Kitchen Confidential Book Summary - Kitchen Confidential Book explained in key points
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Kitchen Confidential summary

Anthony Bourdain

Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

4.3 (139 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain takes you behind the scenes of the restaurant world and shares the author's personal journey to becoming a renowned chef. It provides a no-holds-barred look into the culinary industry and its high-pressure environment.

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    Kitchen Confidential
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    Cold Soup and Oysters

    Nine-year-old Anthony Bourdain is with his family aboard the Queen Mary, a transatlantic cruise ship. They’re taking a family holiday and are on their way to visit his father’s ancestral homeland, France. Sitting together in the cabin-class dining room, the waiter approaches and ladles soup from a silver tureen into their bowls and then garnishes the soup with chopped chives. Something magical is about to happen.

    Anthony experiences the richness and creaminess of the leek and potato soup and the crunch of the chives. He’s pleasantly shocked to discover that the soup is cold! It’s right at this moment that he has a sudden realization: food isn’t just fuel for hungry faces. He asks the soup’s name: Vichyssoise. Later, he’ll recall this as the first food he actually enjoyed. 

    During his first few weeks in France, though, the young Anthony is singularly unimpressed with French food – the butter is cheesy, the milk undrinkable, and lunch is invariably a sandwich au jambon, or croque-monsieur. His parents try to interest their two sons in other food – but to no avail.

    That is, until one day in Vienne, his fed-up parents decide to leave the two boys in the car for three hours with a hoard of Tintin comics while they dine at La Pyramide. This act of denial gets Anthony thinking: What’s inside that’s such a big deal? With vichyssoise still fresh in his memory, he realizes, that food is important. Later, of course, he’d learn that La Pyramide was like “Mecca for foodies” and that everyone in the culinary world had done their time there under the chef and restaurateur Fernand Point.

    He’s angry and decides to try to get one up on his parents. He begins to try everything that’s on offer – including his first oyster. Anthony will later describe that first oyster as being more significant than losing his virginity.

    The family moves on to stay with his aunt and uncle in La Teste de Buch, a small village in Southwest France. Their neighbor, Monsieur Saint-Jour invites the family out on his pinasse or oyster boat. They readily agree. During the trip, Monsieur Saint-Jour invites them to try oysters from his oyster parc. Anthony is the first to volunteer. Monsieur Saint-Jour takes an oyster from the sea bed, hands it to Anthony, and instructs him how to eat it – “one bite and a slurp.” It tastes of seawater, brine, and flesh. It also tastes of the future.

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    What is Kitchen Confidential about?

    Kitchen Confidential (2000) gives us an insight into life in the restaurant business. Full of larger-than-life tales about Anthony Bourdain’s life of sex and drugs and haute cuisine, it gives us a no-holds-barred taste of what goes on behind the kitchen door.

    Kitchen Confidential Review

    Kitchen Confidential (2000) by Anthony Bourdain is a captivating memoir that takes readers behind the scenes of the culinary world and why you should read it:

    • It offers honest, raw insights into the often chaotic and intense world of professional kitchens, providing a unique glimpse into the industry.
    • With Bourdain’s sharp wit and no-holds-barred storytelling, the book is both entertaining and informative, offering a refreshing perspective.
    • It reveals the gritty reality of the restaurant industry, highlighting the passion, camaraderie, and dedication that goes into creating exceptional dining experiences.

    Who should read Kitchen Confidential?

    • Fans of Anthony Bourdain
    • Wannabe pro chefs
    • Home cooks looking for hints and tips from a professional

    About the Author

    Anthony Bourdain was a chef, author, and TV celebrity chef. His book, Kitchen Confidential, based on an infamous article he wrote in the New Yorker went on to become a New York Times best seller. He wrote many other books including A Cook’s Tour, The Nasty Bits, and Medium Raw as well as two graphic novels Get Jiro! and Get Jiro!: Blood and Sushi. He became particularly well-known for his travel and food show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Sadly, in 2018, he died from suicide in France while working on an episode for the show.

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    Kitchen Confidential FAQs 

    What is the main message of Kitchen Confidential?

    The main message of Kitchen Confidential is an insider's perspective of the restaurant industry, filled with raw honesty and captivating stories.

    How long does it take to read Kitchen Confidential?

    The reading time for Kitchen Confidential varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Kitchen Confidential a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Kitchen Confidential is a captivating read for anyone interested in the culinary world. It offers an eye-opening look at the restaurant industry and the life of a chef.

    Who is the author of Kitchen Confidential?

    The author of Kitchen Confidential is Anthony Bourdain.

    What to read after Kitchen Confidential?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Kitchen Confidential, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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