Kitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainFirst off I have to say…I love this man! Bourdain’s book is arrogant, crude, bullying, and egotistical and I loved every word, every line, every put-down, and every cuss word! Though this book was filled with technical terms and names of chefs that I have never heard of, Bourdain mentions in the preface that the book was originally intended for other chefs…not for the general layperson. I read it anyway.
I was introduced to Anthony Bourdain by a friend via his television show “No Reservations.” I immediately fell in love with his holier-than-thou, better-than-most attitude. Maybe it is the thrill and fascination of the “bad boy” but I could not stop watching the show. Discovering that he had written a book was the icing on the cake.
The book is not a summary or recollection of his travels through different countries, cultures, and foods with his show. I believe that is contained in another book. Instead this book was more of a memoir; Bourdain’s journey through the culinary trenches and godforsaken kitchens. Bourdain reminisces over his childhood and the cold soup that awakened his taste buds, the oyster that aroused his ensuing passion for food.
Bourdain may be a condescending a**hole but he seems humbled by some of his experiences and the people he has admired over the years. I enjoyed the fact that he wrote an afterword that made certain apologies to some individuals he had criticized throughout his book and his time as a chef. However, a friend of mine hated the fact that he made apologies. She feels that if he is going to be a supercilious bastard he should make no apologies for such behavior.
This book detailed many disgusting habits of the kitchens he worked in. Bourdain provides the reader with thorough descriptions of foods he has cooked and foods he enjoyed eating…and if you know Anthony Bourdain you know he enjoys some un-American fare. Eating the gelatinous goo from behind the eyeball of the fishhead he was enjoying has remained in my head.
The reader who picks up this book is in for an intense ride. A love of food, cooking, or Bourdain himself is recommended before delving into this six-course book. I definitely have no complaints about this book. But hey…who am I? Just a lowly reviewer with an unsettling attraction to Anthony Bourdain that’s who.