By James Calemine
First published in 2000, Kitchen Confidential proved to be Anthony Bourdain’s breakthrough book. After his 2018 death, this collection reappeared on the Bestseller list. Death is always a great career move for a writer. Kitchen Confidential also led to Bourdain’s first cooking-travel show. And we know the rest of his resume…
In the 2006 updated edition, Bourdain wrote a new Afterword. By then, his television career began it’s ascent. It’s a hilarious, fast and gritty nonfiction book revolving around restaurants, cooking and Bourdain’s personal journey from the bottom of the culinary world to the top. In the Preface Bourdain wrote: “Things are different now. When I wrote Kitchen Confidential I was still working on the line.”
“Don’t Eat Before Reading”, a 1999 The New Yorker essay, earned Bourdain a variety of significant opportunities. He delivered with Kitchen Confidential. The book appeals to all five senses on every page. For some reason I wanted to revisit this book last week. Bourdain’s other books I’ve read include The Nasty Bits, No Reservations and a fiction book called Bone In The Throat.
Many fine truths lace the pages of Kitchen Confidential such as “This book is for cooks”, “And I’ve long believed that good food, good eating is all about risk”, “I never order fish on a Monday”, “I won’t eat in a restaurant that has a filthy bathroom”, “It was not my finest hour”, and “The reuse of bread is an industry-wide practice”.”
Kitchen Confidential slices to the bone.