Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do Ya Wanna be a Chef? Huh? Do Ya?

Kitchen Confidential – by Anthony Bourdain

464 KB/321 Pages
Footnotes/Endnotes: No
Illustrations: No
Suitable for eReaders: Yes
5 Stars

Okay, I admit, I like Anthony Bourdain. I travel the world and enjoy foods vicariously through his TV show, No Reservations that I will never get to see or enjoy any other way. I also admit, right up front, if you think the language of the show is rough, the language in this book is full bore with No Bleeps!

Last year, I read Beaten, Seared, and Sauced, a memoir by Jonathan Dixon on his journey to become a Chef and graduate from the CIA. It was fun.

This year, Kitchen Confidential seemed a natural follow on. Both Bourdain and Dixon attended and graduated from the same CIA campus. Both are male. Both write well. End of comparison.

Bourdain is a Bad Boy from the get-go. I have a soft spot for Bad Boys, at least some. At least those who are at a safe distance;-) This memoir is filled with raunch, booze, drugs, and escapades that had me laughing out loud almost through the whole thing. I started it as a bedtime read, and spent most of today on the sofa finishing it. I don't mind the language if it's in a funny setting. And it is, well, Bourdain.

He tells us when to order fish, and when not to, and why. He explains what really goes on behind the scenes in the kitchen. His crew a missed match bunch of bawdy pirates, who come and go with the tides. And just about the time when you wonder, really wonder, he takes us into a 3-star restaurant, and shows us how a kitchen can be run—with respect, quiet, totally the opposite of New York's Les Halles where he is the Executive Chef (at least at the time of the writing of the book). He points out the differences, and explains why he will never be a 3-star Chef.

Do you think you might like to be a Chef? Do your friends tell you you should open your own restaurant, serve your special foods and drinks for money? Do you harbor that dream of having your own show on Food Network, of becoming the next Iron Chef? Read this book, and think about it, very, very seriously. Then, if you still want to open your own place, go forth and do so. But remember what Anthony Bourdain writes. Remember his descriptions of his hands. Can you stand for 10-17 hours a day, seven days a week? Pay attention. And don't say you weren't warned!

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