A Chef’s Well-Written Autobiography
By Anthony Bourdain
ECCO, $11.99, 362 pages
When I first read this book in its original hardcover edition in 2000, I truly enjoyed it. It was reissued as paperback in 2007, again in 2012. Not everyone is going to enjoy Kitchen Confidential by one of America’s top chefs, Anthony Bourdain. But if you are a frequent restaurant patron (particularly if you can afford high-end ones) and a true foodie, this is a good reading. The coarse language and some of the content may offend some readers. It is a combination of autobiography, the author’s fascinating career and progress to become a well-recognized chef, and a bit of an exposé on the frantic operation and horrific condition of commercial kitchens. Because of its small size, this pocketbook is not easy to read. In addition the author’s frequent hand written scribbles on tops or bottoms of pages tend to be distracting. The writing is excellent, entertaining and flows almost like a novel. Its six chapters are named by the courses of the meal (Appetizer, First Course, etc), giving an account of the author’s life in similar progression. Somewhat confusingly, the preface was written in 2000 and afterword in 2006.
Reviewed by George Erdosh