A book by Anthony Bourdain< read all 11 reviews
Bourdain's story is entertaining, fast-paced, profane, funny, iconoclastic (at least if you like celebrity TV chefs), revealing, occasionally nauseating, deeply personal ... and probably a lot more fun to read about than to have lived through. You won't look at restaurant food the same way again. Sure, you may be more suspicious about what it is you're really being served. But more importantly (to Bourdain anyway, I suspect), you'll have greater understanding and respect for the people who prepared it. The seamy underside of the restaurant world is the most headline-grabbing part of the book, but the real value comes from the author's own experiences, his revelation of the life of an NYC chef, and his obvious love of great food prepared well.
At the same time, though, it seemed to me like there's a little bit of bait-and-switch to it. Bourdain spends the whole book talking about the manic, hard-rock, drug-driven, frenetic, foul-mouthed, take-no-prisoners world of the professional chef, laying it all on the line for us: this is what it's really like. And then, in one chapter, he pulls the rug out from under himself with his profile of Scott Bryan, another New York chef who, Bourdain admits, is night-and-day different from our author, and also more knowledgeable, more respected, and more successful. It's to his immense credit that Bourdain is absolutely up front with us about why Bryan is a three-star chef and he isn't.
I plan to read Bourdain's other non-fiction work and his two novels. This soul-baring book has put Anthony Bourdain on my list of authors I definitely plan to keep an eye on.
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