I was bored to tears for most of this extremely long book, waiting for Mr. Bourdin to finish telling us about the machismo trip that sets the tone of all his kitchens and start telling us about food and cooking. The author labors under the common delusion that being opinionated and frank makes you interesting. He took multiple chapters to rehash how profanity, crudity, and a thick skin are essential for being a real cook in a real kitchen, when one or two at MOST would have sufficed. Imagine someone taking an entire book to tell you what cadets at boot camp REALLY act like. I desperately wanted more chapters like the ones at the end of the book, describing his trips to the beautifully orchestrated kitchen of a friend (no shock value needed) and a trip to Japan: stories about loving food and the subtlties of cooking, managment, and culture.
George Burns once stated when he was working in vaudeville, comedians without talent used "dirty jokes" to make up for a lack of talent and he decided early in his career that he would make it on talent or not make it at all. The author of this book should take Burns' advise and try using writing talent instead of boring the reader with endless "shocking" tales of swearing, sex and drugs. Swearing, sex and drug use lost shock value about a decade ago and is now the equivalent to the vaudeville "dirty joke." There is some good writing, but 2/3 of the way through the book I grew bored of the repetitive trash talk and went on to listening to my next Audible download.
Read The New Yorker article that was the basis for this book--it gets the point across more succinctly, and without all the snarling. I found the faux tough-guy tone tiresome. Are we supposed to be impressed, intimidated, frightened? My, aren't you tough and cool! I washed dishes in various restaurants, mostly overseas, for several months and never noticed that the crews were more drug-addled, dangerous or crazy than in any number of other occupations. As to his chapter on Japan, I lived there for a couple of years and ate in plenty of tiny restaurants, including at Tsukiji market. Most evenings I ate my dinner at "Shomben Yoko-cho" (Piss Alley) after work. These are quaint and colorful experiences that are not well served by Bourdain's jacked-up, confrontational, "bring it on!" style. To me, testosterone and food don't mix.
Worst. Autobiography. Ever.
He is so incredibly arrogant and pompous and condescending that no matter HOW much I liked his television show, I couldn't stand another MINUTE of this diatribe.
He reads it with his typical snarky tone, condescending and snobby, making himself out to be pretty much THE most important thing to ever show up in the kitchens of NYC. If I heard him say "confit de canard" or "mise en place" ONE MORE TIME....I'll stop listening! (OH he said it! I stopped listening, and went to an In and Out Burger to wash it out of my system.)
If you like his show? DON'T listen to this book, it will ruin it for you.
For the first time, I was led a bit astray by Audible's wonderful "AudibleEssentials" list, which I have enjoyed using as a roadmap for most of my audiobook purchases.
I'm still not sure if it was the autobiography genre in general that put me off here or if it was simply the tone and writing of this particular book. But in either case, I found it very difficult to enjoy.
Remember when that new person showed up at your school, workplace, or social club, and it took that person *months* to realize that *nobody* really wanted to hear about all the wild things he did and how cool and crazy all his friends/coworkers were at the school/club/office he just left?
That's exactly how I felt during most of this book. Sure, a couple of the chapters were genuinely interesting, and I did find myself laughing out loud once or twice, but, in general, the analogy that kept popping into my head was that listening to this book was like sitting on an airplane trapped next to some arrogant guy who wouldn't stop rattling on about all the wild and cool stuff he'd seen in his travels...
I am of the opinion that the audiobook format lends itself particularly well to works of fiction that are written in the first-person point of view. But I now suspect that the exact opposite may be true for biographies, and I may have enjoyed this more in print.
This book held my interest and had its entertaining moments, but to me, it wasn't anything I didn't already know having worked in the restaurant industry for many years. If you are looking for a plot, look elsewhere. If you are looking to learn about or relate to the restaurant industry, give this book a try.
Excellently read by the author, I found this entertaining and enlightening. I'll never look at a restaurant the same way again. From someone who eats out 6 of 7 nights a week, I could imagine these antics as reality. Well worth the time.
I'm not sure this would have been as enjoyable if Anthony Bourdain hadn't done the reading himself. It's a great, colorful story, and he bring some life into it. Not for the faint of heart, though
I just gave up after three hours--I couldn't listen to any more of the author's self-important spiel. This was one of the most unsympathetic narrators/protagonists I have ever come across. I hoped this would be funny and a voyeuristic peek into the professional world of cooking but it turned out to be mean-spirited and boring. What a jerk...and an awful writer.