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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

by Anthony Bourdain

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,165274732 (3.94)249
Biography & Autobiography. Cooking & Food. Essays. Nonfiction. HTML:Anthony Bourdain, host of Parts Unknown, reveals "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine" in his breakout New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential.
Bourdain spares no one's appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From Bourdain's first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as dishwasher in a honky tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown (where he witnesses for the first time the real delights of being a chef); from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the east village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again, Bourdain's tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable.
Kitchen Confidential will make your mouth water while your belly aches with laughter. You'll beg the chef for more, please.
… (more)
  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. 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.
  4. 40
    No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain (John_Vaughan)
  5. 40
    Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain (thebookpile)
  6. 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)
  7. 30
    Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton (MyriadBooks)
  8. 20
    Don't Try This At Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Cooks and Chefs by Kimberly Witherspoon (caseydurfee)
  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
    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.
  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 249 mentions

English (266)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  German (1)  Greek (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (274)
Showing 1-5 of 266 (next | show all)
I've never seen an Anthony Bourdain TV show, and when he died by suicide in 2018 I had only the vaguest notion that he was a chef of some sort. I bought this book because my son is a cook, apprenticing to become a chef, and I thought it would be interesting to read about life in a restaurant kitchen, a traditionally male-dominated workplace where the insults, sexism, racism, and homophobia never stop, but neither do the employees. Getting sick is a no-no. Working overtime - way overtime is a necessity, even if it means sleeping in the restaurant overnight. All this I knew, and Bourdain filled me in more, about the prevalance of drugs in the kitchen in the 1970s, about the absolutely loyalty to one's chef that is required, about the manic workaholism that is needed to rise to the top of the profession. I learned about the controlled chaos that is a kitchen, about the enormous food orders made and the necessity of getting your suppliers to like you, about why you should never order fish on a Monday, and about exhaustion, addiction, and a deep love of food.

Yes, the book was instructive, but I didn't like it very much. The main problem is that I didn't like Anthony Bourdain, which makes liking a book by and about him very difficult. I found him a blowhard, proud of his scuzzy past, not above any con scheme, and a braggart to boot. I've never seen anyone so proud of quitting restaurant after restaurant, about his drug-addled life, about never seeing his wife because he was too busy with work, and so self-important. I was disgusted with the man.

The book was decent and I learned a few things, but overall I wouldn't recommend it. ( )
  ahef1963 | May 4, 2024 |
One never knew there was so much behind the scenes of working, owning, and living the restaurant life. Frank and unapologetic, this was a pretty entertaining look at the not so humble life of Anthony Bourdain.
( )
  A_Reader_Obsessed | Apr 21, 2024 |
Full Review:https://wanderinglectiophile.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/review-kitchen-confidential-adventures-in-the-culinary-underbelly-by-anthony-bourdain/

I became familiar with Anthony Bourdain's career through his television shows No Reservations, Parts Unknown, and The Layover. In my humble opinion, they were easily the most entertaining travel related programming I've ever seen on television. He had a way of showing his viewers the beauty to be seen in all the world, and it made me want to visit each and every place I saw him explore - regardless of how insignificant the destination may be have seemed. He made them significant. Since his travel shows were how I came to follow him, I knew very little about his career in the culinary industry and figured that since he was a person of interest to me, I'd pick up one of his books and dive in.

Before I opened this book I knew to expect a few things with certainty. One, Anthony would at time be crude or offensive with his stories, but that they would be honest, open, and candidly retold. Two, having worked at a number of restaurants myself, that I would find that the assumptions I had made about those kitchen crews would not be unfounded. And three, there would be some really good stories and insights to be found about the culinary industry. Kitchen Confidential did not disappoint.

There were tales that were hilarious, tales that were revolting, and tales that I found myself going "yeah, I can see that". Tales of sex, drugs, recklessness, and self-discovery, culinary tidbits, equipment and tool recommendations, and insights into the lives of those cooking your meals when you go out to eat. I feel like he gave his readers a wide variety of anecdotes and insights to the culinary trade. Perhaps a bit crassly, but frankly, I prefer a crass rendition of the facts to a polished and pretty lie rooted in truth.

What I didn't expect was the writing. OH. MUH. GOSH. I wish I could write like him! If you've ever watched one of his travel programs, he always opens each destination with some sort of descriptive, anecdotal monologue where he introduces his viewers to the culture and sights to be seen in the most unique and fascinating ways. The stories in this book are written in much the same way. Some how that man manages to combine analogies, metaphors, phrases, and idioms effortlessly to describe the scenes and events that took place. ...that sounds like it would be muddy and hard to follow, but it's not. The descriptions and ways he explained something was very concise and relatable - even if you aren't a chef or into travel. It left me going "wow, I would have never thought to put it that way, but damn it's a good way to put it." He also didn't repeat phrases, which is impressive if you're going to describe events or situations in his way. I think I'd give a toe to be able to write like this.... It's certainly a unique style of writing and one I wish I could emulate.

If you've ever watched his programing, or perhaps you're just interested in him after the announcement of his death in the news, it's a good expose on who he was as well as the culinary industry. Just be prepared for his way of telling you everything - the good, the bad, the iffy - all of it. ( )
  RochelleJones | Apr 5, 2024 |
One more reminder of how mad I am at him for leaving. ( )
  gonzocc | Mar 31, 2024 |
I really enjoy Anthony Bourdain's writing style. As for the book itself, I definitely think this is a case of "ignorance is bliss." I think I could have went my whole life without knowing some of the things he mentioned in this book. All in all, though, awesome read. ( )
  thatnerd | Mar 2, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 266 (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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Wikipedia in English (4)

Biography & Autobiography. Cooking & Food. Essays. Nonfiction. HTML:Anthony Bourdain, host of Parts Unknown, reveals "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine" in his breakout New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential.
Bourdain spares no one's appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From Bourdain's first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as dishwasher in a honky tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown (where he witnesses for the first time the real delights of being a chef); from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the east village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again, Bourdain's tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable.
Kitchen Confidential will make your mouth water while your belly aches with laughter. You'll beg the chef for more, please.

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