Sunday, August 28, 2022

Eleven of the best books about restaurant kitchens

At Vulture Megan Hennessey tagged eleven books "if you .. want to immerse yourself in the thrilling (and oftentimes stressful) world of restaurants, or if you just need a cathartic story centered on a kitchen." One title on the list:
Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential is the obvious place to start. The late celebrity chef entertains with wild stories of snorting lines of coke and falling asleep on the beach at sunrise after a night of partying. He advises readers on what to order (and when) based on his years of being inside professional kitchens. But this memoir is also brimming with stories of autocratic chefs who demand total loyalty and the willingness to work through injury or sickness, to say nothing of the abuse they dole out to their staff — an experience The Bear’s Carmy could certainly relate to. Rereading Kitchen Confidential, I’m struck by how Bourdain relishes the challenge to be the best under such horrific circumstances. While he would later speak out against the male-dominated “meathead” restaurant culture, and reflect on the role Kitchen Confidential had in promoting this worldview, this version of Bourdain seems to accept that the abuse he faced was just part of paying his dues in becoming a chef.
Read about another entry on the list.

Kitchen Confidential is among Eric Ripert's six favorite books, Ryan Stradel's ten top books about food, the Telegraph's list of the ten best food and drink books of all time, Grub Street's top 25 food memoirs of all time, the Guardian's top ten food books of the last decade, David Kamp's six books notable for their food prose, Trevor White's ten notable books about dining, and Laura Lippman's top ten memorable memoirs.

--Marshal Zeringue