talked about his coming up in the cooking world, but he spent very little time on his wife or his personal life. Kitchen Confidential is often quoted for some of the advice Bourdain dispenses (including the infamous "never order fish on Monday"), but this is actually a very small part of the book (compromising a small part of a single chapter). The rest of the book has a chef-turned-author alternating between waxing poetic about the food he loves, and deriding his extremely dysfunctional "family" (the cooks and chefs in his life). The prose about his family is honest and full of both genuine love and hate, and while the talk about food is over the top, it can be forgiven as ramblings from a man in the middle of a lifelong on-again off-again love affair with food.
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This was a fun memoir from a chef in the New York restaurant scene. Great for people who love food and for those who work or have worked in the restaurant industry...
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I came to this book a little late so the scandalous tidbits he reveals about the restaurant industry, like don't order fish on Monday, beware the swordfish worms, and if you order meat well-done know it will be microwaved, were already old news to me. Plus I worked my way through college in a greasy spoon so there isn't a lot you could tell me about a commerical kitchen that would surprise me (not for the squeamish or germaphobes). Despite having the juicy stuff ruined for me I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on an audio book and his Bourdain's performance really captured the pace and rythm of the kitchen itself. Most of all I really related to his obvious passion for food and appreciation for everything involved with its preparation and consumption.
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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.
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If you are a fan of Tony on the Food Network you will enjoy this book. Its gives you a perspective of his life and reads just like he talks/editorializes on the show.
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Kitchen Confidential was one of the better memoirs I have read. Bourdain uses a straightforward style to bare his past and experiences, both good and bad, and opens up a world that exists just on the other side of the kitchen doors at your favorite restaurant. I enjoyed every second of the time I spent reading it and was only disappointed because it went so fast.
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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.
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This is a look at the underbelly of the restaurant industry and what it really means to be a chef...the opposite of food network. I've seen Bourdain's show and the writing sounds exactly like he talks to the camera. The drugs and lifestyle was a little shocking to me. I'm interested to read more of his books.
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I remember a couple years ago watching Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations, and being repulsed by the guy. I found him cocky, irritating and at times the show seemed to go nowhere. So when I would see him on, I'd turn the channel. I don't know when it happened or how it happened, but I started liking the guy. I started liking his show. Maybe it's like the first time you see a new model of car, and you think it's ugly. Sometime later you find yourself dreaming about buying one. At any rate I decided to read his book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures In The Culinary Underbelly. I'm glad I did. This book chroniclesBourdain's relationship with food from the time he was a kid to becoming chef at Les Halles. It's well written, interesting, funny and as the subtitle states, one gets a look at the "culinary underbelly" from Bourdain's perspective. Bourdain started out in a privileged family but struck out on his own, landed a job as a dishwasher to pay bills, and his culinary career was born. From there you get to see both his humiliations and triumphs as he works his way up. He doesn't seem to pull any punches, he lays it all out, the drugs, the hard times and the fun he had. I think just about anyone would find this a good read, but if you're interested in what it's like working in a professional kitchens, I think you'll like it a lot.
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I didn't think this was the delight most people I know thought it was, but it was funny and that's something.
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As some one who has spent the past few years of her life running around restaurants, working my way through school I picked up this book hoping to laugh a little and read about someone whose been in way worse situations than me. For the first half of this book this is exactly what I got. Bourdain's rise from dishwasher to chef at the Rainbow Room really demonstrated Bourdain's love of food and how hard he was willing to work to become a chef. After that however I found myself reading a disorganized jumble of anecdotes mixed with some self pity and too much pride. I got tired of reading Bourdain's pity party of working for managers who don't know what they're doing, applying for jobs that were beneath him and cooking food that was gasp not haute cuisine! You almost wanted to reach into the book, grab Bourdain, shake him and tell him to suck it up! Where had the drive, the ambition and the humour gone from earlier in the book? Oh and “sex, drugs and bad behaviour”? Only alluded too. They were just brief passages connecting stories that left you wanting more. Bourdain gives us an honest account of his experience in the restaurant industry. Do not, however, assume this is everyone's experience. Sure there are things we would rather customers didn't know. But the restaurant industry I know isn't a top secret exclusive club. It's filled with a bunch of people, who even with the bad days enjoy what they do (yes even a lot of waiter's like what they do, despite what you may believe) and the chef's I know are proud of it!Bourdain is a talented chef and I am a huge fan of his show No Reservations but this book left me wanting more. I wanted more of the “bad behaviour” he constantly refers to. I wanted more tips and tricks that aren't common knowledge for a lot of people (like owning a chef's knife – I own one, my mother owns one, my grandmother got one for Christmas). And I want less complaints about other staff in the restaurant (waiters, managers, hosts, runners etc). You're a team! Now act like it! If Bourdain can do all that, than I will happily pick up his next book and try again. Until then I'll stick with my own culinary adventure.
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wish i could it give 6 stars...
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A fun poke into the seedy culinary underbelly, from drugs to gluttony. An interesting insight into the non-glamorous life of a chef, and a great story. if you're interested in why you shouldn't order the shrimp cocktail at your favourite restaurant, this is the book for you.
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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.
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Enjoyable, breezy book. Bourdain's style is engaging, but it has its limitations: this isn't a book that will stay with me for a long time. I was glad to have such an easy-to-read memoir with me on a recent trip, however. Made time fly during the dull moments.
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I didn't really know what to expect... very much Anthony Bourdain, but much more of a memoir than a expose...
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I learned a quite a bit about the life of a chef. I recommend this to anyone who loves to cook. It is a light read, but it provides a viewpoint into the culinary world.
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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.
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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.
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I read his second book (Medium Raw) first... it was nowhere near good as this one.. I nearly did not finish it.
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It's been a long time since a book made me laugh, literally and consistently, out loud. Not even books emblazoned with blurbs stating this fact from bribed reviewers made me sputter the way Bourdain's ranty exposé/memoir did, at least in the beginning. The funniest passage happens early in the book when Bourdain is laying out the dos and don'ts of restauranting(eating at and running one) and mentions one of his most hated groups:"Vegetarians and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It’s healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I’ve worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold."I'm a vegetarian, and I still think this fuck-the-world attitude is funny and refreshing.While the first half or so of the book shows off the swaggering, ballsy, boy's club side of Bourdain's early career and the myriad of kitchens he's toured, it belies the concluding chapters. For all his machismo, Bourdain is a softie at heart, easily brought down by good food prepared simply and absolutely humbled by his associates and contemporaries that, in his words, cook better than he does. As he would chronicle in his subsequent book A Cook's Tour, his passion for every kind of edible substance, delectable or not, ordinary or exotic, grandiose or gross knows no bounds, which often translates into a certain fearlessness when approaching foods like offal, fugu, and sheep's testicles.Plus, in a Louise Books-like coincidence, Bourdain is as gifted a writer as he is(presumably, as I haven't had the time or resources to visit his diner in New York) a chef. The highlights of Kitchen Confidential include the "day in a life" chapters, where he takes our hand and shows us step by step what it's like to "work the line" and churn out hundreds of plates a night. This eye for detail naturally translates into the travelogue pieces he prefers to write now.However, if you have any aspirations of working in or running a restaurant, reading this book is probably fair warning. Being a line cook isn't about being an auteur or an innovator, it's about being a soldier and following orders; and being a chef is more like being a general. While this is a little disillusioning, it does little to dilute the draw of the industry, especially to us, the diners.
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This was an interesting story from one of my favorite chefs on his experiences in Provincetown and the New York restaurant scene. He has a geat sense of humor, but after a while, his gritty attitude got a bit old.
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IS this about a line cook/chef or a rock star from the eighties? Crazy stuff but having worked in the food industry for many years, I could say it's the truth. Great for viewers of his show.
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As someone who loves restaurants, from greasy spoons to places that give you more forks than you need, I always wondered how a kitchen worked. How does everything come together at the same time, how does a chef maintain quality, how do you know how much of a certain fish will sell on a Friday, and what kind of people do this work? Kitchen Confidential answers all of those questions, but felt more like a narrative than an expose. Bourdain's no nonsense, truth-at-all-costs persona is the reason this book is at the top tier of food writing. When Bourdain describes his first oyster, you realize why he chose this path in life.If you like to eat, and eat out, you have to read this book.
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Great book about life in the kitchen written by someone with a real talent to tell a story. Book can be harsh but it is never not real. This is a must read for anyone planning to work in food service industry.
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I was both entertained, and a little disappointed in the book. I enjoyed the anecdotes, but they never delved much below surface level. I learned about food, though a lot in the book I knew already. This book was of its moment, and momentous in the changes it helped inspire. Eight years later it’s still good, but perhaps more culturally significant in retrospect than currently relevant.
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