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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000)

by Anthony Bourdain

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,641260704 (3.93)245
A New York City chef who is also a novelist recounts his experiences in the restaurant business, and exposes abuses of power, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and other secrets of life behind kitchen doors.
  1. 111
    Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford (Talbin)
  2. 61
    The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten (Ronoc)
  3. 40
    Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain (thebookpile)
  4. 51
    Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard Feynman (noise)
    noise: Both Tony Bourdain and Richard Feynman have (had) an incredible knack for writing highly informative and page turning memoirs. If you've read one but not the other, you're in for a treat.
  5. 40
    Spiced: A Pastry Chef's True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen by Dalia Jurgensen (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These two memoirs both provide behind-the-scenes accounts of life in New York City restaurant kitchens. Though Kitchen Confidential uses more explicit language, both represent a chef's reality: rampant sexism, high staff turnover, and the wild lives of kitchen staff.… (more)
  6. 40
    No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain (John_Vaughan)
  7. 30
    Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton (MyriadBooks)
  8. 20
    Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both are very well organized, easy (and enjoyable) to read from cover to cover.
  9. 31
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (sbuehrle)
  10. 20
    Cooking Dirty: A Story of Life, Sex, Love and Death in the Kitchen by Jason Sheehan (erickandow)
  11. 20
    Don't Try This At Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Cooks and Chefs by Kimberly Witherspoon (caseydurfee)
  12. 21
    Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite (sbuehrle)
    sbuehrle: Brite's book about two young chefs draws from Bourdain's tell-all with a fictional twist.

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» See also 245 mentions

English (252)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Greek (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (259)
Showing 1-5 of 252 (next | show all)
Interesting but raunchy ( )
  drmom62 | Apr 21, 2023 |
Interesting but raunchy ( )
  drmom62 | Apr 21, 2023 |
cw: suicide

I wasn't prepared for the emotional journey I would take in listening to Anthony Bourdain read this book, originally published in 2000. Published at a time that didn't know Covid. Published at a time when sensibilities were altogether different. Published at a time, of course, when Anthony Bourdain was alive.

Of course what was raw and real and shocking in 2000 is still so today--perhaps more so. But it takes on new meaning to hear Bourdain's bravado in joking about suicide, his unabashed love for the rough and tumble culinary world, and his blasé attitude toward airborne illnesses, the like of which he never lived to see.

While certainly one could criticize Bourdain's own seeming acceptance of the sexism and toxicity that he says is innate to the "culinary underbelly", the fact remains there is a reality to this narrative. Listening to Bourdain read it we get less of a sense of the shock jock, and more of a "listen, here's how I lived it and how I know it and how I want to tell it". If we say we honor storytelling, I think we need to make room for a voice like this.

The guy is acerbic, occasionally charming, and at times, hilarious. He will make you rethink the days you order fish at a restaurant. He made a lot of enemies, no doubt. But one has to think there were many folks in the industry that felt very, very seen -- for better or for worse. One thing stays the same throughout, however--running underneath the heroin use, the outlandish sexcapades, the vocabulary that makes every sensible deceased grandma turn in their graves on endless repeat--there is a deep and abiding passion for food, and the "life." Bourdain was "all-in" and to what ultimate cost we won't ever really know as those stories died with him in 2018. It is worthwhile to listen to him tell you the story in his voice. Take a deep breath, lay your judgments aside--at least for the moment--and listen to the tale of a life...lived. 2018 Anthony Bourdain was probably not 2000 Anthony Bourdain, but that's the case for most of us. Kitchen Confidential is an amazing snapshot of a life that is tragically gone...one that went to "parts unknown" with "no reservations" without apology. ( )
  rebcamuse | Mar 29, 2023 |
Maybe more behind the scenes than I need to know. ( )
  cathy.lemann | Mar 21, 2023 |
Anthony Bordain's voice rings true and direct as he exposes the underbelly of getting into professional cooking--all its allure for the artists of food, and all its less-than-glamorous undercurrents (seamy, even). Honest, direct, fascinating. ( )
  Ricardo_das_Neves | Jan 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 252 (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.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Bourdainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bilardello, RobinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winston,Courtney GrantCover photo [c]secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Don't get me wrong: I love the restaurant business.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A New York City chef who is also a novelist recounts his experiences in the restaurant business, and exposes abuses of power, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and other secrets of life behind kitchen doors.

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