Halfway through this book I remembered I don t have the slightest bit of interest in the culinary arts whatsoever Luckily, I was listening to it on audiotape Unluckily, cassette 4 broke and I had to read the rest with my eyes 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 He was a drug addict, but the book kind of skips right over that, which would have been interesting I d rather it had been of a total autobiography than just a chronicle of his history of the restaurant biz, but once again, it s my fault because that s clearly what the book is labeled as I wanted dirty stories from the seedy underbelly of the high class dining world, but it didn t really get much wilder than a bunch of cooks making racist, sexist, homophobic jokes Dude, that s not exclusive to the culinary world, that s pretty much behind the scenes at any workplace, or really any time you get a lot of misplaced testosterone in one room You re not leading a pirate crew, you re supervising people who are following recipes I rented a dvd from his show No Reservations and was again surprised at myself for forgetting I don t really care about exotic foods, and that s a traveling show, which I m also not into So now I m watching like 3 hours of a guy I don t like, eating shit I don t care about, in places I m not interested in going to It should be noted that I do like Rachel Ray s Tasty Travels, but that s another story I don t want to get into 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 He walks a few blocks down the street before he realizes the guy actually asked, What do you know about MEAT. Maybe 3.5 stars, sometimes 4 It has lots of interesting anecdotes, but it was somewhat repetitive at parts While interesting for the non culinary inclined, I think it would be better received by someone with a kitchen background or a person who has worked in food and beverage.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.Other parts will disgust you and leave you nauseous You will never look a restaurant food the same way and may not want to eat it at all unless you get a good look at the kitchen and the people preparing the food.Bourdain doesn t pull any punches talking about the life of the kitchen staff fueled by drugs, alcohol, sexual innuendo, sarcasm, anger, impatience, and tyranny Some how, as a result, schedules are met, food is delivered, and customers are satisfied Food prep is a lifestyle that can occupy the serious chef 24 7 It is something I will not take for granted in the future.R.I.P Chef Bourdain I love food and I love hot sexy chefs with potty mouths.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 never remembered his name but he haunted my dreams until I re discovered him years later on the Travel Channel show, No Reservations In Kitchen Confidential, he is able to translate his sultry self onto paper But he is not just a piece of meat, my friends He is a very good writer with a quit wit and he conveys a passion that touched my fill in the blank like no other Anthony Bourdain pretty much despises vegetarians, but I do not hold it against him In fact, he makes me wish I was a heartless carnivore like him And we would eat steak tartar together and take bathes together in a pool of goats blood I ve said too much I m sorry. I don t know, you see, how a normal person acts I don t know how to behave outside my kitchen I don t know the rules I m aware of them, sure, but I don t care to observe them any because I haven t had to for so many years Okay, I can put on a jacket, go out for dinner and a movie, and I can eat with a knife and fork without embarrassing my hosts But can I really behave I don t know I can t explain why it s taken me this long nearly 20 years since it was published to read Anthony Bourdain s Kitchen Confidential Having attended culinary school, I m fairly obsessed with all things cooking related, and consider myself to be a bit of a foodie I was also an enormous Bourdain fan, religiously watching his television appearances and loving his take no prisoners philosophy when it came to adventurous eating not something we shared, per se Yet only now, in the few months since his shocking suicide, did I sit down to read his nearly 20 year old look at his journey to executive chef, the knowledge he gained and the trouble he stepped into, time after time.While certainly it s a little eerie and a little sad to read a memoir by someone who subsequently dies, that didn t spoil my enjoyment of this terrific, brash, funny, and at times introspective, book Bourdain was a natural storyteller not 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.Unlike many memoirs, Bourdain was never afraid to admit his flaws, his transgressions, his pet peeves, all of which served to make him human and make his story compelling I loved everything about this book from his days of being a cocky young man thinking he knew and could do 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 than a few weeks He doesn t skimp on his addictions to cocaine, heroin, and whatever else he could find, and he was candid about how those problems nearly ruined his life and his career.While there are moments of vulnerability, there are moments of humor, mischief, and tons of information about the life of a chef at least in 2000 , and why some restaurants and chefs succeed while others fail The infamous chapter, From Our Kitchen to Your Table, in which he warns of some restaurant tricks to get rid of older food although not all of the things he discusses are still true today , is terrific, if not a little bit disturbing How can you not love a book in which the author says, 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 I guess if you re a vegetarian or vegan, you might take umbrage I love Bourdain s writing style, so I ll definitely be picking up some of the other books he wrote Even if you re not an aspiring chef or a foodie or even a home cook, you may enjoy this simply for the pleasure of hearing his words, which are so vivid you probably can imagine him reading them to you It s a great book for cooking pros and novices alike.Sure, reading Kitchen Confidential made me sad as I realized once again the magnitude of Bourdain s loss But I m also so happy he left such a rich legacy, in print, on television, and of course, in food.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at What follows is my summary of this book Blah, blah, blah I m an asshole blah, blah, blah yay, drugs blah, blah, fuck everyone, pork chop, fuck you all, mince, veal, drugs, blood, blah, blah, blah.Maybe you can tell, I am less than impressed What I ultimately took away from this is that Bourdain would not like me I m a vegetarian, for one and I would not like him 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 maybe this is great for really huge fans of the chef, but I guess I m not one of them, give me Nigella any day.Find reviews and bookish fun at R.I.P. Good food is very often, even most often, simple foodAnthony Bourdain, Kitchen ConfidentialThere 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 Well friend, the thrill of a late discovery even when you are 15 years late to the party is still pretty damn sweet 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 I didn t hardly notice him He was like that girl you know in class but have never given much real attention to only later to discover she is witty, wicked, and everything you want in a lover and fear in a daughter.Over Christmas, while visiting and bonding my foodie brother in Arkansas, he introduces me to Parts Unknown on CNN I am hooked I love Bourdain I m addicted to the show It mixes things that mix well my love for travel, my love for food, my love for a damn good story with interesting characters So, I figure, I might need to actually read his book Yeah this one The one that put him on the map The one that turned him from an executive chef with personality to THE chef with personality.The book is a quick read It dances It seems to operate with a certain mechanical, hyper caffeinated efficiency Whatever money it made Bourdain, he probably deserved even Right now, I ve muted my desire to put it on the bookshelf next to my other just reads I want my wife to read it first Oh, I ve got a friend who would love it too 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 I become not just a disciple, but a crazy eyed evangelist. 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 Bourdain definitely crushes all preconceived notions we might have about the industry You remember those foul mouthed, unkempt, ever fired and hired kitchen workers with shifty pasts you ve come across at some points in your life I thought I simply had a misfortune of working in crappy places, but, apparently, all cooks are exactly like that There is no such thing as a sophisticated cook, according to Bourdain In his book, cooks are a dysfunctional lot drug addicted, unable to hold a normal job, people from the fringes of the society Actually, Bourdain is one of these people himself He supports this statement by numerous stories of his drug , crime and sex infused culinary career As for artistry in cooking, there is none Cooking is all about mindless, unvarying repetition Only a few executive chefs in high end restaurants have a luxury of being creative with the food they make.Besides the anecdotes about dysfunctional kitchen workers, Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly is a sort of biographical account of Bourdain s cooking career He talks about how his love for food came about He takes us on his life journey from a dishwasher in a seaside joint to an executive chef position in a swanky NYC restaurant He describes his experiences in failed and successful businesses Offers practical advice about the industry and food The morsels of wisdom I am taking away from this book are don t order specials and don t attend brunch buffets apparently, both are dumping grounds for old leftovers don t eat at places with dirty bathrooms vegetarians are crazy and sickly people who can t be trusted As a narrator, Bourdain is very entertaining He is a no nonsense, no holding back kind of writer, sarcastic and witty and, I assume, quite honest about his exploits One does start to wonder however if he is laying the bad boy thing a little too thick It is interesting that in spite of his years long heroine, cocaine, and alcohol addictions and his bad behavior at work, he not only managed to line one chef job after another in decent places no McDonald s and Shoney s on his resume but maintained a marriage as well While I thought the book was entertaining, I finished reading it thinking it needed some editing help First, it is not very well structured, the narration is not cohesive in any shape or form, it reads like a bunch of anecdotes thrown together in no apparent order The stories of debauchery become repetitive and redundant by the end where I started skipping chapters because none of it was new Finally, seeing some pictures of people and places Bourdain talks about would have been great too.Nevertheless, I would recommend this book to all food lovers and especially people who are toying with the idea of becoming restaurateurs or cooks The author s advice and warnings about the business are sound I, personally, am convinced not to ever get involved in this business, in any capacity, and will try to continue enjoying food knowing what actually goes on behind the kitchen doors. 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 For some reason, even though he crossed my Southern sensibilities and turned me off to him on that first exposure, I kept watching the show and realized that there is a lot to him than that first impression suggested No Reservations is now my favorite show and when I saw a copy of Kitchen Confidential for sale in the book store, I snapped it up and began reading it that night I unfortunately wasn t able to keep his voice in my head his delivery is a large part of the draw of his show for me but the series of stories from his past that he lays out are captivating even when heard inside my skull as coming from the disembodied larynx of my standard reading voice.Personally, I didn t find the shocking bits all that shocking I ve been backstage at good restaurants I ve heard it all before Honestly, I m not really all that hung up on food safety Instead it was the parts dealing with his own erratic career path that kept me interested Instead of leaving this book with the impression that Bourdain was an even bigger jerk than my first impression left me with as someone suggested would happen , I left the last page of the book with an even positive view of the guy 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 In this recent update, he even points out that he learned he was wrong about Emeril Lagasse as a chef and person, not as a TV Celebrity and frequently comments that he isn t a top tier chef because of his own mistakes 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.This isn t some self aggrandizing piece literary self pleasuring This is a very human piece of literature that reveals its author to be a man who may have grown up a couple of decades too late, but isn t too vain to admit that when he did it was in a large part because of those who took a chance on him and supported him when he was at his worse. A Deliciously Funny, Delectably Shocking Banquet Of Wild But True Tales Of Life In The Culinary Trade From Chef Anthony Bourdain, Laying Out His Than A Quarter Century Of Drugs, Sex, And Haute Cuisine Now With All New, Never Before Published MaterialNew 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
Anthony Bourdain was the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the mega bestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook s Tour His work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and he was a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine He was the host of the popular Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.
- 312 pages
- Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
- Anthony Bourdain
- 13 August 2018 Anthony Bourdain