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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly Hardcover – May 22, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 9,696 ratings

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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.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bloomsbury USA; First Edition first Printing (May 22, 2000)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 158234082X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1582340821
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.3 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 9,696 ratings

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Chef, author, and raconteur Anthony Bourdain is best known for traveling the globe on his TV show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. 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.

Bourdain is the author of the New York Times bestselling Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw; A Cook’s Tour; the collection The Nasty Bits; the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo; the biography Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical; two graphic novels, Get Jiro! and Get Jiro!: Blood and Sushi and his latest New York Times bestselling cookbook Appetites. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Times of London, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Vanity Fair, Lucky Peach and many other publications. In 2013, Bourdain launched his own publishing line with Ecco, Anthony Bourdain Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. He is the host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning docuseries Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN, and before that hosted Emmy award-winning No Reservations and The Layover on Travel Channel, and The Taste on ABC.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
9,696 global ratings

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abookandadram
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitchen Confidential is the undisputed king of the tell-all culinary autobiography.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 8, 2021
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Ben
5.0 out of 5 stars Culinary Adventures
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 22, 2020
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Paul Shaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the version of the book actually shown.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 30, 2019
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last year's girl
5.0 out of 5 stars The soul of the man fizzes out of the pages
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 23, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Left us too soon! Fantastic book
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