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

by Anthony Bourdain

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6,372180608 (3.92)179
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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Showing 1-5 of 177 (next | show all)
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 |
Bourdain's irreverence and colorful language make this a fun read. He's more well spoken than one would expect from a degenerate of his caliber. ( )
  JenLamoureux | Oct 5, 2014 |
I loved this book, every bit of it. Maybe it's because I'm a foodie but it was chock full of great advice, honest memoir and surprisingly great writing from a celebrity chef. I liked Anthony Bourdain before reading this but I LOVE him now. I couldn't believe his honest story telling capability. He hashed every failure in the kitchen, all his downfalls through some enjoyably drug induced times and his rewards among it all.

I loved the way he was so honest about what happens behind the doors of a kitchen, how most chefs love to drink and party to release steam.... even how using those drugs back in the day didn't ruin his life but like most people just turned around one day and said that time has past. He has had such a rich and exciting life in kitchens all over making a book of his career extremely exciting and fun to follow along. Most celebrity memories skip over all the bad times, or even edit them but you can tell he is completely honest about his failures which is so refreshing.

I would recommend this book to anyone, foodie or not. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
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 |
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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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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