Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Review: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain


Non-fiction.  Memoir.  I have intended to read this book for a long time and I am really glad I finally read it, I love Anthony Bourdain!  He is absolutely hilarious, but only if you like sarcasm and dark humor, if you do not then this book is probably not for you.  I have enjoyed his T.V. shows for years, so I think that made it even easier for me to read it: I could hear his voice and see his expressions in my mind as I read the work.

The book is a sort of memoir about how he became a cook and then a chef, some advice for those who want to cook better meals at home (only a tiny bit), and insights into the life of a professional chef.  He is honest about his mistakes, and the tale is a much darker and a much grittier side to things than you see on Food Network: he really dislikes Emeril Lagasse, openly mocks Bobby Flay, and other things/people which makes for some pretty hilarious commentary.  After reading some fairly heavy works recently, this was definitely a humorous and informative breath of fresh air.

Tony started his career in a place during the summer off from college (Vassar where he was not doing much), up in a tiny fishing/beach/summer town called Provincetown (MA).  Delightfully for me, the day after I finished this book CNN ran a mini-marathon of his T.V. show "Parts Unknown" where he went to this town and then spent the rest of the episode talking about the growing heroin epidemic in the U.S.  So I was able to see some of the places, kitchens, and foods he discussed in the book, which was marvelous.  After reading this work, I have also decided that if/when I visit NYC in the future I will never eat at the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, I do indeed need to invest in better pots and pans and learn how to use those bigger and scarier chef's knives, and I have learned that the life of a chef can vary greatly depending on opportunities and the goals of the individual (e.g. Do you want to learn or do you want money?).  I highly recommend this book to fans of Anthony Bourdain, those interested in the world of chefs and cooking, and anybody looking for a few deeply sarcastic belly laughs.

And so it goes...

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