Kitchen Confidential

By Anthony Bourdain,

Book cover of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Book description

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLER: 'The greatest book about food ever written' 'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked Kitchen Confidential as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Anyone who has ever worked in the food or hospitality industry—as a cook, a waitress, a hostess, a barista, or otherwisecan identify with this book.

The restaurant business is a different beast, and Anthony Bourdain took a huge risk in writing this and burning bridges with his bosses and coworkers. But in doing so, he unlocked the universal hidden language that food and hospitality workers share.

As a former hostess/waitress myself who spent most of her college years with a part-time job at IHOP and the Golden Waffle, I could relate to a lot of what Bourdain experienced…

I didn’t expect to love Kitchen Confidential as much as I did. A friend handed it to me and said, “Read this; you will laugh.” I didn’t know much about Bourdain previously, aside from the fact that he was a celebrity chef and had sadly taken his own life.

His witty, dark expose of chef life and the restaurant business drew me in immediately, and I found myself marveling at the underbelly of the business and its characters. Talented drug addicts and drunks running some of the top kitchens in NYC. Bourdain dedicates his life to working as a chef,…

Long before The Bear television series, there was the Bourdain’s exposé of the underbelly of the culture of the restaurant kitchen. At times raunchy, exhilarating, sharp-witted, angry, and hilarious, Kitchen Confidential is not merely an unflinching look at what, at the time (2000), were the mysterious goings-on of commercial kitchens, but more importantly, it’s the story of a wild and passionate young man’s search for purpose and meaning in life through food and cooking—a story made all the more poignant by what we now know of Bourdain’s lifelong battle with depression.

This is a nonfiction book, but it’s the late Anthony Bourdain’s expose on what goes on in restaurants from the chef’s perspective. It was both fascinating and shocking to learn about the almost savage relationships between the members of the kitchen staff, from the chef to the line cooks to the dishwashers and servers. There is a tragic foreshadowing, since Bourdain is candid about his drinking and substance abuse during his time as a professional cook. After reading this book, I no longer used jarred garlic because I recall Anthony’s scathing criticism of those who don’t use the fresh kind.…

Do you know why you shouldn’t order fish on a Monday? Are you aware of how much butter is in most restaurant dishes? The world of a professional kitchen is a place of both mystery and magic. While you might think that you will learn about the downside of the restaurant industry with a title like Kitchen Confidential, what you’ll walk away with is an enormous amount of respect for those that work in the “back of the house” and an understanding of how much of their lives chefs give up so we can eat food with unbelievable flavor.…

From Nick's list on drawing you into another world.

This book (rightfully) put Bourdain on the map, hilariously revealing the seedy side of the restaurant business. I found this book to be as addictive as the many illegal substances that pass through the kitchen staff, as well as a wry look at an extremely challenging industry and a celebration of excellent food produced by talented (and sometimes difficult) people. Some of the stories Bourdain told definitely inspired certain happenings in my own book

From Brianne's list on mouthwatering reads for foodies.

Bourdain’s honesty and self-deprecation are second to none. Maybe that’s why people from every walk of life loved him. He might have been a douchebag from time to time, but he was as authentic as they come, and in a world where it’s difficult to know what is real and what is fake, we need people like him.

Kitchen Confidential brings you into the kitchen of world-class chefs, criminals, illegal immigrants, millionaires, and a mixture of all the above. Even though there is a lack of plot and secondary character development, the book keeps you engaged because of Bourdain’s voice.

This now-classic catapulted Bourdain to celebrity status when it came out in 2000. I devoured it in high school, and it played no small part in my decision to pursue a career in restaurants. It glamorizes the crazy, counter-culture chef life without over-sentimentality—it remains refreshingly real. Bourdain’s quick punches, humor, and vulnerability make Kitchen Confidential a true joy to read even more than two decades later. 

From Hannah's list on celebrating food.

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