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Showing 1-10 of 1,298 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,431 reviews
on January 4, 2017
I have worked in the restaurant industry my entire life, and I have to say that even if you've only waited tables for a month, or never worked in the industry at all, this is a must read. When people go out to dinner, they have a pleasant time, or they don't. They like their waiter, or they don't. They have strong opinions on the food, the smells, the décor, or they don't. Regardless of peoples experience in a dining room, there is a circus act going on continuously long before these people ever arrived, and it was in full effect when their order was placed, and it will continue after they have paid their bill and left. If you've ever wondered what the circus in the back of the house is like, then pick up this book.
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on May 28, 2016
Some years ago I had an interest in a restaurant along with two other partners. I also had a French family background with a deep appreciation of fine cuisine. I also have dined at Les Halles, his famous restaurant in New York. My partnership was to be "silent", that is, just kick in your share of the money and go away. In the first week of operation I was tapped to do dishes because the washer didn't show, wait tables for a similar reason etc. etc. For weeks we struggled to bring order and routine to the restaurant. So, the trap was well set. Fortunately, I was eventually able to sell back my share and jump clear of the unfolding disaster, but I wish I had read Anthony Bourdain's book first. All the best kept secrets of the restaurant business are revealed in this terrific book.

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.
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on January 29, 2017
After watching Bourdain on Kitchen Confidential, I wasn't entirely surprised at most of his extra curricular activities and general attitude that he chooses to share in this book. I DO,I believe, have a greater respect for the work and dedication that goes in to choosing this line of work and I believe I will probably be much more suspect of what might be happening behind the closed doors of the restaurants I go to. I am also more conscious of the things I use to cook with. Along with being more biographical, he balances the details with colorful stories of his life and behind the scenes "goings on" which holds your interest throughout. This is the first book of his that I have read and I would like to read another one! My problem is - which one should I choose.
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on November 23, 2016
Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential has already turned a few stomachs with its frank discussions of what goes on in the kitchens of America's favorite restaurants. He revels in anecdotes that would make an Ozzy Osbourne roadie question the catered stuff on his plate. Sex, drugs, sex near food while on drugs: Bourdain gleefully dishes the dirt on some of his former haunts, from the fish houses of New England to the elegant-on-the-outside eateries of New York. Yet the tone he takes with his joyously muckraking expose/memoir follows a distinctive rhythm, a blunt, boastful swagger that recalls some accounts of organized crime. Bourdain is just as likely to tantalize with his descriptions of food as disgust with his descriptions of the people and actions swirling around it, the activities disgusting yet somehow funny at the same time. It's an exhilarating combination often invoked in mobster tell-alls, but while there's more than a little goodfella in Bourdain—he dices, dresses, and dishes with trash-talking braggadocio—he clearly loves what he does. While he admits early on that the call of the kitchen often comes only after every other option has failed, he clearly enjoys working in such terrible conditions. It's like he has the key to the ultimate backroom club, a place of privilege where everyone operates with a different set of rules and gets off on a different set of thrills. Eat to live, don't live to eat, the saying goes, and for Bourdain, life is never better than when he's the one doing the cooking.
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Tony Bourdain is a smart, witty, funny, and deeply twisted individual, and is also a first-rate writer whose non-fiction is as entertaining and expressive as any novel I have ever read. I first became aware of Tony through his cable television show "No Reservations" (which is the only television show that I go out of my way to see each week.) I immediately bought this book after seeing the episode on Icelandic cuisine, as I thought he was intelligent yet not another insufferable food snob. He is a man who wants to try everything and has absolutely no fear or prejudices about food and excels at telling it like it is.

This book recounts his life and career rising to the top of the pack in the culinary world. It is a deeply personal and unvarnished look at the world of big-league professional food, and is full of insights on both food and the restaurant business. When I was younger I worked as a line cook in a relatively nice restaurant. Although my experience was somewhat less frenetic and more sanitary than the scene in New York, I can certainly attest that the cast of characters (and their flaws) revealed in this book is right on the money.

One thing I like about Bourdain and this book is that he tells the truth even when it's ugly. He explains why, for instance, not to order meat well done or why not to even think about ordering fish on Monday. (He's right on both accounts.) He doesn't dodge his own past when others would fail to mention diversionary activities such as a heroin addiction, and even though he comes across as cantankerous, he is a guy you can take at his word.

Some of this book is pure gold, not just for cooks and would be chefs, but for everyone. His writing ("Rules to Live By," page 64, and "A Commencement Address," page 293 in particular) is excellent and applies to any profession. He also shares many inside secrets of Les Halles (and other restaurants he has worked at), of winning "mise-en-place" (or just "meez;" people who really want to cook professionally should take this to heart), and technical opinions (why and how to use an offset serrated knife.)

This book is coarse and not for the faint of heart, but if you really want to know about cooking or cooks, it is the best (and funniest) single volume ever written. I highly recommend this book
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on December 2, 2012
And laugh, you will. An accurate portrayal of life on the line

Regarding this particular print edition... So eager was I to read Anthony Bourdain's Insider Edition (for his insider notes) and having ordered it on my iPhone Amazon app, I didn't consider this book would literally be "pocket book" size and not the size as my first paper back copy circa 2000 (5 5/16" x 8") my bad... Inside are his scribbled thoughts and notes here and there on pages. If you didn't read the first Kitchen Confidential, don't mind sticking this portable size book in your pocket, and have keen eye sight, I still would recommend this title. (ok, I need reading glasses.)
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on April 8, 2017
Knowing Anthony Bourdain from "No Reservations", it never occurred to that he might be a writer as well.

I was surprised. I expected the back of the house stuff, but this is a real human book. His passion for his arts is right upfront, told in a perfectly real way. The book delivers the same sort of thrill a really good mystery does. He had me from the first oyster to the final period. Read Kitchen Confidential you'll be entertained and I learned a lot.
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on October 15, 2013
Great inside look at the restaurant business, and I mean business, from the kitchen. Bourdain al though a mad hatter in the 1980s sure has a story to tell. And he tells it with wit, charm and honesty. He can be acerbic and a bit pompous but all is forgiven as one gets to know the "Chef." He is a man who has been down and has been up. Seems he likes up much better. Intelligent and street smart are two things Anthony has in large supply.
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on March 18, 2017
Anthony Bourdain's gritty life history starts out funny and interesting, but eventually turns into a depressing, self-aggrandizing, ultimately boring tale of drug and alcohol abuse and exploitative casual sex. Yawn. I made it about 3/4 of the way through and gave up.
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on February 21, 2017
very easy to read, it's written in an easy english so even those like me who use english as a second language can enjoy understanding all of it. great for a beach reading
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