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!
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."
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.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
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.
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.
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!!!
Everybody else loves this book -- I didn't. I've never been a fan of books in which the author -- or protagonist -- revels in his drug use, drinking, addictions and generally antisocial conduct, and that's what this is, a pride-filled account, not of Bourdain's obviously huge talent, but of his lamentable character. I'm libertarian enough to emphasize that I don't object to Bourdain's doing it -- it's just that I don't find such juvenile conduct interesting. I can't understand the mentality that takes pride in such self-destructive behavior.
For the record, I am a foodie, at least of sorts. Twice in my life I've supported myself and my kids by catering. I can cook -- not 1% of what Bourdain does, obviously. But I'm perfectly at home in the kitchen, yours or mine. All that said, it will be a long time before I'm ready to go into any restaurant again and order food, for the simple reason that while I didn't like what Bourdain was saying, I have no trouble at all believing it.
And that's the reason I gave a book that I basically didn't like four stars -- it rings true. Unfortunately, from my standpoint, Bourdain made me see what was going on there, behind the swinging doors. The book is well-written -- so much so that not only will I stay out of restaurants, but once again, I have promised myself never to darken the borders of Japan. Eating live animals is just not something I want to hear about, let alone do. I find myself hoping there is some kind of eternal punishment for those who would cause animals such suffering -- its beyond me, how anyone can enjoy such a thing.
Bourdain narrates his own book -- which is normally a good thing. Author-read books are usually among the best. In this one, however, Bourdain races through it, reading so fast, and -- in parts -- with so little inflection, it's easy to get left behind. Now that I've finished the book, it has occurred to me that maybe that's not such a bad thing.
I won't listen to this one again -- when the need for a "life with food" book strikes me, I will head for "Appetite for Life" featuring Julia Child, or "My Life in France" or any of a half-dozen other "Julia" books that I've read or listened to many times over. There's nobody shooting up in those books, nobody bleeding or barfing all over the food. Much better, as far as I'm concerned.
If you like eating out, skip this one. Or listen at your peril.
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.
I've worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years starting as a server and moving my way up through the ranks. Anthony Bourdain paints an accurate (to the point of being offensive) depiction of life in the hospitality industry. I was so impressed by his candor and exposure. His success is the true example of conquering the American dream.
"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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