Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Reader’s Den, Food for Thought

November Reader's Den: "Kitchen Confidential"


Welcome to this month’s Reader’s Den!  This month we’ll have a discussion co-led by Jenny Baum and Ursula Murphy about Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Please feel free to comment or bring up anything relevant to the book in the comment section.  We'll try to address and facilitate discussion as it comes up. 

“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating is all about risk.  Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized 'crime,' food, for me, has always been an adventure.” (Page 6) 

This quote ends the opening remarks of Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain’s 2000 bestseller.  Even now, years after its release, it is difficult to obtain from the library because of its longlasting popularity.  The culinary memoir is told in a friendly and humorous manner, with sprinkling of bad language and off color remarks to keep things interesting.  There are plenty of stories that will leave you afraid to eat out, order seafood of any kind on any day of the week, and a host of other tidbits and horror stories from the kitchens Bourdain has worked in.  There are also remembrances of colleagues filled with respect and fondness and a good deal of interesting insight into the restaurant industry.  Even though Bourdain might scorn me as a vegan, I enjoyed this book, mostly because Bourdain seems to love what he does and the enthusiasm is catchy.  

NEW YEAR'S EVE DINNER [held by] ERON & MULHALL [at] 244 THIRD AVE.NY ([REST]), Digital ID 470149, New York Public LibraryThe books contents are divided into parts of a meal: appetizer, first course, second course, third course, dessert, and coffee and a cigarette.  For the First Course, we read about Bourdain’s awakening of his love for food during a childhood trip to Europe.  He slurped down his first oyster as his brother and parents looked on with a hesitation and was immediately hooked on the thrill.  He got his first job in the industry as a dishwasher at a touristy fish shack called the Dreadnaught in Provincetown and immediately became envious and admiring of the misfit and wildchild cooks there.  This appetite for trying new and exciting cuisine has sustained and supported him for more than twenty five years in successful restaurants, books and television shows.

Stay tuned for info about the author as well as more discussion about the book.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

dishrags to riches

What's up with these celebrity chefs?! I am fascinated by the trend started by chefs like Bourdain and even the likes of Rachel Ray. I wonder how much of it stems from genuine talent and how much is brought about by fabulous self-promotion skills. Bourdain certainly does seem to let his passion drive his prose...I look forward to course #2!

thanks for your comment!

Bourdain no doubt has talent and a lot of charisma which has definitely helped his career. He is well respected in his field as well as being popular as a celebrity. I think we are all more interested in food in general for the past decade which has contributed to the rise of celebrite chefs. Here's a question, what was one meal or food that you've eaten that you were slightly scared to, like Bourdain's oysters? Or what's a food you'd like to try but are wary of?

Post new comment