Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain

I have watched "No Reservations" a handful of times at my sister's house.  I am convinced that he would be an excellent addition to any Happy Hour gathering.  Reading "Kitchen Confidential" only served to reinforce that belief.

One of my friends told me about the book and so, despite my only having watched a handful of episodes, I anted up $14.95 of my Texas Workforce Commission "income" in order to read about how, exactly, he became a chef.

"No Reservations" takes the reader on a tour of kitchens Mr. Bourdain has graced with his alcohol swilling, pot smoking presence.  And, oh my God, it's entertaining.  I read the re-release, which included a little bit at the end about getting in touch with people he wrote about and having them set the record straight.  It was hilarious, mostly because anyone who's ever written an autobiographical story of any kind or length invariably has someone tell them, "Wait, that's not what happened.  You're exaggerating."

The characters in his book come alive, in all their curse-spewing, coke sniffing glory.  If you've ever known anyone who worked in food service, you've met one of the characters in his book.

One of my favorite parts was reading about his antagonistic relationship with one of his instructors at the Culinary Institute.  It reminded me of one of my professors, his abusiveness, and how he realized he couldn't make me upset with his streams of filth because, quite frankly, I didn't give a d*** anymore.  The anecdotes, as well as the self-deprecating humor, make it a worthy read, and also give some insight into how the business is changing in many ways, but is the same in just as many others.

It also made me thank my lucky stars I never worked in food service.

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