Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kitchen Confidential

So, I’m a little intimidated by Anthony Bourdain, and maybe he likes it that way. Or maybe in all the arrogance, wittiness and debauchery unleashed in Kitchen Confidential, he’s really just making fun of himself. You be the judge.
I will tell you that the book captivated me from the minute I picked it up last week. Bourdain shares horrific and hilarious stories from the kitchen that makes would be chefs (ahem…me) ask, could I hack it? Does a life in the culinary arts sound better, or worse after this?
As the proclaimed lover of chaos, conspiracy and the dark side of human nature, Bourdain satisfies his readers with these fantastic stories, advice, and tips of the trade. For example, I now know where to get a good hot dog in New York, the importance of a good food runner, and how to react if I were to ever walk into a kitchen full of automatic weapons (read the book.)
But there’s a shade of doubt for me that lies in his description of the vulgarity that he claims adheres to kitchens, that makes up the majority of restaurant talk. As I spent some time as a hostess, waitress and food runner in a gritty Irish pub, I’ve heard my fair share of the stuff he’s talking about, but I gotta tell you, I don’t find it any worse than the talk I hear working at a boutique commercial real estate firm in Washington, DC. I’d venture to say that most industries have their own foul-mouth secret language; that it flourishes whether working amongst mostly men (which I do) or in your upscale kitchen supply shop with a bunch of middle aged women (which I have.)
Maybe he’s just proud to be the king of the new foodie cult. And that’s fine. I’ll keep reading his books, watching his travel show and planning a trip up to NY to sample the cuisine at Les Halles. And now I know not to order fish on Mondays.

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