Why was Anthony Bourdain’s book ‘Kitchen Confidential’ such a big deal when it came out?

Why was Anthony Bourdain’s book ‘Kitchen Confidential’ such a big deal when it came out?

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  1. There is a lot of snobbery concerning food . Chef’s and restaurants in particular . I think people loved the fact that someone was exposing the dirty secrets of the trade . I am of the opinion that quite a bit of the book is exaggerated and over blown . Most chef’s liked it because it made them sound a little dangerous and perhaps part of the underworld .

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  2. Bourdain’s timing could not have been better. No one had written a book about being a down and out chef before and its release coincided with a dramatic increase in America’s interest in food and cooking.
    If that book hit the shelves today few people would flinch after reading it. When it was released 18 years ago there weren’t any books like it. The subject matter was new, hip, exciting and edgy. Now there are dozens of imitators looking to cash in on the genre Bourdain created.

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  3. I would say that it was a big deal because it was the first of its kind. It exposed the behind the scenes of a working kitchen back in the day. Of course, what made it more appealing was it that it is a tell-all from a person in the kitchen itself. Memoirs seem to be more honest and factual which added to the appeal.
    Remember though, it’s a book based on where he worked, not a one size fits all. Particularly the section when he discusses when not to order certain foods due to deliveries and such.
    It is a good book. I would recommend the read.

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  4. Not only was Kitchen Confidential a first look behind the scenes at many well-known eateries in NYC, but his writing is so clear and candid, as well as profane and bitingly funny, that it exploded like a bombshell in the oh-so-reverent world of food writing. His voice is unique, engaging and self-deprecating. It doesn’t hurt that he is a brilliant raconteur.
    In my former life as a bookseller/bookstore owner, we held the launch party for Tony’s first novel, Bone in the Throat when it first came out five years prior to Kitchen Confidential . We had just opened the shop the year before and we were still learning the ropes as regards to publicizing author events. One of my partners thought it would be fun to run a short item in the NY Times food section a couple days beforehand and tell everyone that Mr. Bourdain’s chef friends would be bringing their specialty dishes for refreshments. What a night!
    We didn’t know there is a whole NYC free food underground that arrives as a cohort of grubby freeloaders who put bottles of beer in their greasy suit jacket pockets and one tried to skate out with an entire cut of filet mignon. It was mayhem, and none of them bought books.
    The chefs were like a mad crew of pirate captains celebrating a landmark event for one of their own, and refreshments were all over the map depending on which knot of people you stopped to chat with, and the festivities ran way past midnight. If you have read any of his descriptions of after hours chef parties, Tony nails it.
    As a writer, if Anthony Bourdain wrote a telephone book I would buy it and read it. As an author who became famous, Tony never forgot a friend and was totally loyal to those who first recognized his talent and championed his first books, including small independent bookstores. One of my very favorite books is a signed first edition of Kitchen Confidential inscribed to me with the epigram: God gave us meat and the Devil gave us chefs!
    It will aways be treasured.

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