Review: Kitchen Confidential

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.

Highly recommended.


Tania said...

I really enjoyed it too. I listened to the audio book, narrated by Bourdain, and it was great.

Honest, blunt, vivid, and entertaining.

Anne C. said...

Oooh, now that would be good. I have Stephen King's On Writing audio book, narrated by him. I can imagine that Bourdain's would be equally entertaining.

Nathan said...

Yeah, that was a book I enjoyed.

belsum said...

Oooh, I'd love to hear him reading his own book! Is this the first of Tony's books you've read? I'd recommend them all. I haven't read his fiction yet but I think we're caught up with all his non-fiction.

I also actually really liked the few episodes of the TV show Kitchen Confidential before effin' Fox cancelled it. The entire dozen or so that were shot are now up on hulu.com and I intend to check them all out. It was obviously a sanitized version of what Tony describes, but it was still extremely enjoyable and a fun fictionalization of his work.

Random Michelle K said...

The book is sitting by my bed.

We have the audiobook, which Michael listened to and loved. I haven't gone more than a chapter in, but I did like what I read.

Also, I sent you an e-mail yesterday. You'll want to make sure it didn't get eaten by the spam trap.

Anne C. said...

Thanks, Michelle. I did get it and just sent you a reply back.