Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Review: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

I admit it: I cheated. I knew from the beginning that I would adore Kitchen Confidential. This is partly because I started working in food service at sixteen, and finally kicked the habit at twenty-five. Over the course of those nine long years, I saw a whole lot of crazy thing, and have some really great stories that I'll probably never be able to publish in any kind of public forum. Bourdain took a fair number of public and private risks when he decided to write and publish Kitchen Confidential; anything that tells the unadulterated truth of what working in restaurants is like is pretty much guaranteed to be some combination of horrifying, offensive, and just plain gross. 

Lucky for me, I already knew about all the gross stuff (like how if you order meat cooked to the consistency of a shoe sole [well-done], you'll get a crappy cut, that you should never get seafood on a Sunday or Monday, and, most importantly, that it is extremely unwise to piss off anyone who touches your food), so nothing came as much of a surprise to me. 

Anyway, I knew I'd enjoy the book because one of my ex-boyfriends was obsessed with Bourdain's television show, No Reservations, in which he travels the world eating all kinds of food. I figured that since I enjoyed the show, I'd enjoy the book, and I wasn't wrong. A memoir of his early days in the kitchens of New York and Rhode Island and rise to prominence as the chef at Les Halles, Kitchen Confidential was just as funny, smart, and brutally honest as No Reservations, and Bourdain has quite the knack for writing. I look forward to reading his other offerings. 5 out of 5 stars.

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