Kitchen Confidential Unknown Binding – 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
If there is one shortcoming for the average reader of the book, it is that it reads just as if you were sitting in a late night chef hangout bar and Tony's telling stories over brews. It's written for the insider, or at least assumes some level of knowledge of food preparation and finer cooking. He's unapologetic in his opening, explaining that he writes it in the rough language and argot of the kitchen. And it is this casual tone that helps make the book more enjoyable. But for those of us who who may not appreciate some of the argot, it takes away a layer of the story. A glossary would be helpful, but not necessary. It certainly did not keep me from being engrossed in his writing. Also, not being exposed to the world of New York restauranting, some of the restaurant name dropping (name use really) means zip. That, however, really is not a shortcoming of the author, just something the reader has to accept.
Food for thought. In other words, a book you can sink your teeth into.
Most recent customer reviews
The book that started it all for Tony. If you eat out alot and don't know Anthony Bourdain then this book will open your eyes. A must read for the metropolitan person. CheersPublished 2 months ago by Carlosdiver
The book is really good, tells the story of Anthony Bourdain cutting his teeth as a pro chef, the highs (both kinds) and the lows. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Wade Colborne
Anthony Bourdain is a pompous ass who ruins the interesting story of behind the scenes of a kitchen with his egoPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer