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Kitchen Confidential

by Anthony Bourdain

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

By

Kitchen Confidential
Kitchen Confidential (2000) is Chef Anthony Bourdain's personal and professional memoir of 25 years in the kitchens of New York. The book's full title is Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, but Bourdain, who studied at Vassar College before graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, with knife-sharp prose cuts through the underbelly and straight into the entrails of New York's culinary world.

Beginning with a boyhood introduction to his first raw oyster, a "glistening, vaguely sexual-looking object, still dripping and nearly alive,' and navigating through soaring heights and devastating lows of a career simultaneously fueled and marred by drugs and alcohol, Bourdain's constant companions, this memoir not only tracks the coming of age of a now-celebrity chef with his own Food Channel series, but it maps the restaurants and kitchens that came and went during Bourdain's formative cooking years.

Though he is currently a highly-regarded executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles, Bourdain's early years were spent ricocheting from one failure to another, particularly during the period he refers to as "the wilderness years."
It is one of the central ironies of my career that as soon as I got off heroin things started getting really bad. High on dope I was, prior to Gino's, at least a chef - well paid, much liked by crew and floor and owners alike. Stabilized on methadone, I became nearly unemployable by polite society - a shiftless, untrustworthy, coke-sniffer, sneak-thief, and corner-cutting hack, toiling in obscurity in the culinary backwaters. I worked mostly as a cook, moving from place to place, often working under an alias.

Despite a total immersion approach to drugs and debauchery, Bourdain maintains his love of food and a passion for his work throughout. He is a purist with an ironclad work ethic, an ironically common badge of the addict. Bourdain's prose is peppered with profanity and he frequently refers to his customers as "rubes" and those who exist outside the restaurant industry, "civilians." His approach to writing is the same as his approach to food: clear, concise, and lacking in ephemeral B.S. He is, in short, a pleasure to read - or to listen to, as in this case.
As an audio book, Kitchen Confidential soars, because who better to deliver Anthony Bourdain's biting assessment of the restaurant industry than Bourdain himself? The sardonic tone emanates perfectly from the author's own voice. With audioboaudio bookss often not the case, but Bourdain proves equally capable behind the microphone as he is behind the laptop,lap tope chef's counter.

Pick up a copy of this book. If you spend any amount of time in New York City restaurants, Kitchen Confidential is a must-read. If you've spent any time working in the culinary arts, Kitchen Confidential is a must-read. For anyone else, Kitchen Confidential will be one of the fastest and sharpest works of memoir that you'll ever have the pleasure of digesting.

This book was rented from www.simplyaudiobooks.com.

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