Cover image for Kitchen confidential : adventures in the culinary underbelly
Kitchen confidential : adventures in the culinary underbelly
Bourdain, Anthony.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : G.K. Hall, [2001]

Physical Description:
434 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX649.B68 A3 2000B Adult Large Print Large Print

On Order



Last summer, The New Yorker published Chef Bourdain's shocking Don't Eat Before Reading This. Bourdain spared no one's appetite when he told all about what happens behind the kitchen door. He uses the same take-no-prisoners attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable book, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike. Bourdain's tales of the kitchen are as passionate as they are unpredictable, revealing what he calls twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine. Kitchen Confidential will make your mouth water while your belly aches with laughter.

Author Notes

Anthony Bourdain was born in New York City on June 25, 1956. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978. He wrote numerous nonfiction books including Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, The Nasty Bits, A Cook's Tour, No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, Medium Raw, and Appetites: A Cookbook. He also wrote several works of fiction including the graphic novel Get Jiro! and the comic Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts. He was the host of several television shows including A Cook's Tour, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown. He committed suicide on June 8, 2018 at the age of 61.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When the rest of the world is leaving the day's work behind, a restaurant staff's workday is just moving into high gear. Chef Bourdain writes intensely and personally about his career in New York's restaurants, leaving little to the imagination. Drugs, crime, aggression, violence, and sex all commingle with the pots and pans. Bourdain recognized people's passion for food on a boyhood trip to France, when his parents left him in the car for three hours while they ate at Fernand Point's legendary La Pyramide. Work in a Provincetown restaurant on Cape Cod led him to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he learned his craft. In restaurant kitchens, Bourdain encountered the real characters, the line cooks, who actually turn out the food, many of them addicts, struggling immigrants, loners, and misfits. Bourdain's respect for those "fringe elements" makes the narrative worthwhile. For the foodie, Bourdain's prescriptions for kitchen equipment and cooking staples offset the grungier aspects of restaurant life. --Mark Knoblauch

Publisher's Weekly Review

Chef at New York's Les Halles and author of Bone in the Throat, Bourdain pulls no punches in this memoir of his years in the restaurant business. His fast-lane personality and glee in recounting sophomoric kitchen pranks might be unbearable were it not for two things: Bourdain is as unsparingly acerbic with himself as he is with others, and he exhibits a sincere and profound love of good food. The latter was born on a family trip to France when young Bourdain tasted his first oyster, and his love has only grown since. He has attended culinary school, fallen prey to a drug habit and even established a restaurant in Tokyo, discovering along the way that the crazy, dirty, sometimes frightening world of the restaurant kitchen sustains him. Bourdain is no presentable TV version of a chef; he talks tough and dirty. His advice to aspiring chefs: "Show up at work on time six months in a row and we'll talk about red curry paste and lemon grass. Until then, I have four words for you: `Shut the fuck up.' " He disdains vegetarians, warns against ordering food well done and cautions that restaurant brunches are a crapshoot. Gossipy chapters discuss the many restaurants where Bourdain has worked, while a single chapter on how to cook like a professional at home exhorts readers to buy a few simple gadgets, such as a metal ring for tall food. Most of the book, however, deals with Bourdain's own maturation as a chef, and the culmination, a litany describing the many scars and oddities that he has developed on his hands, is surprisingly beautiful. He'd probably hate to hear it, but Bourdain has a tender side, and when it peeks through his rough exterior and the wall of four-letter words he constructs, it elevates this book to something more than blustery memoir. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly Chapter One Food is good My first indication that food was something other than a substance one stuffed in one's face when hungry-like filling up at a gas station-came after fourth grade in elementary school. It was on a family vacation to Europe, on the Queen Mary, in the cabin-class dining room. There's a picture somewhere: my mother in her Jackie O sunglasses, my younger brother and I in our painfully cute cruisewear, boarding the big Cunard ocean liner, all of us excited about our first transatlantic voyage, our first trip to my father's ancestral homeland, France. It was the soup. It was cold. This was something of a discovery for a curious fourth-grader whose entire experience of soup to this point had consisted of Campbell's cream of tomato and chicken noodle. I'd eaten in restaurants before, sure, but this was the first food I really noticed. It was the first food I enjoyed and, more important, remembered enjoying. I asked our patient British waiter what this delightfully cool, tasty liquid was. "Vichyssoise," came the reply, a word that to this day-even though it's now a tired old warhorse of a menu selection and one I've prepared thousands of times -- still has a magical ring to it. I remember everything about the experience: the way our waiter ladled it from a silver tureen into my bowl; the crunch of tiny chopped chives he spooned on as garnish; the rich, creamy taste of leek and potato; the pleasurable shock, the surprise that it was cold. I don't remember much else about the passage across the Atlantic. I saw Boeing Boeing with Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis in the Queen's movie theater, and a Bardot flick. The old liner shuddered and groaned and vibrated terribly the whole way -- barnactes on the hull was the official explanation-and from New York to Cherbourg, it was like riding atop a giant lawnmower. My brother and I quickly became bored and spent much of our time in the "Teen Lounge, ' listening to "House of the Rising Sun" on the jukebox, or watching the water slosh around like a contained tidal wave in the below-deck saltwater pool. But that cold soup stayed with me. It resonated, waking me up, making me aware of my tongue and, in some way, preparing me for future events. My second pre-epiphany in my long climb to chefdom also came during that first trip to France. After docking, my mother, brother and I stayed with cousins in a small seaside town near La Cabourg, a bleak, chilly resort area in Normandy, on the English Channel. The sky was almost always cloudy; the water was inhospitably cold. All the neighborhood kids thought I knew Steve McQueen and John Wayne personally-as an American, it was assurned we were all pals, that we hung out together on the range, riding,horses and gunning down miscreants-so I enjoyed a certain celebrity right away. The beaches, while no good for swimming, were studded with old Nazi blockhouses and gun emplacements, many still bearing visible bullet scars and the scorch of flamethrowers, and there were tunnels under the dunes-all very cool for a little kid to explore. My little French friends were, I was astonished to find, allowed to have a cigarette on Sunday, were given watered vin ordinaire at the dinner table and best of all, they owned Vélo Solex motorbikes. This was the way to raise kids, I recall thinking, unhappy that my mother did not agree. So for my first few weeks in France, I explored underground passageways, looking for dead Nazis, played miniature golf, sneaked cigarettes, read a lot of Tintin and Astérix comics, scooted around on my friends' motorbikes and absorbed little life-lessons from observations that, for instance, the family friend Monsieur Dupont brought his mistress to some meals and his wife to others, his extended brood of children apparently indifferent to the switch. I was largely unimpressed by the food. The butter tasted strangely "cheesy" to my undeveloped palate. The milk -- a staple, no, a mandatory ritual in '6os American kiddie life-was undrinkable here. Lunch seemed always to consist of sandwich au jambon or croque-monsieur. Centuries of French cuisine had yet to make an impression. What I noticed about food, French style, was what they didn't have. After a few weeks of this, we took a night train to Paris, where we met up with my father and a spanking new Rover Sedan Mark III, our touring car. In Paris, we stayed at the Hôtel Lutétia, then a large, slightly shabby old pile on Boulevard Haussmann. The menu selections for my brother and me expanded somewhat, to include steak-frites and steak haché (hamburger). We did all the predictable touristy things: climbed the Tour Eiffel, picnicked in the Bois de Boulogne, marched past the Great Works at the Louvre, pushed toy sailboats around the fountain in the jardin de Luxembourg-none of it much fun for a nine-year-old with an already developing criminal bent. My principal interest at this time was adding to my collection of English translations of Tintin adventures. Hergés crisply drafted tales of drug smuggling, ancient temples and strange and faraway places and cultures were real exotica for me. I prevailed on my poor parents to buy hundreds of dollars' worth of these stories at W. H. Smith, the English bookstore, just to keep me from whining about the deprivations of France. With my little short-shorts a permanent affront, I was quickly becoming a sullen, moody, difficult little bastard. I fought constantly with my brother, carped about everything and was in every possible way a drag on my mother's Glorious Expedition. My parents did their best. They took us everywhere, from restaurant to restaurant, cringing, no doubt, every time we insisted on steak haché (with ketchup, no less) and a "Coca." They endured silently my gripes about cheesy butter and the seemingly endless amusement I took in advertisements for a popular soft drink of the time, Pschitt ("I want shit! I want shit!") They managed... Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly . Copyright © by Anthony Bourdain. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

A Note from the Chefp. 3
First Course
Food Is Goodp. 9
Food Is Sexp. 19
Food Is Painp. 25
Inside the CIAp. 36
The Return of Mal Carnep. 45
Second Course
Who Cooks?p. 55
From Our Kitchen to Your Tablep. 64
How to Cook Like the Prosp. 75
Owner's Syndrome and Other Medical Anomaliesp. 84
Bigfootp. 91
Third Course
I Make My Bonesp. 105
The Happy Timep. 120
Chef of the Future!p. 128
Apocalypse Nowp. 134
The Wilderness Yearsp. 144
What I Know About Meatp. 153
Pino Noir: Tuscan Interludep. 163
A Day in the Lifep. 183
Sous-Chefp. 206
The Level of Discoursep. 221
Other Bodiesp. 229
Adam Real-Last-Name-Unknownp. 235
Department of Human Resourcesp. 246
Coffee and a Cigarette
The Life of Bryanp. 255
Mission to Tokyop. 272
So You Want to Be a Chef? A Commencement Addressp. 293
Kitchen's Closedp. 300