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Kitchen Confidential [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Bourdain
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,418 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine."
Last summer, The New Yorker published Chef Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." Bourdain spared 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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Chef at New York's Les Halles and author of Bone in the Throat, Bourdain pulls no punches in this memoir of his years in the restaurant business. His fast-lane personality and glee in recounting sophomoric kitchen pranks might be unbearable were it not for two things: Bourdain is as unsparingly acerbic with himself as he is with others, and he exhibits a sincere and profound love of good food. The latter was born on a family trip to France when young Bourdain tasted his first oyster, and his love has only grown since. He has attended culinary school, fallen prey to a drug habit and even established a restaurant in Tokyo, discovering along the way that the crazy, dirty, sometimes frightening world of the restaurant kitchen sustains him. Bourdain is no presentable TV version of a chef; he talks tough and dirty. His advice to aspiring chefs: "Show up at work on time six months in a row and we'll talk about red curry paste and lemon grass. Until then, I have four words for you: 'Shut the fuck up.' " He disdains vegetarians, warns against ordering food well done and cautions that restaurant brunches are a crapshoot. Gossipy chapters discuss the many restaurants where Bourdain has worked, while a single chapter on how to cook like a professional at home exhorts readers to buy a few simple gadgets, such as a metal ring for tall food. Most of the book, however, deals with Bourdain's own maturation as a chef, and the culmination, a litany describing the many scars and oddities that he has developed on his hands, is surprisingly beautiful. He'd probably hate to hear it, but Bourdain has a tender side, and when it peeks through his rough exterior and the wall of four-letter words he constructs, it elevates this book to something more than blustery memoir. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 513 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747550727
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (December 10, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002UM5BXW
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
210 of 220 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling It Like It Is November 2, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
In this book, Anthony Bourdain, executive chef at New York's Brasserie Les Halles, takes us on a wild ride through that city's food supply industry that includes surprises such as heavy drinking, drugs, debauchery, Mafiosi and assorted seedy personalities.
It is clear that Bourdain enjoys a true passion for both food and cooking, a passion he inherited from the French side of his family. He tells us he decided to become a chef during a trip to southwestern France when he was only ten years of age and it is a decision he stuck to, graduating from the Culinary Institute of America.
Kitchen Confidential is a surprisingly well-written account of what life is really like in the commercial kitchens of the United States; "the dark recesses of the restaurant underbelly." In describing these dark recesses, Bourdain refreshingly casts as many stones at himself as he does at others. In fact, he is brutally honest. There is nothing as tiresome as a "tell-all" book in which the author relentlessly paints himself as the unwitting victim. Bourdain, to his enormous credit, avoids this trap. Maybe he writes so convincingly about drugs and alcohol because drugs and alcohol have run their course through his veins as well as those of others.
The rather raunchy "pirate ship" stories contained in this fascinating but testosterone-rich book help to bring it vividly to life and add tremendous credibility. The book does tend to discourage any would-be female chefs who might read it, but that's not Bourdain's fault; he is simply telling it like it is and telling it hilariously as well.
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155 of 170 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Macho, macho chef April 26, 2005
By abt1950
Format:Paperback
This is a fascinating, alternately hilarious and appalling account of one chef's career in the restaurant buisness. Bourdain, now the Executive Chef at Les Halles in New York, regales the reader with a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchens of "gourmet" restaurants he has worked and the characters he has known. To call his account (and his fellow workers) "colorful" is an understatement.

There is much to like in this book. Occasional insights into why ordering fish on Monday is not such a good idea (it's left over from Thursday's delivery) and the logistics of running a major restaurant are fascinating. Also, the anecdotes about management style and successful vs. unsuccessful restaurants make for interesting reading. Bourdain demolishes the mystique of cooking as an art to be mastered by only a few. From his perspective, cooking is a craft that can be learned through grit, endurance, and hard knocks. As he points out, the mainstays of his and many other kitchens are immigrants from Ecuador, Mexico, Bengal and elsewhere who are taught how to recreate consistently and under pressure dishes as directed by the chef. Restaurant work is not easy, and only the strong survive. It's a war out there--and the kitchen is the combat zone.

That said, "Kitchen Confidential" is an uneven book that should have had a good editing. The individual chapters have the feel of freestanding pieces, and some of their content is repetitious. Much of the jargon and some of the details of how a kitchen is organized aren't explained until late in the book, even though he's been referring to them from the beginning.. By the time he finally does explain the slang and the esoteric details, the astute reader has already figured it out.
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221 of 248 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Oh, you are really going to enjoy this book...while you're reading it, that is. Then afterwards you'll be torn between the memories of the hilarious antics Bourdain describes in his book...and memories of the disgusting things that go on every day in restaurant kitchens. Believe it or not, it IS worth reading! (And take it from a former restaurant manager, it is, unfortuately, true - the after-hours shenanigans, especially!)
Bourdain has put together a truly gonzo collection of restaurant tales that aren't all depraved...but, like his restaurateur/chef subjects, most of them are! Kudos to him for a book that is this honest while being this hysterical. If you have the, um, stomach for it, this is a book you'll remember fondly. Well worth digesting!
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An irreverent look inside the professional kitchen July 13, 2000
Format:Hardcover
The first 253 pages of "Kitchen Confidential" would certainly give one pause before ever choosing to dine out again. Author-Chef Anthony Bourdain describes the professional kitchen as a collection of drunks, derelicts and drug addicts the likes with which you would never want to have a close encounter. And as chef de cuisine of Brasserie Les Halles in New York, you'd certainly think he'd know. But on page 254, Bourdain begins to show the other side of the street by describing the kitchen of chef Scott Bryan at Veritas, an upscale restaurant down the street from Les Halles. In this comparison the ultimate lessons are revealed, and what had been up to that point just an amusing 'tell all' book, becomes something considerably more. We learn that Bourdain's world is one of his own choosing, and other chefs at other restaurants can be very different. While Bourdain was propelled thru his early years by drugs and alcohol, Bryan was more serious. While Bourdain reached for the top right out of school and ultimately fell on his face, Bryan carefully refined his craft by working in the kitchens of one expert chef after another. For Bourdain it's about the pace of life leading a hectic restaurant kitchen; for Bryan it's all about the food. The lessons come together in the penultimate chapter entitled "So You Want to Be a Chef?", which spells out the rules for kitchen success as clearly and as vividly and any would-be chef would want. This chapter along with Michael Ruhlman's "The Making of a Chef" (ISPN 0805061738) should be required reading before any student begins Day 1 at culinary school. The rest of us might just want to chose our restaurants more carefully. Oh, yes...and avoid the fish on a Monday.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars really great read for chefs
I feel like this book would be best served as an instructional guide for new chefs. That being said, it is highly entertaining and well- written. Read more
Published 15 hours ago by Mrs.Krach
5.0 out of 5 stars No reservations
This was a critical review of the industry as it is. well written and giving a good view of a life most will never see.
Published 19 hours ago by mjasgt
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
This book was an unabashed look into the life of a professional chef. I found it to be a compelling read that I couldn't put down and even read it across multiple devices as I went... Read more
Published 1 day ago by James
3.0 out of 5 stars A Tasty Read
A romp through the education of a chef who has a sense of humor, learned many lessons and passes them onto us. Makes you appreciate how hard it is the be a CHEF. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Fred
3.0 out of 5 stars but it was easy to follow
Working in a kitchen is hard work fast paced, and slightly crazy. I completely agree with Anthony's jaded but loving feelings for the vocation. Read more
Published 2 days ago by BBQ Queen
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was funny and witty
This book was funny and witty. I love Tony's sense of humor, but its not for everyone. need somewhat of tougher skin to find the humor.
Published 3 days ago by CHRIS A HUDSON
5.0 out of 5 stars great reread
Read it when it first came out. Still loved reading it again. Don't want to be a professional cook but I do love to cook home style and have friends in the business. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Laura Skamser
5.0 out of 5 stars Calling all foodies!
Very well written and being a "foodie" myself, it really whet my appetite. Highly recommended.
Published 4 days ago by Dee Dee Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Tony nails it AGAIN....
Published 5 days ago by Charles F. Oberheide
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, about time to hear all that goes on ...
Awesome, about time to hear all that goes on in and around kitchens. Makes you think before heading out to eat....not all that bad. A great way to know Bourdain. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Fida Ahmad
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More About the Author

Chef, author, and raconteur Anthony Bourdain is best known for traveling the globe on his stomach, daringly consuming some of the world's most exotic dishes on his hit TV shows Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. Somewhat notoriously, he has established himself as a professional gadfly, bête noir, advocate, social critic, and pork enthusiast, recognized for his caustic sense of humor worldwide. He is as unsparing of those things he hates, as he is evangelical about his passions.

The "chef-at-large" at New York's famed Brasserie Les Halles, Bourdain is the author of the bestselling Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a candid, hysterical, and sometimes shocking portrait of life in restaurant kitchens that has been translated into more than 28 languages - as well as the travel journal, A Cook's Tour, 3 crime novels, a cookbook, a biography of Typhoid Mary, the bestselling graphic novel Get JIRO!, and others.

His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Times of London, Bon Appetit, Gourmet and many other publications. He has shared his insights about team building and crisis management with the Harvard Business Review. He has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning and Nightline, and has been a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, Morning Joe, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Bourdain joined the writing staff of HBO's Treme in 2011, contributing to the popular drama's restaurant storylines. He recently launched his own publishing line with Ecco, Anthony Bourdain Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. His first titles will be released in early 2013.

No Reservations, widely popular all over the world, has won two Emmy Awards, with several other nominations. 2013 will see the premiere of two new television shows hosted by Bourdain: The Taste, a cooking competition series for ABC with Nigella Lawson, and a travel docu-series for CNN.

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Updated Ed.?
I didn't read the original, but the updated edition includes a preface, written by Bourdain in 2000. It basically is a little update regarding his activities since he wrote KC, and that he had been doing less at Les Halles.

IMO not worth buying if you have the previous edition. Just pull it off... Read More
Sep 18, 2007 by Stephanie Wien |  See all 4 posts
Who is Bigfoot?
Bigfoot is absolutely Andy Menschel. I worked as a waitress in this restaurant with Tony and all of the people/characters in the book. Good times, that place. ;-)
Jul 11, 2010 by Deborah Eble |  See all 7 posts
Update?
Ditto, what are they really "updating"? I wish they would at least disclose what errors they are fixing instead of being secretive about it. I want to know if it's really an "error" they are updating, or some sort of rewrite. I'll give Amazon credit for one thing: at least... Read More
Dec 21, 2010 by D. Joyce |  See all 2 posts
Who is Silver Shadow?
This is not correct
Jun 5, 2014 by BLUE |  See all 5 posts
how to read Be the first to reply
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