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Kitchen Confidential [Paperback]

Anthony Bourdain
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Kitchen Confidential: Insider's Edition Kitchen Confidential: Insider's Edition 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

3 Feb 2001
After twenty-five years of 'sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine', chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain has decided to tell all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown; from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop the 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, as shocking as they are funny.

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

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (3 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747553556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747553557
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Kitchen Confidential is for diners who believe that their sublime sliver of seared foie gras, topped with an ethereal buckwheat blini and a drizzle of piquant huckleberry sauce, was created by a culinary artist of the highest order, a sensitive, highly refined executive chef. The truth is more brutal. More likely, writes Anthony Bourdain, that elegant three-star concoction is the collaborative effort of a team of "wacked-out moral degenerates, dope fiends, refugees, a thuggish assortment of drunks, sneak thieves, sluts and psychopaths," in all likelihood pierced or tattooed and incapable of uttering a sentence without an expletive or a foreign phrase. Such is the muscular view of the culinary trenches from one who's been groveling in them, with obvious sadomasochistic pleasure, for more than 20 years.

Bourdain, currently the executive chef of the celebrated Les Halles, wrote two culinary mysteries before his first (and infamous) New Yorker essay launched this frank confessional about the lusty and larcenous real lives of cooks and restaurateurs. He is obscenely eloquent, unapologetically opinionated, and a damn fine storyteller--a Jack Kerouac of the kitchen. Those without the stomach for this kind of joyride should note his opening caveat: "There will be horror stories. Heavy drinking, drugs, screwing in the dry-goods area, unappetizing industry-wide practices. Talking about why you probably shouldn't order fish on a Monday, why those who favour well-done get the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel, and why seafood frittata is not a wise brunch selection.... But I'm simply not going to deceive anybody about the life as I've seen it." --Sumi Hahn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Fantastic: as lip-smackingly seductive as a bowl of fat chips and pungent aioli' Daily Telegraph 'Elizabeth David written by Quentin Tarantino' A.A. Gill 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' Observer

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First off, let me just say that this is a fantastic book. I had a lot of fun reading it, which is why I'm giving the book itself 4 stars.

However, I feel that I should warn people about the Kindle version. They seem to have used OCR or something, as there are LOTS of typos and mistakes. "I" (referring to Bourdain) often becomes "J", words are pushed together ("I did notthink that..."), and punctuation is often missed out entirely. It's very frustrating and often makes sentences hard to understand. I found myself having to re-read sections in order to make sense of them.

If you can look past these faults then go for it, but be warned. I hope that all Kindle books haven't been reproduced as poorly as this (this is my first Kindle purchase).
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This man can't just cook, he can write. That was my first surprise. The second surprise was realizing how interesting the world of cooking and behind-swinging-doors kitchen life seemed to me after reading this book. He makes what would seem, to me anyway, a mundane and even boring sub-world come very much alive for the reader. Mr. Bourdain obviously loves what he does, and he communicates that love with great joy and, quite often, with the bawdy relish of a teenager telling a dirty joke to his friends.
I couldn't put it down. I laughed out loud. I learned a ton of new information about food, cooking, and the restaurant business. I recommended it to a friend and he loved it. It made me want to meet the author and hang out in his kitchen. What more can you ask for from a book about being a chef?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock'n'Roll Cook's Tale 15 Oct 2003
By Andrew Kerr VINE VOICE
Anthony Bourdain is a very good writer. His style is that easy flow that seems like he's just talking to you - and it suits this book perfectly.
From his drug-hazed beginnings in chefdom to his (later) lucid appreciation of all things culinary, you do get a real sense of the chaos and artistry that takes place in most kitchens.
He changes tack about 3/4 of the way through and goes from being a hard-nosed old-hander, telling you like it is, to a more self-effacing well-rounded chef, explaining that his way is not always the best way.
It's a culinary roller-coaster ride, full of sharp little stories, and handy advice for people eating out in restaurants (what to avoid, specifically!) - as well as an open and honest assessment of his own career.
An easy read - quite rewarding, not particularly gripping, but worthwhile all the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Funny With a Dose of Salty Spice 16 Aug 2006
Having been long mesmerized by the earthy charms of Anthony Bourdain, as he appears in his hit Travel Channel show "No Reservations", I felt it high time I read the book that arguably started it all in 2000. And, too, having once been in relationship with a European hotelier and restaurateur, I thought I knew the biz. Hell no. Apparently I had been sheltered from the truly seamy side of the kitchen and knew nothing. I love this book.

Want to sit in the store room of a restaurant and spy on the egos? The horseplay? The social pathology? Oh the humanity! The humanity!

Bourdain's use of language is brilliant. At once memoir and muck rake, the reader is treated to an intimate peek over the shoulder into Bourdain's life. The rapturous epiphany of a fourth grader's first taste of vichyssoise. The realization that "food is power". Apprentice misadventures: "they'd let us practice our knifework on whole legs of beef... we were the culinary version of the Manson family...". Industry advisements: avoid buffets. Eat out on Wednesday or Thursday. Forget about Saturday night (Well, unless you know the chef or maitre`d, I would add).

Now that Mr. Bourdain has catapulted into a whole other sphere of influence, these early words are fascinating. (As I tap this out he has just returned from Beirut where he was caught up in the recent war. We should eagerly anticipate his first hand - and hopefully unreined-in - experiential comments on the absolute heartbreaking tragedy of the destruction of this beautiful and vibrant city; one devoted particularly to hospitality and dining).

If you are a foodie, or anyway close to that, you'll devour the book in one sitting. Get it. Don't hesitate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No sign of Mr Oliver then ? 26 Jun 2001
Format:Paperback I'm not the first chef to write a review of this brilliant book but I doubt I will be the last, having spent almost as many years working in kitchens as the author this book made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It's all true ..every word of it, kitchens are foul places to work and the author has show every reader a window into this hellish world. I recognised the types who inhabit this world and could almost feel the heat from the ranges. I laughed out loud especialy at the ' body ' in the freezer. If real life is your thing then spend some cash and buy this book, if Jane Austen is your thing ....I DARE YOU..
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confessions From A Dark Kitchen 21 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Anthony Bourdain, Executive Chef at Les Halles, New York, has written far more than yet another memoir. Within these pages you will find humour, tragedy, pathos, engaging wit and attention gripping story telling ability. Oh yes, and horror! Never before has the lid been fully lifted from the bubbling cauldron of a professional kitchen to reveal to a hitherto unsuspecting public the full contents therein. Drugs, sex, rock'n'roll and much worse in the sort of excesses which put Fellini and Ken Russell to shame! Gasp at the incredulous characters who appear, sometimes occasionally, in Mr Bourdain's kitchens. Be afraid - be very afraid - as Mr Bourdain tells us all those little tricks of the trade which go on behind closed - or swinging - doors. Having attended catering college and started a career as Sous Chef many years ago I admit that some of these tricks are fairly common knowledge. But there are still tales here which grabbed my attention and made me vow never to go near certain restaurants again! Being based in America gives this book a certain distance - the sort of 'it couldn't happen over here' attitude which predated the arrival of McDonalds - and eccentricity which may deter many from buying it. Their loss. They will be missing out on one of this year's surprise successes, one of the most entertaining food books on the market and the sort of brutal reality that seems to have been lost in this country. Quite possibly, though, it is not lost but just hidden under a glutinous sauce of celebrity chef and Deliaism!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Absolutely fantastic and utterly truthful portrayal of the restaurant business. From the very beginning of working in a kitchen to being the pirate of your own ship. A must read.
Published 1 month ago by Katie Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars LOL
One of those books, especially the first half - which you find yourself laughing as you read and end up getting strange looks from other people nearby when your reading :-)
Published 2 months ago by M. L. Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars Book for a friend
lost the friend's original copy and was very pleased to be able to purchase a replacement at such low cost and delivery was very swift.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs.A.Nutt
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard edged and slickly written
I came to Kitchen Confidential having seen some of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations travel shows. The book is written in the same style as he presents. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Peter Skelton
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood & guts in the Kitchen!!
A steampunk's version of life in the kitchens of the worlds great eateries, it reads like a combination of Hunter S Thompson, Jack Kerouac, and George Orwell (down and out in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter Matthews
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice gift from 1 chef to another
I received this book as a gift form a work colleague and have thoroughly enjoyed it , have learnt a lot as w well as recognising some of the things I used to do :)
Published 4 months ago by Anwen Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read
As someone who's about to go into the restaurant world as a new career direction, this book was a fascinating read and a real page turner.
Published 4 months ago by rachel filer
5.0 out of 5 stars kitchen confidential
forget Breaking Bad ....someone else is cooking tonight in town tonight! Try it you will not be able to stop reading it!
Published 6 months ago by Jules
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
I first read this book 11 years ago as a young comis chef, I have been through three paper back copies that have perished from over use. Read more
Published 8 months ago by educatedcook
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Interesting insight into kitchen etiquette from the 1970s. Some bits were funny and others a little disturbing! Overall I enjoyed it.
Published 8 months ago by Debbie Brown
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