Monday, November 16, 2009

kitchen confidential - i

Kitchen Confidential is written by Anthony Bourdain, now host of the Travel Channel Show, No Reservations. I've never seen that show, but I did see him a few times in his Food Network show called A Cook's Tour, which is also the name of a book published in 2001. I gather he wrote that book while on the tour filming the TV show.

This the first book I've read by Bourdain, but he's written a few. Amazon lists 9 titles. Bourdain's writing style is infectious and fun. He talks to his readers like we're all standing next to him at a barbecue, and he's telling war stories. His advise is the kind you'd give a friend, the kind of friend who can take a joke, absorb the criticism and see the value and humor borne by years of experience. You know what they say about the heat in the kitchen.

My first job was in a mid-sized, family owed restaurant in my hometown. My second job was cooking for worldwide burger chain, whose logo wasn't for Mmm good. My third job was at the Hilltop Steak House, when Frank Giuffrida was still the owner. All three of these jobs were eye-opening experiences, and while I can't pretend to know what its like to cook for a profession, I do know that Bourdain tells it like it is in the kitchen.

In the intro, he tells us that this book is for the cooks, and so he hasn't provided definitions for terms like chiffonaded parsley, boudin noir and soufflé blah blah blah, that dot his stories, but it doesn't detract from the pleasure of reading them. I have this feeling, that if I could understand all these terms (I looked a bunch of them up, and got nowhere with my dictionary) I'd learn a lot about cooking, but as he says: tant pis, man.

I'm about a third of the way through this one, and I'm thinking about what else of his to read. And I've GOT to get my brother and his wife to read this, if they haven't already.

More soon!

PS: Between the three, eat at the Hilltop.

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