by Anthony Bourdain
Although many books can be clearly identified as being intended to persuade, to inform, or to entertain, Kitchen Confidential is not one of them. Rather, Bourdain's autobiography is roughly equal parts of each, possibly being a little light on persuasion. It informs us about what really goes on in restaurant kitchens, what makes chefs, line cooks, and others in the food industry tick, what kind of chef's knife to buy, why to avoid ordering seafood on Monday, and a hundred other things. It entertains because Bourdain is a pretty colorful character and he has a knack for telling good stories, some of which are pretty amazing. And finally, it attempts to persuade us that serious restaurant cooking is a noble task requiring, at least in some respects, near-military discipline and efficiency. I found the analogy between cooking and the military to be unnecessary and a bit off-putting, but overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable and sometimes hilarious book.
copyright © 2001 John Regehr