Carrie's Reviews > Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
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's review
Jan 13, 2009

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Read in January, 2006

I was disappointed in this book. I had heard great things about it, including how scandalous it was. I had envisioned a scathing expose of the restaurant industry and all the disgusting things you didn’t want to know. Instead, it was just the story of Anthony Bourdain and how gross and miserable his life was at one point, and what a hard-core chef he was. He did do some scandalous things – he had some serious addiction problems, and runs his kitchens like some kind of version of machismo hell, but he concedes that other chefs who are even more successful don’t do all those ridiculous things. He gives some tips about what not to order at restaurants, and how to make your home cooking more fancy, and tells some really disgusting stories about places he worked, but nothing he said would make me change any of my dining habits. Except make me even more guilty about using jarred garlic to cook with than I already am (Oh! The Shame!).

Also, the book was all over the ice – it didn’t really have any real narrative flow, just read like a collection of columns (which maybe it was?) I don’t know – it was an ok book. I enjoyed reading it, but it was just less than I had expected. It did make me hungry, and want to go to Les Halles (alas, no more! at least in DC), so it wasn’t a complete loss, I guess.

Had anyone read it? What did you think?

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Margaret I agree with you, except for one thing. This book has made me vow to never eat at the Russian Tea Room. Not that there ever was a chance of my doing so.

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