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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the…

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

by Anthony Bourdain

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Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
An enjoyable and informative book about a cook coming up in the restaurant industry. More fun than Marcus Samuelsson's Yes, Chef. Nearly every chapter can probably stand alone as a short- or long-form essay; they aren't necessarily in chronological order, and the content is kitchen-focused, with little emphasis on personal life, other than occasional mentions of his wife, Nancy. Bourdain has a great voice and a good story; anyone who likes to eat out would probably enjoy at least parts of this book.

Advice from "From Our Kitchen to Your Table"
-never order fish on Monday
-don't eat mussels in restaurants
-no "seafood frittata" (e.g.) at Sunday brunch
-no hollandaise sauce
-bread from bread baskets is recycled. Eat it anyway.
-don't eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms
-no swordfish
-"well done" will be worst pieces of meat
-chicken is "boring" and more likely to give you food poisoning (salmonella) than pork
-consider turnover; if a restaurant is selling a lot of something, it's probably fresh; if it's an unusual item at a slow restaurant, skip it
-"Observe the [waiter's] body language and take note"
-best nights to eat out are Tuesday through Saturday; Tues & Thurs are best for fish in NY
-"your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park"


I can't imagine a better example of Things to Be Wary Of in the food department than bargain sushi. (64)

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance, as they say in the army. (102)

Having a sous-chef with excellent cooking skills and a criminal mind is one of God's great gifts. (205)

Steven, suddenly and inexplicably, became the sort of person who, when he says he's going to do a thing, does it. This, more than anything else, is the essence of sous-chefdom. (210) ( )
1 vote JennyArch | Feb 25, 2015 |
For anyone who enjoys cooking, this was fun to read. And horrible at times, if what he says about restaurants is true... There were parts of the book I found a bit less interesting, such as the author's relationships with some people, but overall I really liked it. But I'm a foodie. ( )
  KVHardy | Jan 2, 2015 |
Audio version, read by Anthony himself. He's such a treat to listen to, even when's he's talking trash, or trashing your appetite with insider information about restaurant kitchens that you probably wish you'd never heard. Some of the best bits are those in which he shares his love of good, real food and those in which he sings the praises of individual food wizards he's met and worked with through the years. And to prove there's a nice guy behind all that mouth, he says very sweet things about his wife. He can cook for me any time.

March, 2011 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Dec 1, 2014 |
An engrossing tale of what it is like to work in doomed restaurants. Anthony Bourdain, who's writing style could make a story about the phonebook interesting, describes working in doomed restaurants, (for high pay), and his sociopathic co-workers.
Most of the restaurants are already a train wreck when he arrives. Others are just dying a slow, sad death, as was the case with the restaurant Tom H.
Encouraged by friends and family, due to their knack for throwing wonderful, and creative dinner parties, Tom and Fred opened their restaurant to wild acclaim. The novelty wore-off, expenses soared, and the crowds disappeared. These "lovely, warm-hearted, and funny older guys" must have lost everything. Anthony exited before the final curtain. ( )
  DougJ110 | Nov 10, 2014 |
There aren't many books I can't finish but this was one of them. Obviously my tastes don't agree with the many people who put it on the NY Times Bestseller list. I chucked it before page 100 since it did not have much in it about being a chef. Having had to work in kitchens as a teenager, it brought back all of the sexism, harassment and mysogeny that conceited chefs and others perpetrate on waitresses and kitchen help, most of whom are there because they need the paycheck. Bourdain seems to suggest that the women who work in kitchens are just other pieces of meat as he insinusates this a few times. There is an interview in the back and on page 9 Anthony Bourdain sums up his aspirations in life - "My roommates wanted me to start paying rent. And then I looked at cooks and they were getting more pussy and better drugs and more liquor- It was that simple."
In short, he is not my candidate to be an excellent role model for aspiring chefs or a wonderful human being. I did appreciate his advice to only use fresh spices and apparently that was his intention, to spice the book up so it would get to the NY Times Bestseller list. It looks like he succeeded. ( )
  PhyllisHarrison | Oct 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
This is one bitter, nasty, searing, hard-to-swallow piece of work. But if you can choke the thing down, youll (sic) probably wake up grinning in the middle of the night. Bourdain is a force of unruly nature, a lifelong misanthrope and currently the executive chef at the Brasserie Les Halles, whose clientele, now that this book is out, must be accounted among the more courageous diners in New York.
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To Nancy
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Don't get me wrong: I love the restaurant business. Hell, I'm still in the restaurant business -- a lifetime, classically trained chef who, an hour from now, will probably roasting bones for demi-glace and butchering beef tenderloins in a cellar prep in a cellar prep kitchen on lower Park Avenue.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060899220, Paperback)

Most diners believe that their sublime sliver of seared foie gras, topped with an ethereal buckwheat blini and a drizzle of piquant huckleberry sauce, was created by a culinary artist of the highest order, a sensitive, highly refined executive chef. The truth is more brutal. More likely, writes Anthony Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential, that elegant three-star concoction is the collaborative effort of a team of "wacked-out moral degenerates, dope fiends, refugees, a thuggish assortment of drunks, sneak thieves, sluts, and psychopaths," in all likelihood pierced or tattooed and incapable of uttering a sentence without an expletive or a foreign phrase. Such is the muscular view of the culinary trenches from one who's been groveling in them, with obvious sadomasochistic pleasure, for more than 20 years. CIA-trained Bourdain, currently the executive chef of the celebrated Les Halles, wrote two culinary mysteries before his first (and infamous) New Yorker essay launched this frank confessional about the lusty and larcenous real lives of cooks and restaurateurs. He is obscenely eloquent, unapologetically opinionated, and a damn fine storyteller--a Jack Kerouac of the kitchen. Those without the stomach for this kind of joyride should note his opening caveat: "There will be horror stories. Heavy drinking, drugs, screwing in the dry-goods area, unappetizing industry-wide practices. Talking about why you probably shouldn't order fish on a Monday, why those who favor well-done get the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel, and why seafood frittata is not a wise brunch selection.... But I'm simply not going to deceive anybody about the life as I've seen it." --Sumi Hahn

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:49 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

New York chef and novelist Bourdain recounts his experiences in the restaurant business, and exposes abuses of power, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and other secrets of life behind kitchen doors.

» see all 7 descriptions

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