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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  148,532 Ratings  ·  7,695 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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Labe Yes, Because of this book I have no desire to work in the restaurant industry, and have gained a new level of respect for those who do.

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Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Maybe 3.5 stars, sometimes 4. It has lots of interesting anecdotes, but it was somewhat repetitive at parts. While interesting for the non-culinary inclined, I think it would be better received by someone with a kitchen background or a person who has worked in food and beverage.

Some parts of this book talk about fantastic food and will leave you drooling. As a result, you will want to hop the next flight and travel the world visiting as many restaurants and trying as many types of food as you ca
Sep 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all interested in food and culinary business
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
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
Feb 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2008
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
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
What follows is my summary of this book. Blah, blah, blah I'm an asshole blah, blah, blah yay, drugs blah, blah, fuck everyone, pork chop, fuck you all, mince, veal, drugs, blood, blah, blah, blah.
Maybe you can tell, I am less than impressed. What I ultimately took away from this is that Bourdain would not like me (I'm a vegetarian, for one!) and I would not like him. I don't feel too bad writing this review, because Bourdain certainly never minces his words (culinary pun intended;-) I was expec
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”
― Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential


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
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Oh, Anthony Bourdain... How I love you! I have no idea why it took me so long to read his very first memoir. Amazing, hilarious, witty, educational, enlightening, entertaining, intriguing, original, honest... This should be mandatory reading for every first year CIA student. For anyone unfamiliar with this use, that is The Culinary Institutes Of America, Bourdain's Alma Mater, not The Central Intelligence Agency. Of course, (Fortunately? Unfortunately?, although I was not in the industry long en ...more
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
"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
I enjoyed this book by Mr. Bourdain. I like his attitude.

This is an entirely different world from what I live in. I've never worked in the food service industry, is it still like this nowadays? A world where you can never be sued for sexual harassment and foul language? I have a boring office job and this is so foreign to me.

Because this is so far removed from my own experiences of the world - heck, I've never even been to New York and seldom eat at fancy restaurants - I liked it. It was fun. An
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Apr 06, 2009 rated it liked it
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
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
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, celebrities
Sometimes mouth-watering, other times nauseating, and at all times 100% candid, Anthony Bourdain's memoirs of the underbelly of the culinary world might very well turn you off completely from ever eating out again, even as it celebrates the life-affirming, glorious, and sensual nature of food in our lives.

Bourdain is not just a celebrity who ghost wrote a bestseller. He is a true writer who happens to write about food. His flamboyant, rich style may not sit lightly on every reader's stomach and
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
2017: My first audiobook ever! I enjoyed the heck out of it. This was a reread and I was quickly reminded why I loved it so much when I read it 7 years ago. Listening to Bourdain narrate was a treat!

2010: If you're an Anthony Bourdain fan then definitely read this book! It's interesting, funny, crazy, crude ... and very well-written. AND ... it was actually published before he started doing his show "No Reservations" on Travel Channel (a fabulous show if you've never seen it). Bourdain writes t
May 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
May 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
Oh boy. Where to begin? I found this book - and by extension Anthony Bourdain - somewhat distasteful.

On the surface, it works. Bourdain promises to take you behind the scenes of the restaurant industry, which he certainly does - it's just that he only takes you to very specific restaurant environments that he has worked in and has directly helped shape, a revelation that he only gets to almost three-quarters of the way through the book. All kitchens are messy morasses of machismo, he says, and
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Review moved to
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
Niki Stone
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“When the New Yorker published Chef Bourdain’s shocking “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” Bourdain spared no one’s appetite in telling all about what happens behind the kitchen door. Bourdain uses the same take -no-prisoners- attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, which is sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike.”

My limited exposure to Anthony Bourdain has been watching his television show, No Reservations. His travels are always textured with his unique brand o
I am a budding cook, and a pretty subpar one. But I have ambitions. I'm not interested in learning the basics; I'd much rather dive right into the dishes that require blowtorches and shit. That's why I'll never be a great cookerman. I'll have about five or six dishes that I can make that will wow people, but if someone puts five ingredients in front of me, I'll have no idea what combination makes a coherent meal. "Make a white sauce." "Er, what? Is that, like, mayonnaise?" "I need some acidity t ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved the information about the nitty-gritty of restaurant cook station life, how hard and physical that life truly is. It was for me a 3 star read, but rounded to four for the realistic nature of the reveals. Which, I know, are still fairly accurate.

Bourdain in print is exactly as Bourdain in travels, or in audio/tv media work. He's the same anti-establishment let's all tramp along to the lowest common denominator factor (drugs, liquor, any form of low life crudity possible) in friendship an
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Natalie S.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book would be an ideal choice for a fraternity's monthly book club. I do not mean that as a 100% insult--maybe a 60% insult. What I mean is that a lot of the plot points do not exist for any other reason than to emphasize how bro-y the restaurant industry is (see: rando bride getting banged in the storeroom by a chef).

I did not purchase this book. It was a free audiobook, and I started listening to it on drives to and from Austin and work. It is 35% mildly entertaining, 15% very entertainin
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
This should be more aptly titled "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures of a Self-indulgent Arsehole."

That's it.

PS: If you still decide to pick this up, do yourself a favour and avoid the audiobook.
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Around the Year i...: Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain 3 27 Jan 08, 2017 01:44AM  
  • The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America
  • Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
  • It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything
  • Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table
  • The Gastronomical Me
  • The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
  • Don't Try This At Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs
  • The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef
  • Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat
  • The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food
  • Culinary Artistry
  • The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation
  • The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine
  • Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant : Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone
  • Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià's elBulli
  • Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen
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 Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.
More about Anthony Bourdain...
“your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” 445 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.” 246 likes
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