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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (edition 2001)

by Anthony Bourdain

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6,261176644 (3.92)175
Member:VictoriaNH
Title:Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Authors:Anthony Bourdain
Info:Harper Perennial (2001), Edition: 1st Ecco Ed, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Discarded
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

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English (173)  Finnish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (177)
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
A memoir? An exposé? Perhaps some of both, this is the story, or some of the story of Anthony Bourdain's years as a chef. I'm having a really hard time describing what it is, and why I like it/don't like it.

I'll start with what I like. I found the descriptions of behind the scenes in a restaurant fascinating. Not romanticized at all. It is like seeing photos of models before they have been photoshopped. Lovely and real, and yet lovely because they are real and have "imperfections." I like his writing, probably for the same reason. I like his humor, although his crudeness makes me cringe.

What don't I like? Well, the foul language grows monotonous. It says something for his writing that I was willing to read through that. I realize that the language and foulness is part of the reality of his life and the lives of people who work in that realm. It wouldn't have been real without it, so here I am turning a "dislike" into a sort of a "like." Notice, I can't use the words "love," "adore," or "delight." The book was somewhat painful for me to read, which is OK. There is something beyond the language that makes me not love this book. I noticed it in another book of his I read as well. It is hard to keep track of where he is in his life during the writing. He seems to start from the beginning and be working chronologically, then it becomes difficult to tell. I'm not sure whether that is because during his drug using years he couldn't keep track himself, or whether it is intentional. It seems unclear whether he is a good chef (he claims not to be, but his actual descriptions of the work and restaurants indicate otherwise) or not. Is this purposeful? I'm not sure. Is he the jackass he makes himself out to be? I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm glad I've read the book, I probably won't read any more by Bourdain, but I may watch some of his shows. ( )
1 vote MrsLee | Jun 18, 2014 |
After slogging through "A Waiter's Rant", which promised it was the "Kitchen Confidential" for waiters, I had to turn to the basis of that comparison. "Kitchen Confidential" is in another league from "A Waiter's Rant". Bourdain never gives the impression that he's writing the book to become a writer - he loves cooking, even though his sordid career has found him in less-than-desirable kitchens. He comes across as a man who loves finding the pleasures in life, and his writing does a great job in describing that. There's just enough "snorting cocaine through penne pasta" to keep the book moving, with a dash of redemption at the end when he fesses up that he's matured out of his drug-addled twenties. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
This was a great book. I loved Tony's irreverent take on the food industry & his great story telling skills definetely showed. He narrated the audiobook himself, so it was wonderful hearing him pronounce all the french words for menu items & culinary techniques that I would have stumbled over & tried to phonetically sound out if I had to read the book. Also, it really brought to life all the insults, threats, & affectionate nicknames those kitchen employees regularly use. He made you feel like you had just become a "fly on the wall" of one of his kitchens.

Only thing I wish he had included was his recovery. He speaks candidly of his decent into drug addiction, but barely hints as how & why he became sober & kicked a bad herion habit.

I will certainly read his other books & now I'll prefer them in audio as well. ( )
  CMBlaker | May 6, 2014 |
An entertaining look into the restaurant world. ( )
  zguba | Apr 25, 2014 |
Some interesting advice and entertaining stories, but found his "I'm a bad-ass!" attitude kind of off-putting. Mostly it made me think about how incredibly stressful it would be to work in a restaurant kitchen. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 173 (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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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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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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