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.
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!
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
There is a certain thrill to being the first person to reach the top of a mountain, the first to eat at a soon-to-be famous restaurant, the first to discover an author, a band, a new food or experience. Well friend, the thrill of a late discovery (even when you are 15 years late to the party) is still pretty damn sweet. I might have seen Bourdain's books as I wandered through a bookstore. I might have seen him on CNN, the Travel Channel or the Food Network while searching for another show on another station. I didn't hardly notice him. He was, like that girl you know in class, but have never given much real attention to (only later to discover she is witty, wicked, and everything you want in a lover and fear in a daughter.
Over Christmas, while visiting and bonding my foodie brother in Arkansas, he introduces me to Parts Unknown on CNN. I am hooked. I love Bourdain. I'm addicted to the show. It mixes things that mix well: my love for travel, my love for food, my love for a good damn story with interesting characters. So, I figure, I might need to actually read his book. Yeah this one. The one that put him on the map. The one that turned him from an executive chef with personality to THE chef with personality.
The book is a quick read. It dances. It seems to operate with a certain mechanical, hyper-caffeinated efficiency. Whatever money it made Bourdain, he probably deserved even more. Right now, I've muted my desire to put it on the bookshelf next to my other just reads. I want my wife to read it first. Oh, I've got a friend who would love it too. My initial reaction to finishing this book is the same I get when I discover a fantastic new restaurant (Republica Empanada in Mesa, AZ) -- I want to take friends and family to it. I become not just a disciple, but a crazy-eyed evangelist.
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.
Say something about yourself!
I must confess I very much enjoyed this book. I am certainly no gourmet, yet I loved the gossip and hearing about what running a restaurant is really like. Very fun!
I just finished listening to this book over the Christmas holidays and I can't say enough good things about it. Not only is the content interesting and funny, but also the fact that Anthony read it adds texture to the story. I felt like I was sitting across the table from him having a few drinks while he told me his story. I recommend this book to anyone that might be interested in food, restaurants or great biographies.
I must say having read the hardcopy before listening, I was extremely pleased to find that Chef Bourdain narrated this audio program. Having been a chef in NYC I was extremely entertained and impressed by the honesty and accuracy of the subject matter. This book is truly entertaining for the restaurant professional as well as the home cook or foodie that just wants an inside look at the sadistic, twisted nature of the professional chef and wonderfully dark and dank cages we chefs call kitchens.
I found this audio book spellbinding. If you read this book, you cannot put it down. I was amazed at how well Bourdain narrated the book. I learned plenty about food and the chef's world. I listened to his narration in my car. Some times I would sit in my driveway for half an hour before going into the house, I was so entranced by the book. Listen to a sample and you will be hooked. ENJOY!
For anyone who has ever considered becoming a chef, works in the restaurant biz, or just loves food, you will love this book. It is an interesting look at the dark underbelly of the business behind serving good food, is narrated by the author, and is full of sick and fascinating antecdotes about his growth through the ranks of various restaurants. Mr. Bourdain is a bit self indulgent and egotistical, but you'll cut him some slack after 30 minutes of this one because it's so darn engaging.