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A Cook's Tour [Paperback]

Anthony Bourdain
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

7 Oct 2002
Anthony Bourdain, life-long line cook and bestselling author of "Kitchen Confidential", sets off to eat his way around the world. But being Anthony Bourdain, this was never going to be a conventional culinary tour. Bourdain heads out to Saigon where he eats the still-beating heart of a live cobra, and travels deep into landmined Khmer Rouge territory to find the rumoured Wild West of Cambodia (Pailin). Other stops include dining with gangsters in Russia, a medieval pig slaughter and feast in northern Portugal, the Basque All Male Gastronomique Society in Saint Sebastian, rural Mexico with his Mexican sous-chef, a pilgrimage to the French Laundry in the Napa Valley and a return to his roots in the tiny fishing village of La Teste, where he first ate an oyster as a child. Written with the inimitable machismo and humour that has made Tony Bourdain such a sensation, "A Cook's Tour" is an adventure story sure to give you indigestion.

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A Cook's Tour + Kitchen Confidential + Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (7 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747558213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747558217
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

A Cook's Tour is the written record of Tony Bourdain's travels around the world in his search for the perfect meal. All too conscious of the state of his 44-year old knees (Crunch! Pop! Snap!) after a working life standing at restaurant stoves, but with the unlooked-for jackpot of Kitchen Confidential as collateral, Mr Bourdain evidently concluded he needed a bit more wind under his wings.

The idea of "perfect meal" in this context is to be taken to mean not necessarily the most upscale, chi-chi, three-star dining experience, but the ideal combination of food, atmosphere and company. This would take in fishing villages in Vietnam, bars in Cambodia and Tuareg camps in Morocco (roasted sheep's testicle, as it happens); it would stretch to smoked fish and sauna in the frozen Russian countryside and the French Laundry in California's Napa Valley. It would mean exquisitely refined kaiseki rituals in Japan after yakitori with drunken salarimen. Deep-fried Mars Bars in Glasgow and Gordon Ramsay in London. The still-beating heart of a cobra in Saigon. Drink. Danger. Guns. All with a TV crew in tow for the accompanying series--22 episodes of video gold, we are assured, featuring many don't-try-this-at-home shots of Tony in gastric distress or crawling into yet another storm drain at four in the morning.

You are unlikely to lay your hands on a more hectically, strenuously entertaining book for some time. Our hero eats and swashbuckles round the globe with perfect-pitch attitude and liberal use of judiciously placed profanities. Bourdain can write. His timing is great. He is very funny and is under no illusions whatsoever about himself or anyone else. So far, so PJ O'Rourke. But most of all, he is a chef who got himself out of his kitchen and found, all over the world, people who understand that eating well is the foundation of harmonious living. --Robin Davidson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"It's a celebration of ingredients, an anti-blandness tract, a love-letter not only to grub but to the ambience it is served in." -- The Guardian, 5th October 2002

'Bourdain is a very funny writer; sharp, honest and with a beguiling mix of belligerence and sensitivity' -- Sunday Telegraph

'Bourdain lauds tradition, hates frippery, and wanders tirelessly for the perfect meal ... such entertainment ... enjoy the ride' -- Literary Review

'Brilliantly written in a raw, stylish gonzo prose, with pitch black humour and a devilish turn of phrase' -- Evening Standard

'This is the stuff of real writing ... Bourdain is a great original' -- Mail on Sunday

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bang on! 12 Feb 2003
Format:Paperback
A friend of mine bought me "Kitchen Confidential" for my birthday. It led to me going out and searching for offset-serated knives, sagely telling people to "avoid the swordfish" and was a damn-good read.
I holidayed in Vietnam and Cambodia last year and so I was well chuffed to find that Bourdain's follow up was a foodie-travel book including visits to these places. His descriptions of Saigon and back-water Cambodia are spot-on, as is his descriptions of the food. Plus there is loads of good stuff about Portugal, France and even fish'n'chips!
I read this book on two train trips, ensconsed in the restaurant car with cheap red wine, reminiscing about my own travels, salivating over the descriptions of the food and cackling to myself at the killer one-liners.
Highly recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping culinary exploration! 18 Dec 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
After simply having to get my hands on this book following 'Kitchen Confidential' I was certainly not dissapointed. Feeling part of the adventure I felt his pain following the dodgy 'tete au veux' and the excitement of the pig feast in Portugal, and mellowing out on mind enhancing substances in Morocco. I do so wish I could have been there to taste all there was to offer. Written in his own unique style this book certainly makes any vacu-packed food from the supermarket seem dull in the extreme. Thoroughly enjoyable, I really could not put it down until I had devoured every chapter, I now think its time for seconds.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great companion 23 Nov 2002
Format:Paperback
Since I haven't been able to travel a lot the past five years this book really has been a treat to me. The thing with Bourdain is not the fact that he is a chef. He is a natural writing talent, In his previous book, Kitchen Confidential, he could just as well had been telling the story about a guy working as a brick layer. It is his ability to tell a story that makes him so readable. Of course, food and eating, is an important part of experiencing a foreign country, and Bourdain certainly makes great sacrifices when he is eating "mountain rectum" in Japan. He makes me want to go there. Just as well as he makes me want to visit Vietnam. This is travelling without moving at it's best.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mmmmm... Fried Mars Bar.... 12 May 2003
By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
To enjoy this book, you have to (A) really like food, and (B) accept that the whole exercise of Bourdain tramping around the world in a psuedo-quest for the ultimate food experience is rather artificial (which he admits right up front). So, bearing in mind that he's being trailed by Food Network cameramen, and has producers to prearrange a lot of stuff for him, Bourdain's global hopscotch of culinary exploration is a very readable and fun journey. He's not really looking for the "perfect meal" so much as looking for the experience that comes with food—from refined dining (there's a chapter on The French Laundry in Napa Valley), to home cooking (massive home-cooked meals in Portugal and Mexico, complete with barnyard slaughter), to street food (several chapters on Cambodia and Vietnam), to ritualized meals (in Japan and Morocco).
If you like your travel narratives to have classy guides, this definitely won't be your cup of tea. Bourdain's "bad boy" chef image is no doubt somewhat calculated and contrived, but he certainly manages to get good and drunk in virtually every chapter, and he's a chain-smoker to boot. Mix in a large number of sketchy gross-out foods (deep-fried Mars Bar, sheep testicles, beating cobra heart, etc.), and you've got a pretty fun little book. As evidenced in his fiction work (Bone in the Throat, Gone Bamboo, The Bobby Gold Stories), he's got excellent timing and can be very, very funny. He can also be very human and poignant, as in the chapter where he and his brother revisit their childhood summer vacation spot in France, and when he talks about his Mexican chefs. Some people have complained that he doesn't describe the food well enough, which I disagree with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book 22 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i bought it for my husband so cant say much apart from my husband loved it and would recommend to all
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
His style is raw and energetic. His curiosity is fearless and hard to satisfy. The meals he is having in both exotic locations and closer to his roots (US, West-Europe) are really-really desirable for any gourmet, hobby-cook and Epicurean adventurer. And his side track stories which are not about food but rather politics, gastro-politics, weapons, the Vietnamese War, Russian gangsters or wrestling, are just as funny and witty.

Sometimes his machoism and poetic exaggeration can be wearing, but it's a good book overall. If you are curious enough to read this opinion of mine, you won't be disappointed from the book. :)
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