lunabee34: (food:  sushi color by cattyhunts)
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary UnderbellyKitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

I loved No Reservations and watched its entire run avidly. Anthony Bourdain is extremely charismatic, interesting, attractive, funny, and witty on that show. I also appreciated that the show took such a political turn in the last season or so. Given my love for his TV persona, I expected to really like this book, but it didn't grab me.

Kitchen Confidential is a good look at what being a chef at the end of the twentieth century was like. It's got fascinating insider info and really gets across what a grueling life the food service industry is.

However, I kinda bounced off the persona Bourdain creates for this book. He, and pretty much everyone else around him, are so off-puttingly drunk and high and worthless for so much of the book that I got pretty bored with the degeneracy fairly early on. I also bounced off the casual sexism and homophobia that permeates the kitchens of the restaurants Bourdain writes about. I believe him 100% that this is an accurate depiction; I also believe him when he says he's not sexist or homophobic. But his attitude of "it is how it is with the sexism and homophobia" rubs me the wrong way. I also got my hackles up at (I must admit the relatively few; it's either just one or two) small comments he makes about people with dietary restrictions. Yes, Anthony Bourdain, I have celiac because it's inconvenient for YOU! *sigh* I realize this was written quite some time ago, but knowing that chefs at restaurants are full of contempt for those of us who would like to eat at restaurants sometimes (and sometimes even NEED to) but who have allergies or other dietary restrictions is so maddening. I believe a lot of this has changed; the book now includes an afterword where Bourdain talks about women getting into the boy's club, and I think attitudes toward gluten free menu items has definitely changed because so many places are offering gluten free now.

Tl;dr: Interesting book in which I did not care for the protagonist much.

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