Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

by Anthony Bourdain

A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisinenow with all-new, never-before-published material.New York Chef Tony Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir/expose. Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine."

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 4.06
  • Pages: 312
  • Publish Date: January 9th 2007 by Ecco/Harper Perennial
  • Isbn10: 0060899220
  • Isbn13: 9780060899226

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My first exposure to Anthony Bourdain, via his show No Reservations, left me with with the sense of a true asshole who sneered down his nose with aging punk-rock disdain at people and things he deemed beneath him, and, honestly, it seemed like most people and things were beneath him. Sure, Bourdain is still cynical, obscene, and wears that brusque New York attitude like a badge of honor, but what stands out in his book is his glowing admiration for people who earned his respect for their willingness to work or pushing him down the right path as a chef (his almost loving references to Bigfoot and Pino are prime examples), his seeming compulsion to take in less than desirable underlings, and his complete willingness to point out when and where he screwed up. He even goes so far as to point out that the only reason he is able to hang out with and talk to the Michelin-starred chefs he always admired from afar is because of his notoriety as author and TV host.

I remember first discovering Anthony Bourdain on the Food Network many years ago. It was 3am and I was unable to sleep and here was this brooding, hot piece of ass chain smoking and touring Russia.

I don't know." I can't explain why it's taken me this longnearly 20 years since it was publishedto read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential . Bourdain was a natural storytellernot only did he use food to tell the stories he (and his bosses) wanted to create, but he also loved to talk about the ways the culinary world has changed through the years, how what restaurants serve (and what people eat) has changed, and how the role of the chef has changed with it. I loved everything about this bookfrom his days of being a cocky young man thinking he knew more (and could do more) than those who had been cooking for years, to his struggles to find the chef's job in a restaurant where he felt he belonged for more than a few weeks. Sure, reading Kitchen Confidential made me sad as I realized once again the magnitude of Bourdain's loss.

Some parts of this book talk about fantastic food and will leave you drooling. As a result, you will want to hop the next flight and travel the world visiting as many restaurants and trying as many types of food as you can.

I don't feel too bad writing this review, because Bourdain certainly never minces his words (culinary pun intended;-) I was expecting entertaining anecdotes, of course not PC, knowing Bourdain, but frankly I was bored most of the time and started skimming two thirds of the way through.

Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential There is a certain thrill to being the first person to reach the top of a mountain, the first to eat at a soon-to-be famous restaurant, the first to discover an author, a band, a new food or experience. I might have seen Bourdain's books as I wandered through a bookstore. I might have seen him on CNN, the Travel Channel or the Food Network while searching for another show on another station. The book is a quick read. My initial reaction to finishing this book is the same I get when I discover a fantastic new restaurant (Republica Empanada in Mesa, AZ) -- I want to take friends and family to it.

If you are like me and love food, watching Top Chef and Food Channel, think that cooking is art, an outlet for creativity, consider chefs featured on such shows (including Anthony Bourdain) as super-sophisticated artists, you are up for a surprise with this book. I thought I simply had a misfortune of working in crappy places, but, apparently, all cooks are exactly like that! In his book, cooks are a dysfunctional lot - drug-addicted, unable to hold a "normal" job, people from the fringes of the society. Only a few executive chefs in high-end restaurants have a luxury of being creative with the food they make. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book to all food lovers and especially people who are toying with the idea of becoming restaurateurs or cooks.

I'm not sure why I picked this up, I guess because I heard Bourdain was the "punk rock chef," but besides listening to the Sex Pistols and Velvet Underground while he cooked, there's not a whole lot else going on of a punk rock nature. The only really funny anecdote I found was when he was in an interview for chef at a new steakhouse in New York, things were going smoothly until the owner asked him, "What do you know about me?" Bourdain thought it over, not sure what he should say, so he said the truth, "Nothing." So then the guy gives him a weird look, and the interview ends with Bourdain knowing he's not getting the job.