Kitchen Confidential After twenty-five years of ‘sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine’, chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain has made up our minds to tell all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown; from the kitchen of the Rainbow Room atop the Rockefeller Center to drug dealers in the East Village, from Tokyo to Paris and back to New Yor… Full description
Kitchen Confidential is for diners who consider that their sublime sliver of seared foie gras, topped with an ethereal buckwheat blini and a drizzle of piquant huckleberry sauce, used to be created by a culinary artist of the highest order, a sensitive, highly refined executive chef. In truth more brutal. Much more likely, writes Anthony Bourdain, that elegant three-star concoction is the collaborative effort of a team of “wacked-out moral degenerates, dope fiends, refugees, a thuggish assortment of drunks, sneak thieves, sluts and psychopaths,” in all likelihood pierced or tattooed and incapable of uttering a sentence without an expletive or a foreign phrase. Such is the muscular view of the culinary trenches from one who’s been groveling in them, with obvious sadomasochistic pleasure, for more than 20 years.
Bourdain, currently the executive chef of the celebrated Les Halles, wrote two culinary mysteries before his first (and infamous) New Yorker essay launched this frank confessional about the lusty and larcenous real lives of cooks and restaurateurs. He’s obscenely eloquent, unapologetically opinionated, and a damn fine storyteller–a Jack Kerouac of the kitchen. Those without the stomach for this type of joyride must note his opening caveat: “There will be horror stories. Heavy drinking, drugs, screwing in the dry-goods area, unappetizing industry-wide practices. Talking about why you almost certainly shouldn’t order fish on a Monday, why those who favour well-done get the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel, and why seafood frittata isn’t a wise brunch selection…. But I’m simply not going to deceive anybody about the life as I’ve seen it.” —Sumi Hahn