Anthony Bourdain was famous long before his very private decision regarding his life. Chef, author of many fiction and non-fiction books, TV host, Bourdain started his adventurous hard drug- and and alcohol-tained life as a chef, also as a successful CIA - Culinary Institute of America - graduate.
Kitchen Confidential can be read as a diary of his adventures around preparing dishes around US - mostly NYC, at a time when chefs were not enjoying the nowadays stardom status. It is a 'testosterone-heavy, male-dominated world of restaurant kitchens', and Bourdain is getting the best of it. Best in the sense of living it at its fullest, with the perks of the underworld adventure. At the time, the chefs and the people in their charge were rarely clean both from the criminal and the drugs&alcohol point of view.
Does it really matter who is cooking your food? People going to restaurants want to eat good, eventually at a good price, and to survive the meal if possible. Most of us, we have zero interest in how a kitchen is organised, what kind of people are working there and what motivates them. Hence, the novelty of Bourdain's book which makes you curious about the secrets behind the restaurant doors where the food is prepared. And he writes it passionatelly, with the vein of the raconteur and the cruelty of Henry Miller. The writing is intense, the life is horrible sometimes, even worse than the street fights and raw life that reminds me of the life of a contemporary German chef Tim Raue whose life in the deeBerlin underground was challenged by his decision to dedicate his life to fine cuisine.
Before reading this book, I was only familiar with Bourdain's work as a TV-host. I've liked the writing but after a couple of stories I've become kind of uninterested in all the very step-by-step details of the restaurant underground.
If you are into food writing, it's a must read also because of the knowledge about the insights of the fine dining industry in the past and nowadays.
Rating: 3 stars