Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbellyby Anthony Bourdain
Last summer, The New Yorker published Chef Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This". Bourdain spared no one's appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. From Bourdain's first oyster in the Gironde, to his lowly position as dishwasher in a honky--tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown (where he witnesses for the first time the real delights of being a chef); 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.
Onion A.V. Club
The Weekly Standard
Now, in this astonishingly frank, often outrageous, more-often hilarious romp of a book, Bourdain opens up the swinging, clattering kitchen doors to show vividly, pungently, "what it feels like, looks like, and smells like in the clutter and hiss of a big-city restaurant kitchen."
Woven in are the stories of some of the great and less than great characters he has known--Howard, the "revered elder statesman of Cape Cod cookery," with wild, unruly white hair and a gin-blossomed face, who had a lifelong love affair with seafood and wrote two books about it; Tyrone, the broilerman, "big, black, hugely muscled, with a prominent silver-capped front tooth, a fist-sized gold-hooped earring, and a size 56 chef's coat stretched across his back like a drumhead;" "Bigfoot," the giant Jewish restaurateur of Greenwich Village who remains beloved and/or despised by generations of waiters, bartenders, cooks and chefs but who taught Bourdain how to wring the last penny from this hugely difficult business; Nando, the famous pastry chef of the Rainbow Room, who found time to hurl profiteroles at the skaters in the Rockefeller Center rink, sixty-four floors down; Pino Luongo, the "Prince of Restaurant Darkness," who ran a string of Tuscan restaurants in high-priced New York venues; and all the zany, beleaguered, unpredictable talents, many of them immigrants and the self-styled marginals, who have worked for and with Bourdain in his 25 years in the business.
Woven in too are the secrets of the trade and their consequences, sometimes nefarious, for diners: Why Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the only truly good nights to eat in a restaurant, why chefs rub their hands over customers who want their beef well-done; why seafood frittata is a definite no-no at a weekend brunch.
And with no nonsense clarity, Bourdain spells out in a few pages what it takes to bring your kitchen up to par with the pros. It is not as difficult as you might think. It may take as little as a new Global chef's knife and the right kind of bottle to spritz your serving plates like a pro…
Tony Bourdain may be a master chef by profession, but he is also a born raconteur. A portion of his book, in a somewhat different form, ran in The New Yorker and his portrayal of the "underbelly" of the contemporary big-city restaurant can only be compared to George Orwell's in DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON. The great difference between Orwell's hellish vision and Bourdain's is that Bourdain is enormously proud of his profession, and trumpets its "grandeurs" as well as he bemoans its "miseries." As he puts it, "For me, the cooking life has been a long love affair, with moments both sublime and ridiculous. But like a love affair, looking back you remember the happy times best, the things that drew you in in the first place, the things that kept you coming back for more."
KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL is that kind of meal.
Read an Excerpt
"In that unforgettably sweet moment of my youth, that one moment still more alive for me than so many of the other 'firsts' that followed, I attained glory. Monsieur Saint Jour beckoned me over to the gunwale where he leaned over, reached down until his head nearly disappeared underwater, and emerged, holding a single silt-encrusted oyster. It was huge and irregularly shaped in his rough fist. With a snubby, rusted oyster knife, he popped the thing open and handed it to me, everyone watching now, my little brother shrinking away from this glistening, dripping, vaguely sexual-looking object. I took it in my hand, tilted the shell back into my mouth as instructed by Monsieur Saint Jour and, with one bite and a slurp, wolfed it down. It tasted of seawater, of brine and flesh, and somehow . . . of the future." from Kitchen Confidential
Meet the Author
Anthony Bourdain is the author of Bone in the Throat. This is his first work of non-fiction. He is the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York City.
- New York, New York
- Date of Birth:
- June 25, 1956
- Place of Birth:
- New York, New York
- High school diploma, Dwight Englewood School, 1973; A.O.S. degree, The Culinary Institute of America, 1978
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