Bourdain, one of the TV chefs you can catch on the Travel Channel, provides an unglamorized view of life in the restaurant kitchen. A glimpse that will unsettle anyone who thinks the kitchens on the Food Network somehow represent the real world of a restaurant kitchen. Or at least the kitchens in which Bourdain worked.
The first part of this book made me wonder if I’d ever eat out again. Do all those things REALLY happen back in the kitchen while I’m sitting oblivious in the dining room? But by the end of the book, I was won over by Bourdain’s excitement of the food, the creativity, and the sheer hard work that goes into getting great tasting food on the table night after night.
The book is well paced and fascinating. In between telling the stories of sex, drugs and plating food, Bourdain gives tips on what equipment to have on hand in your home kitchen (“Shallots are one of the things – a basic prep item in every mise-en-place – that make restaurant food taste different from your food.”), what to watch for (“I won’t eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms. This isn’t a hard call. They let you see the bathrooms.”), and some of the things you should consider if you’ve ever considered becoming a chef (“Assume the worst. About everybody.”).
Highly recommended for foodies, chef wannabees and the regular folk who eat out. But be warned, the language is quite explicit.