I just read Kitchen Confidential...
.. and I absolutely loved it! I worked in a restaurant through college (I was a waitress). I hated the kitchen staff - I tought they were the most disgusting, vulgar bunch. They were really the scum of theearth in my eyes and I thought it was just that paricular restaurant. I swore that other restaurants were calmer, cleaner, with real professional chefs! This book was hysterical, it completely showed me that I was completely wrong and naive in my thinking!
I loved Kitchen Confidential too...but not all kitchens are like that. I have worked in several kitchens..and yes, there are some vulgarities spoken and there are lots of jokes and laughter, but mostly really hard work goes on.
With that said...I won't eat at Sunday buffets and I am very picky about when I order fish when eating out. Where I worked...no buffets and I saw the fresh salmon being broken down every single day. I could not work in a place that honored "the five second rule". EWE is right!
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Another great book that came out recently is called "Heat" by Bill Buford(?). It is written from the viewpoint of a journalistic foodie (or maybe a foodie journalist).