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Kitchen Confidential [Unknown Binding]

Anthony Bourdain
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Tony Bourdain's breakthrough book Kitchen Confidential invites readers into a world few have seen more than the tiniest hints of: the hectic, high-pressure world of the professional kitchen.
Written as an expose of sorts, many of the things Bourdain covers will shock the casual diner reading his book, from staff parties afterhours with lines of coke all down the bar to the reasons not to ever order the seafood special or get your steak cooked well-done. Primarily, the book covers Tony's life as a chef, from his drug-filled college days to stints at what must seem half the restaurants in NYC to his getting his life back on track and his success at his current job--yet the book is not a biography (unless of the industry itself); it instead offers on-the-mark observations on personalities, the business of restaurants, and the trials of achieving one's dreams.
While the book's subject matter is in itself interesting, what really makes Bourdain's book excel is his writing style: harsh, frank, and unapologetic yet still paced well and very readable. His descriptions leap out like something from a hard-boiled detective novel and make for an easy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By efrex
Are you socially incorrigible, substance-dependent, able to curse fluently in multiple Spanish dialects, have a high tolerance for knife wounds, burns, cramped spaces, no sleep, and people looking to stab you in the back at every turn? Well, if you are, and you're not interested in a career in piracy in Latin America, you might want to try being a fancy chef.
Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" is a salty, rambling, rambunctious love letter to the world of a professional chef and to the insane people who inhabit it, interspersed with some advice to the general public (such as why you should never order your steak well-done or a fish frittata, and how many knives you REALLY need to make all those hoity-toity dishes you see on TV). Bourdain gleefully jumps from describing his falling in love with french cuisine as a boy, to his experience as a junior "know-nothing" in Cape Cod, to what a typical day at Les Halles is, to a full-blown food and alcohol orgy in Japan, all at a pace that will leave you gasping for breath.
Not necessarily for the faint-hearted, but if you want to know what life is like behind your fancy dishes, this is a must-read.
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Tony Bourdain's work unpretentiously describes the world of cooking as seen by a cook. His gruff prose and semantic swagger match perfectly the world he describes, often reading like a collection of choice transcripts from kitchen conversations. If you want insight into a world you don't know, if you want the lowdown on what those immigrant are doing to your food while you enjoy candle light and conversation, or if you want information on how to become, yourself, a culinary master--this is not the book for you.
If, however, you've spent any time at all behind the swinging doors--as cook, expediter, dishwater, or even waitron--even for just a short time--you'll love it. You'll see a lot of people you know, you'll relive luxurious and painful experiences. You will laugh until you cry.
This insider-chic is not, however, Tony's one big flaw. That flaw, rather, is the foolish notion that his life outside of the restaurant is uninteresting. He left me hungry for more information on his drug problem (and, no, I do not consider this non-pertinent to his culinary career) and more about his wife, Nancy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Are you SURE you want to be a chef? May 6 2002
I admire Anthony Bourdain. Because I consider myself such a dilettante in so much of what I do, I have a lot of respect for people who are absolutely focused, to the point of monomania, on achieving greatness in what they do. Working in a Bourdain-run kitchen would be easy: all you have to do is be invariably punctual, absolutely reliable, committed to the same high standards he is ... and then work yourself to death to achieve them.
Bourdain's story is entertaining, fast-paced, profane, funny, iconoclastic (at least if you like celebrity TV chefs), revealing, occasionally nauseating, deeply personal ... and probably a lot more fun to read about than to have lived through. You won't look at restaurant food the same way again. Sure, you may be more suspicious about what it is you're really being served. But more importantly (to Bourdain anyway, I suspect), you'll have greater understanding and respect for the people who prepared it. The seamy underside of the restaurant world is the most headline-grabbing part of the book, but the real value comes from the author's own experiences, his revelation of the life of an NYC chef, and his obvious love of great food prepared well.
At the same time, though, it seemed to me like there's a little bit of bait-and-switch to it. Bourdain spends the whole book talking about the manic, hard-rock, drug-driven, frenetic, foul-mouthed, take-no-prisoners world of the professional chef, laying it all on the line for us: this is what it's really like. And then, in one chapter, he pulls the rug out from under himself with his profile of Scott Bryan, another New York chef who, Bourdain admits, is night-and-day different from our author, and also more knowledgeable, more respected, and more successful.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I know it's been out for a long time but I never got around to reading it. I'm sorry I waited, straightforward, honest and clever. I can see why the man became a star.
Published 2 months ago by Degra
5.0 out of 5 stars So happy with this book
Great book. Funny and educational. Will read it again. Written with such sarcastic ype of humour. Will buy other of Mr. Boudain's books.

Published 3 months ago by Arthemize
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Very funny and interesting read. I always love autobiographies where you can learn something--in this case the life of a chef.
Published 6 months ago by kcarter
5.0 out of 5 stars Bourdain is a star!
The altruistic poet-chef regales me with his wonderful tales of delight dans la cuisine. An enjoyable and hilarious read from cover to cover, Anthony Bourdain is a delightful and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ilsa von Earnhardt
5.0 out of 5 stars Unvarnished account of the life of a chef
I found this book to be well written, very entertaining and a very informative account of his motivation to become a chef, and of the day to day life of a professional chef.
Published 11 months ago by Peter Weltman
5.0 out of 5 stars ahhhh Tony
I am a classically trained chef myself and having read the book and nodding, laughing and reliving the anecdotes in my head, minus the hard drug use it could have been my life in... Read more
Published 11 months ago by eric
2.0 out of 5 stars french canadian
Not sure whether its my heritage or experiences but i was frustrated and disappointed.
Probably more at the readers than the writer. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Andre Therien
5.0 out of 5 stars Paired with Medium Raw, it's a great story
I read Kitchen Confidential a few years ago and recently re-read it just prior to reading Medium Raw. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Patrick Lister
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I love watching Bourdain's show. This book was a hilarious read, showcasing the behind the scenes world of 70's and 80's kitchens across new york. Read more
Published 19 months ago by ryan chornick
4.0 out of 5 stars The darker side of being a gifted Chef.
The book was riotously funny! It did,however, have some dark undertones which I found somewhat disturbing. Bourdain is indeed a gifted writer in addition to being a great Chef. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mark W Palmer
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