Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly Paperback – May 1, 2001
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"Utterly riveting, swaggering with stylish machismo and precise ear for kitchen patois." -- New York Magazine
"You'll laugh, you'll cry...you're gonna love it." -- Denver Post
A gonzo memoir of whats really going on behind those swinging doors.... Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain is unique. -- Newsweek
Hysterical.... Bourdain gleefully rips through the scenery to reveal private backstage horrors. -- New York Times Book Review
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; 1st Ecco Ed edition (May 1, 2001)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060934913
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060934910
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.72 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #522,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Everything he says about the business is spot-on and, once you read his book, which is written in the coarse language of a professional kitchen which adds color and authenticity, you will never look at a menu or see a restaurant the same way again.
I liked the muscular way he writes about food and I fully share his view that prissy concoctions of food with way too many ingredients that only stroke a chef's vanity have nothing to do with first class cooking. As he rightly points out, great cooking, as always, involves only the finest and freshest ingredients presented to their greatest advantage where less is more. As any artist will tell you, if you mix up all the colors of the pallet, the result will always be a muddy black.
The very best chapter, however, is about his going to Japan for the first time and seeing the famous Tokyo fish market which I remember seeing in the 1970's and feeling exactly the same way about. I also remember my first visit to Japan as the same hallucinatory experience which delighted every sense especially the quirky drinking habits of "salary men" or office workers after the day's work is done.
I suggest that you read the book and then visit his great restaurants...or the other way around. Both are a worthwhile experience.
Top reviews from other countries
The book fires along at great pace through his life starting from a brief look at his childhood and some of his formulative inspirations, interspersed with foodie bits, all the way through his early cooking years in Provincetown and what became a very chequered career filled with full on substance fuelled misadventures. Dealing with life on the fringes he stumbles from one mad job\situation to the next as he struggles with his inner demons and various addictions. Carving up a reputation as a force to be reckoned with he crashes his way through the new york culinary scene leaving a trail of destruction in his wake think Fear And Loathing and your on the right tracks.
What I find most appealing about this book is how he comes across as having a lot of depth of personality and is able throughout to be reflective, understanding on a deeper level his potential, regularly defacing his own bad behaviour showing growth and understanding of his flaws despite being hopelessly bound by them as many of us are, (speaking personally). He is great at describing time and place making this reader feel and sense the energy of the life. He meets some fascinating, darkly charming characters with lots of funny, wicked moments and tales. Even though I have no doubht he made a lot of mistakes and upset a few people on route. I didnt have him down as a bad or malicious person at any stage, he did what was necessary to survive in a difficult business and survive he did with gusto! This versatility is perhaps one of his greatest strengths, his ability to adapt and keep rolling on. I found him also to show a deeper understanding of the human condition, what makes us all tick or motivations and drives, out of this awareness comes a kindness and sense of humility that I found appealing in his character. All in all a very entertaining book!
You probably (though not absolutely) have to enjoy food, to enjoy eating out, to get the most from this. Food luddites can let this one pass by. But for anyone with an interest in what goes down our throats, stomachs and intestinal passages this book is a gem.
It is pacy - think "noir" - in the depictions of the shady characters and shadier scenes behind that amuse bouche you are wolfing down. It is also a reminder of how organised restaurants have to be, in back-of-house. The workload, hours and pressure are monumental: As Bourdain states, good cooking really is a labour of love, of old-fashioned craftwork. It certainly ain't art.
If you like food then buy this and devour it. Pun intended.
Note: Avoid the Monday fish specials at all costs.