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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  114,562 ratings  ·  6,375 reviews
A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine—now with all-new, never-before-published material.

New York Chef Tony Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir/expose. Kitchen Con
Paperback, Updated Edition, 312 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Ecco/Harper Perennial (first published 2000)
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The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanKitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Food-Related Non-Fiction
2nd out of 672 books — 1,282 voters
The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonFreakonomics by Steven D. LevittIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
31st out of 3,211 books — 5,141 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 07, 2008 Jacob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Foodies, counterculture cultists, sexdrugandrockandroll types
My first exposure to Anthony Bourdain, via his show No Reservations, left me with with the sense of a true asshole who sneered down his nose with aging punk-rock disdain at people and things he deemed beneath him, and, honestly, it seemed like most people and things were beneath him. For some reason, even though he crossed my Southern sensibilities and turned me off to him on that first exposure, I kept watching the show and realized that there is a lot more to him than that first impression sug ...more
Jul 04, 2008 Ratscats rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the hungry and the horny
Recommended to Ratscats by: my libido
I love food and I love hot sexy chefs with potty mouths.
I remember first discovering Anthony Bourdain on the Food Network many years ago. It was 3am and I was unable to sleep and here was this brooding, hot piece of ass chain smoking and touring Russia.
I never remembered his name but he haunted my dreams until I re-discovered him years later on the Travel Channel show, No Reservations.
In Kitchen Confidential, he is able to translate his sultry self onto paper.
But he is not just a piece of mea
Oct 20, 2010 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all interested in food and culinary business
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
If you are like me and love food, watching Top Chef and Food Channel, think that cooking is art, an outlet for creativity, consider chefs featured on such shows (including Anthony Bourdain) as super-sophisticated artists, you are up for a surprise with this book.

Bourdain definitely crushes all preconceived notions we might have about the industry. You remember those foul-mouthed, unkempt, ever-fired-and-hired kitchen workers with shifty pasts you've come across at some points in your life? I th
Halfway through this book I remembered I don't have the slightest bit of interest in the culinary arts whatsoever. Luckily, I was listening to it on audiotape. Unluckily, cassette 4 broke and I had to read the rest with my eyes. I'm not sure why I picked this up, I guess because I heard Bourdain was the "punk rock chef," but besides listening to the Sex Pistols and Velvet Underground while he cooked, there's not a whole lot else going on of a punk rock nature. He was a drug addict, but the book ...more
Advanced warning: I tend to take on the vernacular of whomever I'm reading, so now might be a good time to mention that Anthony Bourdain has a very colorful ... er ... style.

So, I've finished reading Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential, which is basically about all the craziness that goes on behind the scenes in the restaurant world. As I started reading the book, I thought I'd be of one of two minds by the end: either I'd never want to eat out again, or I'd want to chuck the teaching
The book's author is clearly impressed with having passed through the esteemed halls of Vassar College, yet prouder still of his hard knocks and rough-and-tumble street degree earned working for a slew of restaurants. Much of the book is spent describing the working stiffs in the culinary field and their wildly anti-social and anti-establishment behavior and greedy incompetent restaurant owners. The anecdotes were mildly amusing for the first hundred pages but tiresome by the end. If you're stuc ...more
There is a certain thrill to being the first person to reach the top of a mountain, the first to eat at a soon-to-be famous restaurant, the first to discover an author, a band, a new food or experience. Well friend, the thrill of a late discovery (even when you are 15 years late to the party) is still pretty damn sweet. I might have seen Bourdain's books as I wandered through a bookstore. I might have seen him on CNN, the Travel Channel or the Food Network while searching for another show on ano ...more
"No, I want to tell you about the dark recesses of the restaurant underbelly - a subculture whose centuries-old militaristic hierarchy and ethos of 'rum, buggery and the lash' make for a mix of unwavering order and nerve-shattering chaos - because I find it all quite comfortable, like a nice warm bath. I can move around easily in this life. I speak the language. In the small, incestuous community of chefs and cooks in New York City, I know the people, and in my kitchen, I know how to behave (as ...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
I almost feel the need to have to bring back my "3 stars is not a bad rating" disclaimer, since I've had a bizarrely rare couple of weeks with several 4 star rated books in my lineup. Well here we are again, settling back into the "3 star is the standard" normalcy of my world.

Kitchen Confidential was an entertaining read. The main reason why I couldn't swing a 4 is only because I think I'd expected there to be more "trade secrets" about the restaurant industry than there really were. I'd half ex
The beginning is really interesting. He talks about his experience with food as a kid, his epiphany (losing his food "virginity" in France to an oyster), his out of control period at college and C.I.A. (not the spy factory, the Culinary Institute of America). It's great again at the end as he speaks about his second epiphany, his trip to Japan. I wanted to hear more about this, but I guess there's a book about that that I will have to read. I liked best the parts where he speaks about his motiva ...more
I think that Kitchen Confidential would have packed more punch for me if I had read it when it was first published (in 2000). Much of what Bourdain was revealing about the restaurant industry became pretty well known in the years after he wrote this book - at least to people who had any interest in it - so I wasn't blown away by such revelations as:

Unless you're one of us already, you'll probably never cook like a professional.

Why, you might wonder? Because the home chef may not have the right t
Anthony Bourdain is very much the punk rock rebel of celebrity chefs. The chef who isn't afraid to refer to Emeril as an Ewok, and poke fun of culinary-school trained cooks, when at the same time, he is a celebrity chef, and a culinary school graduate. He knows this, and it's not a problem for him.

Kitchen Confidential is part memoir, part how-to, and mostly about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. It's basically a history of Anthony's obsession with food and drugs from his days as a young boy, until he
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

Very interesting and startlingly honest - though if Bourdain is anything like this book shows, I doubt I would want to meet him in person and have a beer.

Full Review:

In our culture of reality TV, one of the great things to come out is a renewed interest in food and chefs. Say what you will, but I definitely have enjoyed watching such personalities as Gordon Ramsay and learning what makes a good and bad dining/eating experience.

Anthony Bourdain is such a personality that thrives in
I am grateful to anyone who attempts to write something that is honest, and I think this is. Never mind anything about the person, their behavior or choices. If they are honest it seems to always work.

I'm left thinking about a few things. I'm pissed off at yet another profession women are not attracted to because they can't put up with the environment and juvenile behavior of a kitchen. I call bullshit on that. I also wonder why he left off the delivery guys in his description of the different p
If I was interested in becoming a chef would I have liked this book more?

If I liked Anthony Bourdain would I have liked this book more?

Hard to say, but I think the answer to the first question might be "Maybe, but doubtful" and the answer to the second question is, "Probably not".

I thought the beginning of Kitchen Confidential was interesting but I don't need anyone advising me not to eat in restaurants with dirty bathrooms or to treat servers with respect. It was this blow-the-lid-off-the-resta
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 28, 2012 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Andy/Troy/Tad/Dennis - I won't forget!
How could I have never reviewed this book? I read this at a key turning point in my life, and was one of those books that changed everything for me. I was 22. I had gotten married and gone directly to graduate school right after graduating with a BA in music, with a full ride and graduate assistantship in the School of Folklore at Indiana University. It wasn't a good fit for me. By the time I enrolled in the fieldwork class, I knew I was probably on my way out, and got permission to do my fieldw ...more
If you happen to find this book in audio, don't hesitate to listen. It's hilarious. Bourdain is a man of many talents, and one of them is picking up slangs in different languages quickly and adapting to accents. Like I said, hilarious.

Things I learned from this book:

1. Never order fish on a Monday
2. Stay away from "specials" of the day
3. Avoid rush hours and weekends
4. Restaurant kitchens are war zones
5. All you'll ever need is a chef's knife--just one, a sharp one
6. Every time you eat out is an
Mar 06, 2008 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: A MUST for anyone contemplating a carrer in food service and foodies in general
Recommended to Carol by: While writing a review of "Heat", other reviewers mentioned that
Ah, now THIS is what I had hoped I'd get from reading "Heat" and didn't. This should be mandatory reading for anyone fantasizing about changing careers and becoming a chef. Although starting a new career at this point in my life, especially one physically grueling, would be absurd, I have to admit I have sometimes thought a wistful "what if.." No more. Bourdain lets you know that unless you MUST cook and just can't help yourself, are totally committed to having no personal life, and can work alo ...more
I am not a cook and really don’t like to cook, but what I do like is to read about cooking and different styles of cuisine. I know, it’s kind of strange, but I guess, like many things in life, I read more about others participating in things rather than me actually doing the participating, like a spectator sport. Plus I feel if I ever get adventurous in the kitchen or with trying new menu items at restaurants, this knowledge will help me in some way. Maybe. Anyway, Anthony Bourdain is something ...more
After reading this book, you may never eat in a restaurant again — at least an expensive one, and you'll certainly never order fish on a Monday or order your meat well done (bad cuts are never thrown out because they can always be saved for the customer who orders well-done, " dumb bastard is paying for the privilege of eating the garbage." Hollandaise sauce is always a risk because to maintain its proper consistency it needs to be close to room temperature, which is ideal for the growth of thos ...more
Kevin Fanning
I read the Kindle version, and there were a few annoying things about the formatting (periods in the middles of sentences, clauses missing an em dash), that I presume are artifacts of the automated e-book-ification process, and aren't a problem in the actual book.

BUT there were also a few annoying things that technically *were* problems in the actual book--phrases like "the mental rolodex he kept in his head" made me wonder if they even let an editor near this manuscript. It's clearly a set of e
Really cocky people tend to both fascinate and frighten me, in both cases because I absolutely cannot, for even a second, relate to their train of thought. The idea of a person not only believing in themselves but actually behaving as though they are the bravest and most capable guy in the room, to the point where they stand up for themselves and reach lofty goals through bullheaded persistence alone, is not a thing I can easily process. If I met Anthony Bourdain, (whose last name does not curre ...more
Quick review: I'm a big fan of Bourdain's TV shows - No Reservations and it's twin, Parts Unknown. His book reads largely the same. He's dry, sarcastic, and incredibly funny. I enjoyed the first half of this book then got bored quickly by the same type of stories. Kitchens are busy. The staff are raucous and tawdry. Illegal stuff happens and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol are consumed. It was entertaining for a while but then got repetitive and boring.

3.5 out of 5 stars.
I started listening to this expecting to be sick of Tony by the time I finished, but that's not what happened. I think it only deepened my appreciation for his shamelessness in acting like such a jerk. Despite all his jerkiness, I really do think he's a good guy. He is a mensch and sees the humanity in everyone, which is refreshing. (Well, maybe not in the likes of celebrity chefs but he's a jerk so he has to make fun of someone! I mean, someone other than vegetarians and vegans.) Anyway, I esp ...more
There are three kinds of people: people who think Anthony Bourdain is too arrogant, people who think he's no more arrogant than he deserves to be, and people who don't give a damn which kind we think they are. Anthony Bourdain is the third kind. He is the last legitimate journalist on CNN and a tireless adventurer. I want to travel the world at his side, eating tentacled things to impress him. I would give him a baby if I could find a baby that I think he'd like to have.

Also, this is a pretty go
This was enjoyably dishy (haha, do you see what I did there?). Bourdain may be a major bullshit artist, but for the most part, it’s highly entertaining bullshit, so I don’t really care. I did think the book really lost focus at the end and goes on quite a bit too long, but overall I found this to be an interesting read about a fascinating industry.
May 16, 2009 Russ rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Foodies or anyone looking for a good read
Part autobiography, part manual on what and what not to do in the restaurant industry, "Kitchen Confidential" is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. Anthony Bourdain tells no-BS tales of insults, theft, yelling, screaming, sex, drug dealing, drug abusing, and, oh yes, cooking. I loved every minute of it.

Bourdain pulls no punches in describing the actual work that goes into running or working in a professional kitchen. Just reading it will make you feel overwhelmed. The "A Day In The Life" cha
Jan 06, 2008 Martine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies and lovers of gonzo journalism
Anthony Bourdain's memoirs of his life as a New York chef are something of a legend among foodies, and it's easy to see why. A spectacular story full of sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll, Kitchen Confidential has nothing to do with the likes of Delia Smith or Nigella Lawson; the best way to describe the book would be 'On the Road with food'. Bourdain may be vulgar and rather full of himself, but there's no doubt he's a gifted story-teller, and he's on to a good story here. The first half of the ...more
Kitchen Confidential- adventures from the kitchen underbelly. These are stories of what goes on behind the scenes in big restaurants’ kitchens mixed into Bourdain’s autobiography. I enjoyed most of it. Bourdain is extremely opinionated and manic about food, has vegetarians and vegans in deep contempt, but appears to have tonnes of energy and quite a bit of integrity in the work ethics department. As for the secrets of the industry, I learned never to eat brunch, or any salad on special, or on Mo ...more
Beth Lind
While I've never worked in the restaurant business, my husband previously owned several restaurants and currently owns a catering business -- exposing me to the southern version of Bourdain's descriptions of life in the world of food preparation. In fact, my born and raised in New Jersey husband has a lot of the language (colorful) and opinions (brutally honest) that Bourdain shares. It cracked me up to hear to way the kitchen help talk to each other. Seriously, this is not a business for the la ...more
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Anthony Bourdain is the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the megabestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.
His work has appeared in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and he is a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He is the host of the popular television show No Reservations.
More about Anthony Bourdain...
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

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“your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” 335 likes
“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.” 202 likes
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