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Kitchen Confidential Paperback – 3 Feb 2001


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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 (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,818 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.

Review

'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

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Bradley T. Abrahams on 20 Oct. 2010
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By timbickerdike@aol.com on 26 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
Ok..so 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Kerr TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Nov. 2000
Format: Hardcover
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jon D VINE VOICE on 10 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Definitely a book of two courses this one. I make no apology for stretching the culinary metaphor to its limit (possibly even to the extent of flogging it to death).

Parts of "Kitchen Confidential" are brilliant - perfectly cooked chateaubriand with allumette potatoes, if you like. Bourdain is without doubt a talented writer. His use of English is precise, varied and lively: often a pleasure to read. The description of "A Day in the Life" is the highlight of the book for me and the description of his old mentor "Bigfoot" had me in stitches.

Unhappily, just as Pot Noodles really do exist, so this book has some poor sides. Bourdain is determined to have us know that:

A. Cooking is very much the new rock `n' roll;
B. That he is Mick Jagger

At first the passages of excess, swearing and drug abuse are, like the first couple of scoops from a Pot Noodle, diverting and tasty (particularly after a couple of drinks), but like that well known snack, quickly become dull and even nauseating and at some points the book is in danger of degenerating into self-indulgent twaddle. Which is a shame.

Overall though, a fine read (I'd suggest it should be REQUIRED reading for anyone who holds any ambition of either cooking for a living or opening a restaurant), worth the money and I shall certainly be looking out more of Bourdains work: given the ability he has as a writer I think his fictional works could be very good indeed.
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