I have found this book to be dead on perfect as to how a restaurant works, I have worked the Food Industry for over 20 years, and he is dead on!!! He kept me laughing about all of the tings that happen. He always makes me smile and laugh through out his books.
If you've wondered about kitchen culture, this is the book. As the mother of a chef, a line cook, and a restaurant owner I learned a lot about the alien (but lovable) world of the professional kitchen. And what not to order for Sunday brunch.
Memoir of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who admits his arrogance and missteps with no apologies. Insider's look into the "underbelly" of professional restaurant chefs and their world. Has a hard edge, but is ultimately a very rewarding read.
I love this book and am not sure I can let it go. It is, all at once, informative, fascinating, addictive. His ability to explain, in explicit detail, some of the more grotesque practices of even the BEST restaurants or their staff, while not removing your desire to frequent these establishments, is quite uncanny. It is also a concise but invaluable resource for restaurant workers and home cooks alike. One thing is for sure, you will not come away from this book thinking that someday it might be fun to open a small restaurant as a lark!
I enjoyed this book, the writing style was fluid and smooth and the incidents Bourdain describes were usually funny. A note to readers: this book is written as a collection of short essays, so don't except any continuity. I was very confused until I figured this out. It's not a straight A to B linear memoir, but very interesting nonetheless.
If you're a fan of anything Bourdain's done - you'll want to read this. If you're NOT a fan, you'll WANT to read this to find out all the backstories behind the restaurants you visit. The gory details are sure to keep you planning your visits out in a whole different light. (big hint: AVOID the Sunday Buffets!)
I loved this book. Anthony Bourdain is so straightforward and tells it like it is in the restaurant business. After reading this, I cannot believe anyone would choose this career! You have to be a maniac! Thank god for maniacs!
A real page-turner about the restaurant business from a New York chef. If you are at all interested in food or cooking then you will find this book very hard to put down. I read it in a weekend, I only put it down to sleep and do a little cooking of my own.
While illuminating about what goes in restaurant kitchens, I can't help but question as to how representative Mr. Bourdain's experiences are outside of New York city. I don't think we even have Ecuadorians in Michigan, let alone this level of drug use, etc. Nevertheless I did learn quite a bit and even found parts entertaining. (Cut the chapter about the Japan visit; too much gushing and not informative.)
Oh my,talk about underbellies! You would think the author is describing mugging pirates along the Barbary Coast, instead of the staff in modern high end restaurant kitchens. About 3 chapters from the end he does describe a well-run kitchen, other than that you will wonder how any of us survive the luxuries of expensive restaurant meals.
Enlightening and frightening...fun to read.
Not my usual reading material, but I love his show and therefore had to give it a read. It's gives you great insight into the man and the business, in a skewed kind of way...Anthony Bourdain's way. Puts any thoughts I may have had about opening up a little mom & pop restaurant here at home completely out of my mind.
Tony's use of language is a bit rough, but the book is laugh-out-loud funny and a really interesting. I highly recommend it. It is one of the very few books I plan to read again...and perhaps again.
I have worked in a very good restaurant and in reading this book was able to recognize the many truths that Bourdain exposes.
Tony comes clean about his years of experimenting with drugs, drinking, and running around. A nice, quiet, studious young man he wasn't. However, he turned out to be a marvelous chef with a great love of food, people, travel, different cultures and a marvelous sense of humor.
He exposes some of the well-known things, little tricks, and devious exchanges that are a part of the restaurant business. There are not only things you should know, but he explains what you can do about them, such as, do not order fish on Monday,(it is not fresh as it was ordered for earlier in the week), do not order stews or things with many different ingredients at the beginning of the week since it is likely to contain leftover ingredients from the week before. (You know, throw in some of that fish, a little of that old sausage meat, the veggies that are beginning to wilt, etc. Mix them together in a stew or something that sounds glamorous with a French name and people will order it with no idea of what it really is made with.)
This book will help you to be a smart consumer. For what you pay, you need to really know what you are paying for. You need to be armed with more information than just the fact that the unused rolls they remove from someone's table may wind up on yours.
The two great books you need to read are this one, "Kitchen Confidential" and "Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany" by Bill Buford. I promise you will find both of them fascinating.
If you're a fan of Anthony Bourdain and his show on the travel channel you'll love this book. He writes with the same cranky sarcastic tone he uses in life. It's like he's speaking to you. Some parts will make you cringe and re-think going out to dinner tonight but it's a fascinating glimpse into his life and the life of chefs and cooks everywhere.
Anthony Bourdain has become the celebrated bad boy of the restaurant business, and in the process has become a star of the Food Network, some of whose famous chefs he ridicules in this book, written before said stardom. That however does not take away from the enjoyment I took from this strangely beguiling memoir. I say strangely because Bourdain is clearly an Alpha Male, who has lead a wild and crazy life, crawling up the restaurant food chain to become the Head chef at Les Halles, a celebrated NYC establishment. This book is outrageously profane and full of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Having worked in the business myself for over 20 years, I can attest to the truth of many of his stories about life in the kitchen. The story telling is gritty but also extremely funny, and inside all the machismo I think there beats the heart of a nice guy, although I'm sure he would have you believe otherwise. The downside is you'll never eat in a restaurant without thinking about what's going on in the back of the house, and wondering what exactly went into the meal you are eating.
Take one surly chef who thinks he's a bad boy pirate, add in a talent as a natural raconteur, and spice with a cheeky self-deprecating self of humor. The resulting dish is one part about what goes on in the busy professional kitchens of a NYC restaurant, one part down & dirty hijinx (sex, drugs, booze, petty chicanery), and one part a peek inside the head of an authentic gourmand and professional chef who's deeply obsessed with fine food. The chapters reminiscing about his childhood & other such nostalgia drag, but when he's describing a day in the life of a chef - from recounting the foibles of his stand-up crew to lovingly describing his adventures in food - you really do feel like the proverbial fly on the wall...plus you'll learn the following important lessons: why to never order fish on a Monday, why swordfish should never cross your lips again, and why brunch is a low-status dumping ground of leftovers from Friday & Saturday nights that the chef is trying to unload on unsuspecting fine diners.
Although I cannot cook for the life of, unless you count Mac n' Cheese, I still love watching Food Network & Travel Channel's cooking related shows, hence the reason I wanted to read this book.
My knowledge of Anthony Bourdain was pretty limited prior to reading this book. I had seen him on TV numerous times and always liked him and after reading this book, nothing has changed.
Anthony goes in detail on his start in the industry and how he has moved his way up. None of it was easy, but he sure has some great stories to tell and interesting tidbits about some of the people, some unscrupulous, people met along the way.
The author holds nothing back. He gives very detailed information about the food he cooks making it seem like you can smell and taste it in front of you. The stories make you laugh and feel like you are in the kitchen with him and his comrades. A very well paced and entertaining book.
I fell in love with Bourdain's writing when I read A Cook's Tour. His earlier book, Kitchen Confidential, is every bit as much fun. Here Bourdain gives us an inside look at the antics of kitchen workers at some of New York's favorite restaurants. His witty, conversational writing style kept me engaged from the first page to the last.
If you have ever watched this guy's show, he is a pretty honest and raw guy! His book is hilarious and decribes life in the underbelly of the restaurant business in his usual sarcastic manner. I really like his truthfulness and his willingness to show his true self. My brother is a chef and owns his own restaurant and I can honestly say that Mr. Bourdain seems to be a chip off the old chef's block in his descriptive stories. A truly adventurous read!
i first became familiar with tony bourdain through his tv show, a cook's tour, while i was in college. this book was him through and through- backbiting, arrogant, and really entertaining. i'm not a foodie- i got the book based on recommendation and his over-the-top personality- but it was excellent.
Liz B. reviewed Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly on
Helpful Score: 1
I work as a chef and while I can relate to some of what he's saying and worked in similar situations.. I don't know why I expected an epiphany of some sorts.I suppose if you aren't in the industry, some of what he writes about might be interesting. To me, I found it boring.
I was excited to read this book as an insider's look at the restaurant business. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The view may or may not be an accurate one, but the tone of the book for me was shock value. The language used and some of the incidents described again may well be accurate but the descriptions were not necessary.
Loved this book! Bourdain is honest, irreverant, and pushes the envelope in all he does. I'm sure there are many who wonder why he is still working - however, there are enough who, like myself, find his style both exciting and refreshing. Loved the book!
Bookfanatic reviewed Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly on
Helpful Score: 1
Loved this book! It's a no-holds barred look at being a chef in New York City. Bourdain's wit, humor and sarcasm really appeal to me. Wish I could say I was as witty, but I have the same sarcastic, dark sense of humor he does. He talks the way guys like my brother and his friends talk to each other when women aren't around. Bourdain doesn't mince words. He's a straight shooter who tells it like it is complete with profanity and some F-bombs when the situation warrants. If you're squeamish or very sensitive then this book isn't for you.
There's a lot of information about what goes on in the kitchen. I don't mean roaches or rats, but rather the cussing, drug use, hard drinking, womanizing, stress, fighting, etc. You learn a lot like what to order, what days to order what dish, what to ask for, what not to ask for...all good insider information that those of us not in the food industry aren't privy to.
This is a fascinating book. It launched Bourdian's career as a television host and writer.
Anthony Bourdain is quite proud of his writing and his vocabulary, and sometimes I think he poured it on a little thick. Also, I guess it is a memoir, so there is a lot about individuals, and I was not as taken with some of them as he was. All in all, though, it was entertaining, even if he is a bit of a blowhard.
I am an amateur chef and love to read about behinds the scenes in restaurant kitchens. This was a very good look at how the kitchen operate. Some of what he said was rather 'off putting' but it hasn't stopped my restaurant crawling.
It's been a while since I read it, but my memories of it are pretty positive.
This book is hysterical, but sad at the same time. We all know now that Bourdain ends up doing pretty well for himself, though :). My favorite part of this book was his unmistakable authorial voice. He sounds JUST like he does in his show, honest and blunt. Definitely a fun read!
If enjoy Anthony Bourdain on TV, you should read this book. He writes like he talks so the book is funny, honest, blustery, just like his personality. It is also an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the world of food and restaurants.
great book about the behind the scenes of professional kitchens - but defintely not for the faint of heart or easily offended - lots of sex, drugs and extreme potty mouth
but fast paced and easy read - makes you hungry and revolted at all the same time - the book goes from his first idea of when he discovered how good food could be as a child to his experiences at the CIA (cooking school not spy school) to his many jobs in the restaurant business - i do wish he explained for the uninitiated like myself what some of the french or culinary terms meant you can kinda get the gist of it but it would have been nice if there were a glossary of terms or footnotes to explain
I like his show on the travel channel and have seen him on Top Chef but didn't really know much about him. This book gave me the background I was looking for because it is an autobiography. I enjoyed reading it and learned a lot about him, restaurants, food, being a chef, and a little bit of traveling. I liked his humor too.
In this case, the Audio CD version of Kitchen Confidential wins over the book, because it is read by the author himself. I had many hours of wonderful private time with Mr. Bourdain during my lengthy commute and I have to say this was fascinating. He's fascinating, cocky and annoying at the same time, I love the complex blend!
This book is great! Whether a fan of Anthony Bourdain or not, one can't help but become completely engrossed in his tales of culinary debauchery. Had so much fun reading this book, although, my husband lost a little sleep over it, as I was laughing out loud in bed and repeatedly wanting to read paragraphs out loud to him. Great find and I highly recommend it.
Very well-written, interesting, honest and LAUGH OUT LOUD FUNNY! I have rarely laughed so much while reading a book, even one meant to be humorous. I enjoyed this one immensely.
I exchange books I've read with others most of the time, being a member of great organizations such as Paperback Book Swap, which I strongly recommend, but this is one of the few books I own that I refuse to exchange. It goes in my keeper pile and I do plan to reread it again, perhaps several times.
Bourdain may even be a better writer than he is a cook. I've enjoyed his other books too, but this one is a clear winner.
"A Cook's Tour" is another keeper and is fascinating. We have traveled to many countries and food is always a major subject of interest to us. Bourdain shares some of his wonderful, interesting experiences and you may find yourself canceling appointments, putting off the dusting and washing to just keep reading. His writing certainly holds your attention. By all means, check it out.
Mary G. reviewed Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly on
I love Anthony Bourdain. He makes me laugh and shocks me with his writing just enough to keep me wanting more. This book inspires me to go work in a kitchen if only for the ability to curse, eat and drink with abandon :-)
I supported and put myself through college waiting tables. The restaurant business is not for the faint of heart, and Bourdain describes it well. It is a rough life, and not easy even for servers. I take pride in my waitressing days--I was damn good, and made good money. A great server is priceless. Have a bad server and you'll see what I mean.
I loved reading this. It brought me back to those days. And whatever he says about the sex, drugs, and drinking are all true.
I laugh at friends and colleagues who are afraid to eat certain foods, or who wrinkle their noses at items left out of the fridge for a couple of hours--they should see what goes on in restaurant kitchens!
Rough, raw, rowdy, and raunchy. Not for the squeamish. Very interesting and entertaining. Yes, the later chapters are written at a slower and more mature pace, but I loved the one about Tokyo. I even enjoyed the chapter about his hands. It might be a good idea for a photographer to put together a book picturing the hands of chefs.
Truly tells you what it's like to work in a restaurant kitchen. If you are afraid to know what goes on in the kitchen, don't read this. But if you are a frustrated chef or ever worked in a restaurant, you will LOVE this tale.
Have always loved Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" television show and was curious about this book. Read it in a day and a half when I got it and loved it. Learned a lot about what it's like to be a chef; the life style; what motivtes them. They all seem to march to their own drummer but have a passion about food and it's preparation. And there are superstars in the culinary world that any chef wants to work with. A good read.
very brutally honest look at life in restaurant kitchens. at least, in the author's life - which was quite sad, actually. I ended up feeling sorry for him. hopefully, he has learned a few things. namely, that sex, drugs and bad behavior doesn't make one happy. it was very enlightening, though, at the behind the scenes life. if this is how most kitchens are run, I would never make it in one. I would be in constant tears at the criticism.
Maybe youre a foodie who likens the exciting popping sensation of quinoa to a vegetarian caviar. Perhaps youre the couple who has to be the first to try every new restaurantthen pass your valuable critiques onto friends and family. Or do you prefer the all you can eat buffets where troughs of enigmatic food from every imaginable country are ready for sampling? Maybe youre none of those, just a regular Joe-Schmo (or Jolene-Schmolene) where dining out is a special occasion, befitting to dusting off your finest duds, ready to be schmoozed in a tablecloth and candle-lit atmosphere. Or perchance, youre one of the brave onesan aspiring chef. Whoever you are or how you prefer your intake of professionally-concocted sustenance, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain may be a book for your consideration. This book is a memoir of Chef Anthony Bourdains humble beginnings as a dishwasher (sudsbuster, a.k.a. pearl diver), to his education in the Culinary Institute of America, to various restaurant venues, to a renown executive chef in the Brasserie Les Halls in Manhattan. And with the honest and sarcastic wit you may have come to know in his TV series, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, this book is an eye-opening, humorous tell-all. In it youll be served a behind the scenes look at the high-stress restaurant world, where tension and cocaine meet skill and timing. After reading this book, youll either appreciate your dining experience much more, or youll think twice before ordering the fish on Monday. Youll know what it takes to put it all together. Youll meet the dream-team of ruffians that make it all happen. Youll understand what an amazing feat it is to feed a 200+ seat restaurant, along with a 150+ seat grill, and top it off with an entire floor of banquet rooms from a kitchen as big as a hangar. You may even feel ashamed or at the very least present a nice little blush the next time you demand gluten-free bread or the vegetarian meat platter or what-have-you when its not on the menu. I truly enjoyed this irreverent look at the restaurant business. So did my husband and son. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
In his book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, Anthony Bourdain explores both his adventures and experiences within the culinary world, as well as the interesting details that readers might like to know about life in the kitchen. In the course of a full three course dinner, as the book is cleverly apportioned into, Bourdain delves deep into the nitty-gritty of his life, culminating in the reflections of a now physically scarred celebrity chef, spending most of his time traveling far away from any kitchen that could be considered as his. This is a book not only about why you probably shouldnt 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 also about a life experienced via food. While people today tend to immediately recognize Anthony Bourdain as the host of various food-related television shows, exploring unique tastes and creations from around the world, he was once an ignorant and inexperienced newcomer to the world of professional cooking, and even before that, he was a normal dumb kid with no concept or understanding of food beyond the wonders of the hamburger with ketchup. Mixing his course attitude and language with a selection of anecdotes from throughout the highs and lows of his earlier career prior to the fame, Bourdain opens a door to the public that few would have ever thought to look for. This is more than just a book for those who love food. This is a book with something to offer for anyone who has ever eaten out in a restaurant, had a passing interest in cooking, or even so much as momentarily wondered what goes on behind the curtain in the cooking world.
There are many strengths to the book, the most notable of which is likely the passion with which Bourdain is able to speak of his one great love. He wants the readers to get a glimpse of the true joys of making really good food at a professional level, and he shows this well, as even in the most run-down kitchens at the lowest point of his career and addictions, this is a career and life that he has loved, and he wouldnt have missed it for the world. Every experience he had and many people he encountered, from Tyrone, who taught him a powerful lesson about pride and arrogance when he reached slowly under the broiler and picked up the glowing-hot sizzle-platterand set it down in front of me, through to Bigfoot, who taught him the essential skills of how to run a kitchen truly well, all shaped him into the chef he would one day become, and it is a fascinating journey. It is easy to love a job when one starts in a comfortable and successful position, but it takes true passion and dedication to do so when someone is required to start from the very bottom and fight every inch of the way up the ladder. While the seedy side of the profession, including the drugs, sex, and questionable professional behaviors by those responsible for making what we all consume when we sit down to eat at a restaurant, such as the recycled food placed on the buffet, might make ones stomach slightly weak at the knees, there is also a sense of appreciation to be had for not only how cooking is done, but the work that goes into running a high-quality kitchen. The chapter A Day in the Life is particularly enlightening for what it reveals about how a chef proceeds through his day, even as other chapters that reveal the language, relationships, and perceptions that categorize the profession serve to supplement this understanding. By the time one finishes reading the book, they have learned more than it would likely ever have occurred to them to even wonder.
Of course, this is not to say that the book is without its flaws. For one, if a reader tends to prefer a chronological narrative to the memoirs that they decide to read, disappointment will be a short time coming, as Bourdain quickly begins to jump around quite freely as the mood suits him, following his own sense of organization. While this can make the text difficult to follow the timeline on at times, Bourdain has a clear concept in mind in regards to what he wishes to convey. On the other hand, some of the content, such as when Bourdain needs to make his bones by countering the sexual advances of another chef as his drunken advances threatened to become actual penetration, the subsequent stabbing as well as the context of the scene as a whole can feel downright disturbing. Overall, as much as Bourdain might love nothing more than cooking in a restaurant kitchen, anyone who does not share that same level of passion to such an extent so as to be willing to endure such an environment might well be turned off from the entire idea. Of course, this is exactly what makes professional chefs what they are, and why the reader recognizes that only a select few will ever be able to survive the pressure so as to lay claim to that illustrious status. The rest of us are left to merely live vicariously through the small glimpses that those few choose to share with us, and wonder if, perhaps, in another life, we might have had what it takes as well.
Bourdain can masterfully evoke the controlled chaos of a commercial kitchen during meal service, and his "Day in the Life" of a chef is exhausting just to read. But he loses points for his massive ego, his dismissive attitude toward those whom he considers lesser beings, and his incessant name-dropping. He also loses points for this edition's "Afterword", in which he attempts to walk back many of his more outrageous statements.
Contains faux-handwritten notes updating information from his original. Some of it is interesting, but, just like the TV series, his I'm-a-schmuck-but-I'm-the-only-one-who-will-tell-the-truth routine wears thin fast. There's a good reason he's kept moving through careers.