Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (pp. 307)
Raconteur and culinary uber mench, Anthony Bourdain, offers personal tales of his early chef beginnings and the inner workings of the American Bistro. Bourdain is a cocky, passionate, recovering drug addict with solid cooking chops who pulls no punches about the nature of the restaurant business beyond the dining room floor.
The fun of Anthony Bourdain is the brutal honesty of his delivery. He loves the high drama of a well told story laced with crazy characters and littered with explicatives. Bourdain could probably talk about grass growing and it would be funny, interesting, culturally illuminating and make you want to fight someone.
Bourdain clearly loves the grind of the culinary life and the exposure of the business aspect borders on a mob read, but feels authentic. The book could also double as slang and translation guide to South American insults. I expected more distinct storytelling, but instead the read is one weeklong gin-soaked bar tale. Many of the same main characters and a lot of repetition of the same when revisiting pieces touched in earlier chapters. Some of the endless listing of French cooking terms gets old and fails to spring salient points the second and fourth times around.
Overall, it’s interesting and well told, but it is not as crisp as his newer material such as ‘Medium Raw’.