Let me start by saying that a long time ago, when I first heard of Anthony Bourdain and caught an episode of No Reservations, I wasn’t all that thrilled. He’s a bad boy, and I don’t know… I just wasn’t into the whole, ‘go to different countries and eat the craziest possible thing you can’ scene. But because his show is based on traveling to different countries, my love, Jon, was all into him and was a supporter. It was he who gave me the book Kitchen Confidential, to read.
This of course, changed everything for me. I mean… Anthony Bourdain is THE bad boy of cooking! And that part of me that use to fall for the dark guy with a wicked streak was totally revived. So where I love Jaimie Oliver for being all good and crusading, I LOVE Anthony Bourdain for being renegade kitchen mafia don. Yes… I just took way too much creative license with that description.
So there are drugs, sex, a whole lot of swearing, and a deeply obsessed love of food. At the end of the day this is what attracts me to this man more then anything. Its a take no prisoners approach to cooking good food, which makes for great reading, and a sense that these guys are just cool. Dangerous, but cool. From the book:
“I’m not spilling my guts about everything I’ve seen, learned and done in my long and checkered career as dishwasher, prep drone, fry cook, grillardin, saucier, sous-chef and chef because I’m angry at the business, or because I want to horrify the dining public. I’d still like to be a chef, too, when this thing comes out, as this life is the only life I really know. If I need a favor at four in the morning, whether its a quick loan, a shoulder to cry on, a sleeping pill, bail money, or just someone to pic me up in a car in a bad neighborhood, in the driving rain, I’m definitely not calling up a fellow writer. I’m calling my sous-chef, or a former sous-chef, or my suacier, someone I work with or have worked with over the last twenty-plus years.
No, I want to tell you abut the dark recesses of the restaurant underbelly – a subculture whose centuries old militaristic hierarchy and ethos of ‘rum, buggery and lash’ make for a mix o unwavering order and nerve-shattering chaos – because I find it all quite comfortable, like a nice warm bath. “
So this week I was tinkering in Hulu the other day to see if I could find an episode of another cooking show when I stumbled upon Fox’s one season of Kitchen Confidential staring Bradley Cooper! I had no idea this was ever made. I believe it came out in 2005, only ran for 1 season and its just fun. Its definitely watered down for television, but worth a view. I loved it! I swear to you, it makes me want to work in a restaurant kitchen. Not sure what this says about me.
Make yourself a yummy salad, grab a crisp cold drink and spend an afternoon watching and reading Kitchen Confidential. You’ll love it!
Island Vittles says
great recommendation, I'll give it a try. I just finished watching the British series Whites, which is kind of like "The Office" but in a kitchen…really funny!
Thanks for the tip! I'll check it out.
Ohhh….I love that book. Years and years ago–when I used to work in a wine bar in Cleveland (that had some awesome tapas I must add)—one of the bar tenders and I decided to read through that book together. Literally. We had it stashed under the sink in the kitchen–and every time it was slow–we'd pull out ol' Bourdain and start reading it aloud to each other.
I fell in love with him too from that book. And now I'm addicted to his show–even though I too would never eat any of the shit he does!
Hansel always refers to him as "your boyfriend"!!
Lee Ann Foster says
I too have recently read KC. I had to read him after his review of Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones and Butter, which he says it's the best chef memoir – ever! I highly recommend this book and was lucky to meet her in Vancouver in early march.
Bourdains' kitchen work ethic and promotion of the cooks who do the heavy lifting, the unsung hero's he respects and champions the underdog in a way that's not condescending.
Have you heard of Ruth Bourdain – the fake entity on twitter? This is what really got me interested in Bourdain after I realized that this wasn't a real person it was time to investigate who this man was.
Reading Medium Raw the companion piece to KC hooked me as a reader and loved Nasty Bits as well. He has that charm that's hard to manufacture and underneath that rebel persona he is a talented writer and a kind, caring soul. Course now I gotta see what all the fuss is about on NoReservations.
Lee Ann!!! Such great information! I'll look into the memoir, and I had NO idea about Ruth Bourdain, clicking over to twitter now!
I have to look up the tv version of Kitchen Confidential now! I didn't realize they had made it either, I have the book and I hate to say I still haven't read it yet, but love No Reservations enough that I was intrigued enough to buy it (and am planning on reading it as soon as I have some down time long enough to get through more than 2-3 pages)
Well let me tell you Rochelle, its indulgent reading. I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend an afternoon laying out in the yard, or the beach and just reading until you can't read anymore. Its that much fun!