Kitchen Confidential (book)

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Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Kitchen Confidential.jpg
First edition
AuthorAnthony Bourdain
CountryUnited States
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
Publication date
August, 2000
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Followed byA Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal 

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly is a New York Times bestselling non-fiction book written by American chef Anthony Bourdain, first published in 2000. In 2018, it topped the New York Times non-fiction paperback and non-fiction combined e-book & print lists.[1]

In 1999, Bourdain's essay "Don't Eat Before Reading This" was published in the New Yorker.[2] This served as the foundation for Kitchen Confidential.[3]

Released in 2000, the book is both Bourdain's professional memoir and a behind-the-scenes look at restaurant kitchens. The book is known for its treatment of the professional culinary industry, which he describes as an intense, unpleasant, and sometimes hazardous workplace staffed by who he describes as misfits. Bourdain believes that the workplace is not for hobbyists and that anyone entering the industry without a masochistic, irrational dedication to cooking will be deterred.[4]

The book alternates between a confessional narrative and an industry commentary, providing insightful and humorous anecdotes on the cooking trade. Bourdain has cited George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), with its behind-the-scenes examination of the restaurant business in 1920s Paris, as an important influence on the book's themes and tone.[5] Bourdain details some of his personal misdeeds and weaknesses, including drug use. He explains how restaurants function economically and warns consumers of the various tricks of restaurateurs. For example, he famously advises customers to avoid ordering fish on a Monday as it is likely left over from the weekend or earlier (years later, however, he retracted this advice[6]). He also suggests avoiding well-done beef, since the meat is more likely to be from a less-than-best grade, as the substandard flavor would be masked in overcooking.

In 2005, the book was adapted into a television show of the same name, starring Bradley Cooper as a fictionalized Bourdain. The series was cancelled partway into its first season, and only 13 episodes were produced.[7]

The book received positive reviews and created a large public following for Bourdain.

A follow-up book, Medium Raw, was published in 2010.

In 2017, in light of the Me Too movement, Bourdain expressed remorse that Kitchen Confidential "celebrated or prolonged a culture that allowed the kind of grotesque behaviors we're hearing about all too frequently".[8]


  1. ^ Jordan, Tina (June 22, 2018). "'Kitchen Confidential,' First Published in 2000, Tops the List Again". New York Times. New York. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "Don't Eat Before Reading This". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  3. ^ Amatulli, Jenna (2018-06-08). "This Is The Story That Launched Anthony Bourdain's Media Career". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  4. ^ Bourdain, Anthony (2000). Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. New York, NY: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781596917248. OCLC 669990270.
  5. ^ "Anthony Bourdain Is Dead at 61". Vogue. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  6. ^ Smith, Emily (23 June 2016). "Anthony Bourdain: It's now safe to order fish on Mondays". Page Six.
  7. ^ "Watch Bradley Cooper as 'Jack Bourdain' in Fox's Short-Lived 'Kitchen Confidential' Comedy (Video)". TheWrap. 2018-06-08. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  8. ^ Bourdain, Anthony (2017-12-12). "ON REACTING TO BAD NEWS". Anthony Bourdain. Retrieved 2018-07-12.

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