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Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential

by Anthony Bourdain

Quick take

Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.

Why I love it

Book of the Month

Prior to the release of Kitchen Confidential in 2000, an excerpt appeared in the New Yorker. The entire industry reacted'”either with entertained amusement or with shocked anger. When the article became the book, rumors were flying about the controversial exposes and I was told repeatedly that Le Bernardin was mentioned several times. So I read the book'”the first book I ever read in English'”and was certainly surprised: Anthony only had compliments for Le Bernardin'”we were one of the lucky few! The world he described, the unpolished-side of the kitchen filled with pirates and unsavory characters and their tattoos and taste for trouble, was eye-openingly different from the regimented, almost-militant kitchens of my own experience. I needed to know more'¦

I decided to call Anthony and invite him to lunch; we got along very well and a friendship began. It wasn’t long before we’d spend evenings away from our restaurants in Anthony’s favorite subterranean dive bars, listening to obscure punk music on old jukeboxes. These places were definitely out of my element, but it was worth the venture to learn more about the industry underbelly that he spoke of in Kitchen Confidential and gain a deeper insight into Anthony’s personality. He is a widely intelligent man whose knowledge spans such a vast range of topics'”you see it often in his shows as he circles around the relationships between food and a region’s political, social, and cultural development. The dude is smart. He also is deeply caring and has an unparalleled work ethic. When we have plans, I can never be late. Never. Anthony is always on time.

I have tremendous respect Anthony. We are very different in our ways of thinking but have found an almost 'œGood & Evil' balance in our relationship, even collaborating on a chocolate bar of that name. Whenever he invites me on his show, it doesn’t take long before we just ignore the cameras and have the same fun we always do. He still continues to find new ways to pull me out of my comfort zone, whether with alcohol indigenous to a town I’ve never heard of in a country I’ve never been, or noodles laced with spices so hot it takes me days to recover. Despite his time away traveling, despite our differences, despite being often mistaken for him on the street, it is a very genuine friendship that I am very grateful to have.

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Member thoughts

All (1525)
All (1525)
Love (1034)
Like (442)
Dislike (49)
1562 ratings
  • 66% Love
  • 28% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Milwaukee , WI

    I’m not normally a memoir reader, but I loved “No Reservations” so much, I was compelled to read this. I devoured it like pommes frîtes. I had the honor of meeting him; I was gutted by his death.

  • Arlington, VA

    Anthony perfectly captured the rugged beauty of the industry through his anecdotes. Sincere, proud, and vulnerable, his stories paid homage to the lifestyle many aren’t cut out for, and few call home.

  • Milford, OH

    Initially interesting, but Bordain pulled more punches than expected and the culinary details began to become repetitive. I love this guy, so i am giving him a pass on my critique. He will be missed

  • San Diego, CA

    I have always loved Anthony and found this book so enjoyable with his smart ass personality and really saw the true side of the restaurant business. If you are a fan of Anthony then you will be a fan

  • Phoenix , AZ

    I was a big fan of Anthony Bourdain. I listened his audiobook but wanted to read the book too. I love how he loved what he did and his enthusiasm for food and life behind the scenes in the restaurant.

  • Belpre, OH

    As someone who wants to be a chef, I absolutely loved this book. He didn’t mince words, and goes a little bit into the mundane, every day minutiae of running a kitchen, which I greatly appreciated.

  • Wellington, CO

    Have always been a big fan of Anthony, so I knew I had to use one of my credits to get this book. I LOVE this book and all the behind the scenes stories. What a wonderful expose of restaurant life.

  • Ovid, MI

    I knew next to nothing about Bourdain when i picked this one up. I found his writing style to be so descriptive, i felt like i was in his kitchen. Wonderful book. I wish he was around to write more.

  • Glen Rock, NJ

    A sad yet illuminating read when you consider Anthony Bourdain is no longer with us. What an amazingly creative person lost. Excellent story that makes u crave more, unfortunately it won’t happen.

  • Uniontown, PA

    Not only was this book a fascinating inside look at the culinary industry from someone intensely familiar with it, but it was also eerily interesting to read while keeping in mind Bourdain’s end.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    This book is an incredible look at how an electric personality was shaped and impacted by a turbulent, often brutal industry, one that he both loathed and loved. What a reflection on a life gone.

  • Naples, FL

    Everything you want in a food memoir. Not all of it holds up perfectly in 2019 but it's still poignant as hell. Funny, sad, and real. Will make you think about food and eating in another light.

  • Newark, OH

    Was so glad this came back in stock! I have several of his books, but this one really sets the stage for the rest of his career and gives background to how he became the amazing person he was.

  • New York, NY

    Wanted to read this for years & it didn’t disappoint. Have always been a big fan of Anthony & it’s a great read for a little bit of background on how he came to build his culinary career

  • Saint Louis, MO

    I don't know what took me so long to get around to this one. It's been on my list forever. Anthony Bourdain was a force of nature, and this book is a testament to his humor and perspective.

  • Vineland, NJ

    I've worked in restaurants so it was very interesting to read his memories of the industry. The insights were pretty spot on and he comes across and unflinching and honest. Very good read.

  • Overland Park, KS

    I can't say enough good things about this book! I'm a HUGE Anthony fan and this book didn't disappoint. If you want an honest and brutal look into the restaurant industry, read this book!!

  • Phoenix, AZ

    I absolutely loved this book. Reading it I could almost hear his gruff NY accent, reminiscent of home, and his infectious laugh. He was such an amazing person and his loss is still felt.

  • La Verne, CA

    If you like food (really like food), Bourdain serves it up simple, honest, and flavorful. I laughed and saw that kitchen life is unique but learned there are universal parallels as well.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    This is a really wonderful collection of essays, that just allowed me to appreciate what a great story-teller Bourdain was. Took me a while to get through the book, but so worth it.

  • Wild Game
  • All That You Leave Behind
  • Leaving the Witness
  • The Beauty in Breaking
  • The Girl Who Smiled Beads
  • Group
  • Small Fry
  • Aftershocks
  • Too Much Is Not Enough
  • Notes on a Silencing
  • Hunger
  • Kitchen Confidential