Kitchen Confidential
Anthony Bourdain


Jack Shields


Review by Brendan McMahon, Amazon (2016)

Brendan talks about the way he has spent a great deal of his life in the foodservice industry. He mentions how Anthony does justice to the industry itself given the amount of truth that he spills in the books, for the chefs out there to familiarize themselves with these experiences, as well as for the general readers lacking knowledge and experience, to get an idea of what goes on behind-the-scenes. Brendan also sees the importance in the details shared by Bourdain on his life between school and becoming an executive chef. He points out, “There’s some evil out there, but also many rewards. He tells it how it is”. He goes further in mentioning that the spoilers are of great assistance to someone trying to improve their skills as a chef, owner, or even just a restaurant employee. All the information shared in the book are viewed as instrumental tools. This perspective is in complete agreement with my view, given that the book is a great resource for those seeking knowledge to grow in the culinary business. The book is both a good source of pointers for growth for a chef and material instrumental for one gaining skills that can either be used at home or in their own business. This material goes further as to provide guidance on what to do and what not to do within the restaurant business. It is also a book through which readers may be able to learn from the mistakes of the author so that the same mistakes are not repeated in practice (Amazon, 2016).

Review from Jay Rayner, The Guardian (2000)

Jay describes the writing and detailing by Bourdain in simple words, “But what makes Bourdain’s writing sing is his complete understanding that food is not a subject for aesthetes. It’s a belly thing, not a head thing. From his very first meeting with ‘stinking runny cheeses that smelled like a dead man’s feet’ or his first oyster (‘this glistening, vaguely sexual-looking object, still dripping and nearly alive’) both while in France with his parents aged just nine, he grasped the true sensuousness of food and eating”. Jay very well understand the motivating factors behind the love for food that Bourdain has, which is the motivation he has had since young and what made him become an executive chef. The motivation does not change; this is the true meaning of someone who is dedicated to their art. Jay continues to describe how prime ingredients play a role, and especially for Anthony’s case, in his area of expertise. As Jay puts it, Bourdain can see the beauty in food, in its most simplistic manner and nature, being of the greatest impact. At a young age, the to-be chef is already motivated to take on the challenge of being a cook and doing it with resilience. The effect that food has on Bourdain is the drive behind his love and motivation, to take on newer and more-difficult challenges daily within the restaurant business. He mentions that he gets to understand food as opposed to trying to understand people. This outrightly describes Bourdain as gaining his motivation to go about life through food, which he can easily understand given that once it is prepared or in preparation, it can easily be understood, simply by appearance (The Guardian. 2000).

Review by Deirdre Donahue, USA Today (2018)

Deirdre views the book as a way for Anthony Bourdain to show us the fascination behind the functioning of the restaurant business, and the kitchen in greater focus. She also tells of the appreciation given to the precision of the food served by Bourdain as he tells it in the book, which brings imagination to life. Deirdre helps the reader focus on the secret, or the main ingredients in a meal to give it a kick, and causing customers to come back for more. It is a good way of seeing the passion that the author had, as well as the ability to know about food in such an accurate and articulate way so that the readers are well-informed. She manages to point out his professionalism and efficiency while working the six burners, which shows the man’s expertise and just how far he was willing to go to ensure that the food is served right and to the customer’s requirements.

In the same as Deirdre views the formerly renowned chef, it is clear that Anthony had a gift in cooking and, more so, putting up with the pressures of life and the culinary business, and still have the ability to serve decent meals. Readers are dished out with a glimpse into how restaurants operate and how much effort is put into ensuring that the customer remains happy (USA TODAY. 2018). Anthony Bourdain is a great chef who can operate six burners without messing things up, which can only mean that all the knowledge and experience have come in handy after all. He goes further by bringing his readers into the loop and explaining why restaurants fail following the mistakes of the restaurant owners without consideration and what they want. I agree with Deirdre on several fronts on the writing by Anthony Bourdain, which is proving to be instrumental to  all stakeholders of the culinary industry, and not just those working within it.

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