• Kitchen Confidential

  • Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
  • By: Anthony Bourdain
  • Narrated by: Anthony Bourdain
  • Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (36,137 ratings)

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Kitchen Confidential

By: Anthony Bourdain
Narrated by: Anthony Bourdain
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Editorial review

By Seth Hartman, Audible Editor


Drawing from his experience and pedigree as a seasoned chef in New York City, Anthony Bourdain brings an honest, impassioned, and aggressively pretense-free perspective to this seemingly glamorous life. As a lifelong eater and obsessive patron of all types of cooking shows, Kitchen Confidential left a special impact on me.

Rather than providing a "view from the mountaintop," Bourdain meets the listener at eye level, narrating a brutally honest and relentlessly detailed account of life in the kitchen in his own voice. While I am sure he would hate to be described as such, Anthony Bourdain arguably created the punk rock, alternative bad boy aesthetic that has become a popular trope among celebrity chefs. Through this book, he spares no details recounting the long hours, strained relationships, drug abuse, and insomnia that colored his experiences working at some of the finest dining institutions in New York and beyond. While stories like this are more commonly told in today’s media landscape, Bourdain really kicked the doors open for public discourse about restaurant life.

While I love to be in the kitchen and think of myself as a decent cook, I still consider what goes on behind closed doors in a restaurant to be magical. After falling in love with Bourdain as a television personality, I thought I would try to deepen my connection with my burgeoning passion in the kitchen by listening to his memoir. I always loved Anthony Bourdain for his ability to "take off the gloves" when speaking about some of the industry’s best kept secrets. I honestly don’t think I would have the courage to push myself in the kitchen if it wasn’t for his sarcastic yet encouraging voice pushing me along. With his signature dry sense of humor and absolute refusal to muzzle himself, Kitchen Confidential is full of Bourdain’s almost dogmatic "dos and don’ts." For example, he absolutely refuses to eat fish on Mondays in New York City based on of what he knows about fish suppliers and when restaurants tend to buy stock. One of my favorite parts about this book is that it makes you not only a better home chef but a better restaurant-goer as well.

After his tragic demise in 2018, I felt something that I rarely feel from a celebrity death. Anthony Bourdain was a one-of-a-kind soul, an unparalleled talent, and a man who truly brought a never-before-seen look into his craft to the general public. This book encapsulates everything I love and admire about the man. While some people are put off by his blunt, profane, and occasionally jaded point of view, I think these qualities made him the greatest foodie there ever was.

While this memoir is certainly ideal for those wishing to understand more about the inner workings of the restaurant business, it has a very wide appeal. No matter if you are an industry professional, long time hobbyist (like me), or couldn't care less about haute cuisine, Bourdain's wisdom will reach you somehow. His musings on life, passion, addiction, and love are feelings we can all relate to one way or another. If you are looking to make a change in your life or are searching for some kind of creative inspiration, there is a lot of gold to be found here.

Continue reading Seth's review >

Publisher's summary

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.

2000 Anthony Bourdain
(P)2000 Random House, Inc.

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