I loved this book. After reading it, I felt I really learned what it REALLY is like to be a chef. Anthony Bourdain's reading is fantastic. He is at times crude and vulgar, while at other times down right hilarious. What I loved about this book: Honest. If you love the food network and would truly love to get down and dirty with the "real" cooking, read this book. He does not sugar coat a thing. I loved it!
I had an extra Audible Listener credit that was about to expire and I saw this book which I vaguely recall somebody having recommended it a long time back. So I took a chance and bought it. What a pleasant surprise! Anthony Bordain is an absolute hoot. And his writing -- which is already excellent -- is made all the better by his witty delivery. Don't worry that it's a book about the restaurant business (I frankly had no interest in the topic either)... just sit back and enjoy listening to this. You won't be sorry.
Funny, insightful, irreverent, articulate...all fit this outstanding effort by Anthony Bourdain. My first read of his material and I can't wait to download his earlier works while eagerly awaiting his next effort!
If the workings of a professional kitchen intrigues you, you must read this book!!!
Thoroughly entertaining nonfiction. I didn't care for the author; I found him to be very arrogant, but he does tell a good story. This book was a great insight into the restaurant business, and any one that has ever waitressed at a nice place will appreciate it. He tells it like it is.
I got this book based on the other good reviews, and needed to use up a book credit before it expired. Completely unexpected, this book is one of my favorites! Very funny, and easy to listen to. I have also tried to become more adventurous in my cuisine choices, and found the "What not to order in a restaurant" very helpful.
1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)
I was a fan of "Kitchen Confidential" TV Show and I Decided to read the book it was based upon, and I loved It!!!!!
Sense of humor and facts of the story make it unbelievably good.
Excellent narration of the author himself giving it final touch making it better than TV show.
I began listening it through the loud speakers of my phone during my meal time break in one of my usual restaurants, and in 20 minutes 3 tables closest to me asked me to make it louder, I have no doubt they BOUGHT a copy of their own.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
If you like gossip and seamy stories of wild, violent, dirty, sexual, drug infused behavior with respectful references to wise-guys and some cooking professionals you may be quite entertained by this book. If you are an aspiring chef, don’t waste your time, unless you aspire to make good money as the boss of a huge, good (yet run-of-the-mill) two star NYC restaurant. If you love eating in restaurants (especially swordfish, mussels, bread, or just about anything else) and you are the least bit squeamish or impressionable don’t read this book. Many reviewers seem to find the references to violence, the mob, drugs, crime, and dick jokes colorful. I found it mostly tedious. At one point the author stabs a guy for patting his butt. The whole thing had a weird vibe of intense insecurity, fierce mediocrity, and homophobia.
There are a few nice bits. These were: The story of Bourdain’s first oyster (sweet); the very brief comments on equipment for the serious home cook (see instead a free trial of Cooks Illustrated dot com); the short bit of does and don’ts of eating out; and the section on Scott Bryan (a successful and truly creative chef that does everything exactly the opposite of Bourdain).
I love restaurants and chefs as well as home cooking. Give me Scott Bryan, or Jacques Pépin or Julia Childs any day. Bourdain is (I presume deliberately so as to make money) provocative in his writing, which I think is counter-productive. He suggests not eating swordfish, mussels, and some other stuff. Arg. Swordfish is good. Mussels are good. Ten minutes of research would have resolved his issues with swordfish; a nose & sending it back will protect you from bad mussels.
The writing style is quite approachable and conversational and (at times) passionate but is loaded with clichés and other unpolished bits that drove me nuts. My favorite cliché was “needless to say”. OK if it is needless then don’t waste my time saying it. The writer has a Henry V style youth, but seems never to make the transition to maturity. Instead he changes just barely enough to find a nitch of survival with some achievement but seems not quite happy and does not quite excel. Bourdain (since this writing) seems to have become exactly what, he says in this book, he hates.
To explain his life in the world of "fine dining" is an experience in itself! Reading his own story was an enormous plus. Having just returned from New York on a brief trip, the sights and sounds he discribes is so on point. To get into the inner workings of how these Chiefs rise to "Kingdom" was both informative and entertaining. I have to say that I admire Bourdains goal of not selling his soul to the establishment as so many others have done. His honesty and candor is refreshing.
The book was interesting to get a personal take on the restaraunt business, however, as someone who has never worked as a cook and doesn't frequent french restraunts, there were significant portions where a little description of what he is talking about would have been welcome and I think, would have helped me get more out of it. Many times during an anecdote he will rattle off a number of names of dishes that he's either cooking, really enjoys, or is finding to be a real pain, but given only the french names of these, I couldn't help feeling that I was missing out on some of the intended passion. There are some descriptions of some of the cook lingo he uses regularly, but these are not given until 2/3 or 3/4 through the book, by which point you have either already deduced, or just stopped reading or listening.
I also feel it is very important to mention that there is considerable amount of foul language used. Do not expect him to just gloss over a few obscenities. There are seemingly full paragraphs that do not contain a single word that wouldn't be considered offensive.
Overall, I would say that this book reminds me of the movie Waiting. If you enjoyed that, but are interested in the story of a guy that's really been there, then you'll probably enjoy this. If you hated that movie or were horrifically offended by it, then you should probably skip Kitchen Confidential.