Book review: Kitchen Confidential

After reading Medium Raw earlier this month (reviewed here as well), I wanted to read Anthony Bourdain‘s earlier book, Kitchen Confidential.  So I read it this week, and it did not disappoint. Medium Raw, the book is a frank and honest accounting of Bourdain’s career (to the point of publication) and thoughts about cooking, food, restaurants, and related matters.  There are many funny stories, some scary ones, and some that sound like Hollywood movie plots.  Indeed, a TV show was made with the same title, although I haven’t seen it and apparently it did not do well.

I really enjoyed this book.

As a foodie who cares about technique, menu composition, ingredients, and preparation (not just the final look and feel), the book offers a fascinating glance into the inner world.  It’s limited mostly to New York City and mostly to non-Michelin-starred restaurants, but that’s more than OK.  The author is honest about context, and actually explores other areas (Provinicetown, Tokyo) and other chefs (Scott Bryan has an excellent chapter focused on him and Veritas).

Sure, the writing is verbose at places, rambling in others, and sometimes less than crystal-clear.  But the stories are great, and the personalities greater.  Even allowing for some exaggeration or embellishment, this is a very cool book.

By the way, it seems like Scott Bryan is back in NYC, cooking at Apiary.  That sounds interesting…