Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Realities of Restaurants (Memorable Memoirs Week)

Maybe you’re a foodie who likens the exciting popping sensation of quinoa to a vegetarian caviar.  Perhaps you’re the couple who has to be the first to try every new restaurant—then pass your valuable critiques onto friends and family. Or do you prefer the “all you can eat buffets” where troughs of enigmatic food from every imaginable country are ready for sampling? Maybe you’re none of those, just a regular Joe-Schmo (or Jolene-Schmolene) where dining out is a special occasion, befitting to dusting off your finest duds, ready to be schmoozed in a tablecloth and candle-lit atmosphere.  Or perchance, you’re one of the brave ones—an aspiring chef.  Whoever you are or how you prefer your intake of professionally-concocted sustenance, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain may be a book for your consideration. This book is a memoir of Chef Anthony Bourdain’s humble beginnings as a dishwasher (sudsbuster, a.k.a. pearl diver), to his education in the Culinary Institute of America, to various restaurant venues, to a renown executive chef in the Brasserie Les Halls in Manhattan. And with the honest and sarcastic wit you may have come to know in his TV series, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, this book is an eye-opening, humorous tell-all.  In it you’ll be served a behind the scenes look at the high-stress restaurant world, where tension and cocaine meet skill and timing.  After reading this book, you’ll either appreciate your dining experience much more, or you’ll think twice before ordering the fish on Monday.  You’ll know what it takes to put it all together. You’ll meet the dream-team of ruffians that make it all happen. You’ll understand what an amazing feat it is to feed a 200+ seat restaurant, along with a 150+ seat grill, and top it off with an entire floor of banquet rooms from a kitchen “as big as a hangar.” You may even feel ashamed or at the very least present a nice little blush the next time you demand gluten-free bread or the vegetarian meat platter or what-have-you when it’s not on the menu.  I truly enjoyed this irreverent look at the restaurant business. So did my husband and son.  

"Jimmy had “moves,” meaning he spun and twirled and stabbed at meat with considerable style and grace for a 220-pound man.  He was credited with coming up with “the bump”—a bit of business where a broiler man with both hands full of sizzle-platters knocks the grill back under the flames with his hip."
Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000), 26.

Cook well done translates to “Burn it!” or “Murder it!” or “Kill it!”
Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000), 224.

Happy reading and eating!


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  1. This is an amazing book! Anthony Bourdain's style of writing is simply hilarious!