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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!

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  1. Have you seen the movie Waiting? Talk about vulgar!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pei

      Play the trailer, and then ask yourself 'Is it any wonder that the biz is like it is?'. Play Trailer: http://www.waitingthefilm.com/ ...'the five second rule'...ewe.

    2. 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!

      1. AmberGirl, Now read Bourdain's "The Nasty Bits". It's even better.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Leper

          I keep meaning to pick this one up

          1. re: Leper

            I wasn't really impressed by "Nasty Bits". It's just recycling of older work from him.

          2. 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).

            1. I also paid my way through college in food service. I stated on the grill. I moved to the pastry station as a assistant and when my supervisor had her baby they offered the pastry line to me.
              I have to admit that Tony is correct about party chefs being artsy prima-donna's, but I did have great fun and often filled in when the guys on the line were in the weeds.

              I found the book to be racous, but it was rang true. My favorite food show is 'No Reservations' on the Travel Channel. Tony's sneer, the cynical NYC attitude, the sarcasm and the constant cigarette is very sexy, but his episode about Beirut also showed that he is caring, human and has a soft side.

              Tony Bourdain can rock my world any time he wants.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Kelli2006

                "Tony Bourdain can rock my world any time he wants."

                You put it better than I could ;)

                1. re: NovoCuisine

                  I just read Kitchen Confidential too. While I found parts of it kind of interesting and voyeuristic, since I haven't worked in a restaurant, Bourdain's tone really irked me. His tough-guy attitude rubbed me the wrong way.

                  I'm glad to hear that "Heat" is getting good reviews here though. I'm on a library wait list for that book and love Buford.

              2. "....No Reservations" was recommended bya friend of mine and now i am completely hooked. It's the brutally honest and cyannical side of food and travel. I love it... mild sarcasm, weird cuisine,international sideshows,and a HOT chef host. This is my idea of a cooking show. Let's see rachel ray get a skull tattoo and eat piranhas! ha


                1. I think with Bourdain you either love him or he completely turns you off. I love him; I've read Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour....I'm waiting to get Nasty Bits from the library. I force my husband to watch No Reservations repeats.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: DanielleM

                    Love or hate pretty much sums him up. I have a low tolerance for people overusing the f word, yet he uses it in his Les Halles cookbook and I love the book.

                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                      In the intro for the bernaise sauce right?

                      Great Book.

                    2. re: DanielleM

                      Some years back I sat on the floor of an overheated basement of an independent bookshop, nursing a cranky, fussy infant, while listening to Bourdain plug Cook's Tour. I was in absolute hysterics and I keep expecting this incident to turn up in one of his essays (if it hasn't already).

                      1. re: rockycat

                        I know this is an old thread but I just read the book a few weeks ago and I was curious about what people had said about it. Anyone who reads these boards knows how much I love AB but i was a little disappointed. It was much more about what he put into his body and less about what goes on in a kitchen than I had hoped. But man, can he write.

                    3. AmblerGirl, Bourdain opened up a whole new world for me. After Kitchen Confidential, I read The Nasty Bits, and A Cook's Tour - both great. Just through reading those (mostly The Nasty Bits), the whole culinary world just came alive for me, and I realized I couldn't get enough. Bourdain offers lots of recommended reading in his books and name-drops a lot... I went on to read all of Michael Ruhlman's books - his books may not be as funny, but he surely knows how to paint an amazing picture of some of the most intriguing chefs today: Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, and my personal favorite chapter in "The Reach of a Chef" Chef Masa Takayama--as a matter of fact, Ruhlman accompanies Bourdain and Ripert on his visit to Masa (Bourdain picks up the $1600 check!)- it makes for entertaining reading. You come away really appreciating what these chefs are doing and getting to know a lot more of their personality--they're all characters.

                      1. Three years ago, I was taking a flight from Edinburgh to Toronto, and had nothing to read, so in the airport bought Kitchen Confidential for the flight. It was a good thing that it wasn't heavily booked and I had the 2-seat to myself and no one across from me, because I spent the whole flight in the vain attempt to control the gaffaws and keep myself to a steady wheeze. It was then I became an acolyte. I also loved A Cook's Tour and the Les Halles Cookbook. That cookbook is not only very handy for the old school stuff, it's tremendously entertaining, and he's honest about the debt all of us on this continent owe to Julia Child, which just goes to show that whatever snarkiness he might have, he knows his place in the universe. I also loved the Beirut episode of No Reservations, and when he eats a seal with an Inuit family. Beneath the snark, there beats a big human heart.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: hungry_pangolin

                          Try Jacque Pepin's autobiograpy if you liked the Bourdain take on Julia. He was more of a contemporary to her and has a fondness for her that is truly remarkable.

                          While I love Bourdain's books, it only made me not want to eat at Sunday buffets. Pepin's book made me want to cook great food.

                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                            Yeah, what I like about Bourdain is that although he can be obnoxious and arrogant, he's not a snob. He's like Julia in that he thinks food should be about pleasure, not about rules.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I consider myself sooo lucky. Last night, here in Montreal, Anthony Bourdain sat around and talked about No Reservations, and the book. He is like a God to me.

                              Believe it or no, the bad boy of the kitchen is getting soft. HE QUIT SMOKING!!!

                              They interviewed him this morning on a radio station, and when asked where he had dined the night before, he humbly answered that he was so knackered, he had a tuna sandwich at his hotel!

                              We actually saw him leaving the venu at least an hour after the lecture was over (we were dining in the restaurant just across the street) and it took all the restraint I had not to run out and drag him over to our table.

                              Tonight he is hosting a dinner at the same restaurant for 20 people $185 a head, with Martin Picard (his favourite Montreal Chef from Au Pied de Cochon).

                              He was funny, natural, honest and oh so lovable.

                              1. re: maisonbistro

                                He probably stopped smoking because of the new baby. I don't smoke, but if I did that would be a big incentive to quit for me.

                                1. re: ktmoomau

                                  He said the main impetus of the quitting was his little baby girl giving him the evil eye, plus the fact that there is nowhere left to smoke. He lives in an apartment building and resorted to smoking in the stairwell - until he got caught by the manager. He also said that during his travels it is next to impossible to find a legal way to smoke a cigarette indoors.

                                  I think it was all just tough talk for saying he wanted to stay around a lot longer to watch his little girl grow up.

                                  We actually got a copy of his book No Reservations, which I think he said wasn't available yet in the US. For people who are expexting Kitchen Confidential or the Nasty Bits- you'll be disappointed. It's more of a travel log, with pictures, and a few funny stories interspersed among some destination descriptions.

                                  Not my favourite book of his.

                          2. I finished the book a couple months ago, I wanted to read it before I saw his talk, hope to put away a few more (but with my law school books being about 1,000 pages apiece we will see). I liked it.

                            I thought the tone of the book made it an easy read, you can tell he is a writer, but does a good job of making it conversational. I love that he is honest and practical, these are rare traits these days that I loved in the book, but reading it and watching his show you see a softer side too, like how he felt watching those cows getting branded. His style really appeals to me.

                            I was a hostess for a while for my first job and saw some of the stuff he talked about. I really enjoyed it for the knowledge and the laughter. I love the update in the back of the newer release. And I am excited Scott is coming to DC, I have a reservation in! I want the BF to read it, it is such an easy read I think he will like it too, but I am worried it may gross him out more than I.