Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain is now something of a food celebrity, after writing several books on the subject and being the star of multiple TV shows (including No Reservations and A Cook's Tour), he has a reputation for being a no-holds-barred kind of guy. This book was the beginning of the public version of that reputation.
When he was writing his first non-fiction book, Kitchen Confidential, he had been a down in the trenches chef and cook for 25 years. It is a vividly written book about a life, vividly lived. He likens a restaurant's kitchen and its chef to a pirate ship and its captain. (The colorful backgrounds of the cooks in the kitchen of Ratatouille are said to be based on the descriptions in Bourdain's book.) He projects simultaneous pride and humility for the wildness of his life. My favorite chapter, however, is the one in which he contrasts his experience and leadership style with those of another chef.
The book is a deeply personal description of his experiences and as someone who values openness, I really enjoyed his style of writing. With his unabashed honesty, one thing is abundantly clear, Bourdain does not lack cojones.