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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000)
by Anthony Bourdain
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Food Memoirs (7)
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Interesting but raunchy ( )
Interesting but raunchy
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.
Maybe more behind the scenes than I need to know.
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.
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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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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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)641.5092Technology and Application of Knowledge Home and family management Food And Drink Cooking, cookbooks > Biography And History Biography
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