Top positive review
Must Read: Because it’s all True
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2018
The first time I read 'Kitchen Confidential,' I was a student at my alma mater, learning Culinary Arts to become a chef. At first read, I was intrigued, shocked, and in wonderment all at the same time. Bourdain's vivid and colorful details of his culinary adventures and misadventures scared me a bit. It made me slightly wonder if I truly knew of the potential fallout that could come from a career in this field. In addition, even though I believed him to be truthful, I also thought he was perhaps exaggerating a bit on some of the debauched and seemingly unreal goings on in the kitchens he had worked in.
Now, after having been a chef myself, having worked in multiple kitchens of all caliber in all four coasts of the United States, having worked with multitudes of kitchen associates and many other chefs, I know first hand of Bourdain's perspective and insight. I can tell you with certainty that it's all true. Yes, all true: every sordid, scandalous, wonderful, funny, creative, and amazing bit of it. This book is the culinary life. It's the life we chose, the life we love, and it's also the life that leaves us with literal and figurative scars that will never heal. We love the kitchen and although it loves us back, it also instilled in us some painful, loaded, duplicitous lessons. Lessons which I myself is still finding useful to this day.
After learning of Bourdain's shocking suicide three weeks ago on June 8th, I decided to get a new copy of 'Kitchen Confidential.' It had been some fifteen years since I last read it, and I wanted to remember him for the wonderful voice he gave to us certifiable crazy kitchen warriors and culinary ninjas. Us warriors who love food, and us ninjas who have accepted our punishing, culinary fates. I also decided to read it again because I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Bourdain twice in my life - on the second occasion, I had the honor of cooking for him. Both times, he was as funny, charming, and brilliant as many know him to be from his culinary travel TV shows. Reading the book this second time around made me remember and reminisce how wonderful both of my encounters with him had been.
If you're a chef, or a culinary student, I have a feeling I don't need to convince you to buy and read this book. Bourdain's account of his time in the kitchen is our reality, and you know it first hand so you'll relate. If you're a "foodie" (I truly despise this word) or someone who genuinely admires the art of culinary, you'll get a kick out of this book, because you'll feel the sweat, blood, and tears we suffer to creatively feed you and the masses. If you're an ordinary person who simply eats to live, or perhaps you once caught an episode of one of Anthony Bourdain's four television shows over the years, but you don’t really see the reason for all the fuss, you need this book more than anyone else. Unless you're squeamish, a prude, snobbish, or a pretentious person, you'll love 'Kitchen Confidential.' If you are indeed within the third category of people I described, and you open your mind, I guarantee you that you'll fall in love with Anthony Bourdain like we all have and see what all the fuss is that we keep lamenting about.
Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. Read it once, read it twice, read it multiple times. You'll be wiser for it. Yes of course, some of the details such as the use of Fax machines to send resumes, the food ordering processes, hiring practices, food safety guidelines, and a couple other things are outdated and no longer relevant by today's Culinary Arts standards. Nevertheless, what remains, remains valid and rings true to this day. This memoir is a solid one. 5-Stars.