Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential
By Anthony Bourdain

This is the book that made Anthony Bourdain famous. In it, he reveals the inside scoop on New York’s restaurant scene. He describes the working conditions, the relationships, the politics, the scandals, the characters, and some helpful hints to avoid eating something truly disgusting. This book is Anthony Bourdain, through and through.

That being said, this book reflects perfectly what I think of Anthony Bourdain: funny, brutally honest, a bit too wordy and seems to consider rambling good writing, and EXTREMELY arrogant. I would put the ratio at 80% awesome 20% annoying and/or boring as hell. Also, I don’t know what half of the foods and places he describes are, which seemed to have put me at a comprehension disadvantage.

There were some hilarious anecdotes and insights- particularly about the world’s weirdest bread baker, when to safely eat fish, and unexpected run-ins with other chefs and the mafia. I loved getting an honest look into the kitchen staff, how restaurants work, how the restaurant industry works (which is way more hectic and insane than I ever would have imagined), what restaurant insiders think of patrons, and the sorts of characters that end up in the business (spoiler alert: they are often criminal, insane, or ridiculous in general- or all three).

Anthony Bourdain loves himself. He thinks he is the most awesome, badass chef out there.  Well, there are at least a couple other chefs he thinks are nearly as awesome as he is- and you will hear more about them than you would have ever wanted. I don’t care where some dude I’ve never heard of was born, what his favorite food is, and how you two met. I just don’t care and all of the minute details don’t make the experience any more enjoyable for me.

All in all- much like his show- this was an enjoyable experience. Bourdain is completely candid about his experiences, his rough starts, his triumphs, his failures, and paints the restaurant industry as a complicated, complex, completely rich world that I am eager to know more about.

Biggest lesson: I do not want to be a chef. I have the mouth and sensibility for it, but my hands are far too pretty.

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