a seed of inspiration: Kitchen Confidential

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This week I took a break from my usual fare (of American History books and business development reading) to read a memoir loaned and recommended by a friend.

I’ve pretty much devoured Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.) by Anthony Bourdain.

Pun only a little bit intended.

(sidenote: I don’t ONLY read non-fiction. But I admit it’s starting to look that way)

We were at said friend’s house – her husband was making us all (an amazing) lunch and we were talking a lot about food. I guess she watches a lot of Food Network? I don’t actually have TV so it’s probably better that I don’t know what I’m missing.

But, she recommended that I read this memoir about some chef-dude I had never heard of.

Jessica – you could not be more right.

I love this book! Love it.

Published in 2000, this book is “a deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex and haute cuisine.” (from the back cover. Obviously I don’t really talk like that)

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I could be a really good cook…. As long as I don’t have to do anything with avocados.

And now! This memoir lets me live vicariously through Bourdain as he works his way up the restaurant hierarchy.

Sidenote for those interested: I do have an irregular blog series on Those Crazy Schuberts called Schubert Eats – about our recipes, kitchen gadgets and fun foods.

This book covers some of the more interesting topics like why you really should never eat brunch at a restaurant and only order fish on Tuesdays through Thursdays. Bourdain recommends very basic equipment to stock your own kitchen like a chef (hello, Amazon wishlist) as well as discusses some of the more well-known-to-NYC-cooks personalities he’s dealt with over the last 30-40 years as a chef.

So interesting.

He also writes about how much work goes into opening up a restaurant …. 17 hour days for a week or two. It might be weird, but I’m a little jealous of people who work harder than me. I always think “I could do that” …. but I never do.

As of this writing I have just over 100 pages left (I’ll probably be done by tonight). I need to keep my eyes out for this book at a used book store or thrift shop – I’m sure I’ll want to read it again.

Reading Kitchen Confidential plants a seed of inspiration to:

  • Get all new (heavy-duty) pots and pans, a dutch oven and much (much) better knives
  • Cook all the time – plan elaborate meals for dinner guests
  • Give up sleep in favor of work
  • Try new recipes on a regular basis
  • Give up our microwave (done, actually. This week it died)
  • Read Medium Raw – the sequel memoir published this year
  • Read Bourdain’s other books – he has some restaurant-related novels and other non-fiction
  • Subscribe to his blog (done. He blogs for his Travel Channel show)
  • Watch the short-lived TV show Kitchen Confidential loosely inspired by this book (I hear it’s on Hulu)
  • Check if Jamie Oliver has written a memoir (I love him)

Do you wish you could be a chef in your next life?

Do you have any favorite recipes to share?

{ 5 comments… add one }

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  • linda t January 7, 2011 at 9:55 am edit

    Amy, my cast iron dutch oven is by far my favorite kitchen tool… along with my Santoku knife.
    Must haves for sure.

  • Alycia (Crowley Party) January 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm edit

    Someday I just hope to have a kitchen aid mixer haha

  • Nancy January 7, 2011 at 7:39 pm edit

    Just spending time with the Mozingos makes me want to cook more. We’re having our get together tomorrow night. Wish you guys could come again some time. Has Andrew ever been to the Mozingos? He’d love it. Here’s a great white chicken chili recipe that I’ve gotten great compliments on. Perfect for winter in the southwest.


  • Mim January 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm edit

    I haven’t read this book, but our family watches a lot of Food Network. (My son even critiques food like he’s on one of those shows!) Anyway- whenever Anthony Bourdain is a judge on a cooking show, he is really mean! I don’t like him.

  • Jessica V. January 22, 2011 at 11:24 am edit

    I just bought his other two memoir-style books. “The Nasty Bits” and “Medium Raw.” You can borrow them the next time we see you. I haven’t gotten to read them yet because I’m working through a 4-book sci-fi series while also taking classes and studying for my comp exam in February.


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