Recently, The New Yorker published chef Anthony Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." Bourdain spared no one's appetite in this tell-all about what happens behind the kitchen door.
Now, the author uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable audiobook, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From his first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown, from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to drug dealers in the East Village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New York again, Bourdain's tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable.
Kitchen Confidential will make your mouth water while your belly aches with laughter. You'll beg the chef for more, please.
Anthony Bourdain is the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo. This is his first work of nonfiction. He is the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York City.
Hear an exclusive interview with Bourdain.
Executive Producer: Dan Zitt
Producer: John McElroy
Original Cover Photo: © Courtney Grant Winston for Food Arts
Original Cover Design: Notice 51
©2000 Anthony Bourdain
(P)2000 Random House, Inc.
This is one of the best books I've listened to; or read for that matter. It was addictive. I was swept away by the author's own narrative, he is the only one who could possibly do his own book justice. All the French & Italian terms and the ease with which he describes his experiences...this was a mind-visual-smell-and mostly tasty escape into someone's life which I'd always thought glamorous. Well, what a fun ride, and how enlightening! This man is a BRILLIANT writer, and so much fun to listen to. Give it a try, and even if you don't like food, you WILL love this book. This is the one that finally got my husband into audiobooks...we couldn't "put it down", and were so sorry when it ended!
Besides containing great information about what to order where and when, and what really goes on to make a restaurant run, the author is absolutely hilarious. His description of restaurant lingo was beyond funny. This is one of the funnest books to listen to ever. But be warned that the language is graphic, but, as the saying goes, "if you can't take the heat..."
Ok, so color me "sensitive" if you like, but I found myself at least wishing for some sort of warning about the vulgar language and graphic depictions of base (usually sexual) behavior. I'm not saying you shouldn't listen to it for that reason--I could have turned it off any time, and did not--but rather just trying to warn similarly constituted listeners what they're in for. The book *is* very entertaining, and Mr. Bourdain is an engaging story teller. The theme did seem to wander about a bit, from expose to documentary to lecture to diary...back and forth. All in all, though, a witty and entertaining (if brutal) look into life of a professional chef. You'll never look at a restaurant meal in quite the same way again, and, as Mr. Bourdain advises, you'll definitely want to "be polite to your waiter."
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.
I do enjoy Anthony Bourdain's television show "No Reservations", but it was the recommendation of someone I spoke with that convinced me to "read" this book. As someone who enjoys watching cooking shows and learning about food, if not good at cooking myself, I was immediately sucked into this audiobook.
Bourdain himself is a fantastic narrator. He presents his fluid and witty style clearly and with great pacing. You can tell how much effort he put into this book, and the listener is rewarded with a great variety of information. I enjoyed hearing the insider secrets about what to order when, what kinds of utensils and cookware are actually worth having, etc., but far more interesting were the stories of Anthony working behind the scenes at many restaurants in many cities.
One word of advice: this book is gritty in the sense that he pulls no punches in his description of the restaurant industry and those who make it up. If lengthy references to or all-out discussions about drugs use and sex offend you, you'll not be wanting this audiobook. On the other hand, this is the most gratifying "cooking show" experience I have*ever* had.
I have recommended this book to at least ten people since finishing it. Off to listen to the next offering from AB.
If you've ever worked in a kitchen, this is how it really is. Not how it "should" be, but most of the time how it actually is. This book is written by Anthony, but could have thousands of other names as the writer. But only he, it seems, could have put it in the words that he has. A great tribute from all of us that have gone through it.
This is a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the writer (good or bad), ready to eat in a fine food joint (when to order certain foods, when not to, and why), or thinking of working in the kitchen industry. Very well written, full of very logical and technicial facts from the food industry, a very good and enjoyable read, and just down right funny! My very first full 5 star rating and I just don't give those ratings away.
I respect the writer much more after seeing where he came from and what he went through, though I must say I found him entertaining before reading it. This was a wonderful glimpse behind the kitchen doors written by a person able to tell it better than most. Very well done Mr. Bourdain!! Learn from his decisions, and hope to be as fine a Chef as he actually is. Very well written indeed.
It is very educational book for restaurant goers. Every time I enter go to a restaurant lately, I refer to the observation that are made in this dynamic description of restaurant life inside and outside. Besides being entertaining, this book supply some inside facts that you may never learn unless you read this book. So much sticks in your mind, that it comes out during you visit to a restaurant or to a bar.
What a great listen. I discovered Anthony Bourdain through his No Reservation shows on the Travel channel. If you've enjoyed those as much as I have, you'll love this. I can't imagine anyone else reading it like the author. From the CIA (the school, that is), to P-Town, to NYC, to Tokyo and back with a supporting cast of dishwashers, waiters, sous chefs and the best baker in the world (with no last name !), you'll love hearing about his life and exploits. Enjoy.
Hey, he swears, he talks about drugs, sex, food. Especially the food. He clearly loves his food.
I cannot believe that some reviewers take against the author for honesty and being himself. He swears! Aaargh! He is honest about his past: "I was a jerk" - and I imagine he was. Perhaps is. Who knows? He writes what comes out of his head, what he feels, no holds barred. And he narrates it very well.
I am a Brit, so a lot of the references to restaurants, chefs, places meant diddly squat to me, but it doesn't matter. The book is funny - laugh out loud in places - it is informative, profane, full of foodie terms I have no idea about (but so what, it ain't a recipe book). It is a good listen.
I mark it down a point because I think the quality of recording could be better - a strange fade-in thing going on at the start of sentences/sections, but not so bad that it is to the detriment of the tale. Kitchen Confidential? AB will hate it - but I say 'well done'. Arf.
Tony Bourdain is funny, irreverent, honest, opinionated--and did I mention funny? 'Kitchen Confidential' isn't just a book for foodies, or people who eat out a lot, or people who love/respect the work chefs do (although all of those people would enjoy this book.) It's an adventure about discovering himself, about recognizing what he truly loves to do--done with razor-sharp humor and honesty and self-recognition. I've listened to it twice, and I'm sure I'll listen to it again.
"Read the paperback not the audio book, and..."
found it truly engrossing. I loved it from start to finish and can only think that the audio book would be just as good.
"A hidden view of restaurants"
This book is not for those who find strong language offensive though Bourdain makes no apologies for the life he lives and loves. I rarely prefer authors to narrate their own work as often trained actors do a better job but I can't imagine who else could improve on this. If you ever wanted to own a restaurant or become a chef listen to this book first, you need to know what you are getting yourself in to. Once you have heard it you will only eat in restaurants Tuesday to Thursday. This brutally honest biography is a far cry from the polished chefs we see on TV every day. Where the ability to cook isn't as important as being a manager. When Bourdain describes how the seedier corrupt side of humanity thrive in his kitchens you know he isn't going to spend time telling you how to make creme brullee. Well worth a listen
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