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KItchen confidential: a sad book

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello guys, i bought again the Anthony Bourdain´s book cuz the first i bought i was starting to read it when my chef (a great french chef i admire who has worked in the usa for about 25 years) told me, dont read it, u lose ur time and read something intereting, so i gave that book to a friend one year ago.

So now i wanted to read it cuz many americans cooks say it´s good. Well when i began to read it,, i though this is "stupid"(i could use other word) ; but that guy, i think he isnt the model of chef for nobody, he talks about sex and drugs all the book,, its not a nouvelle, its a biography of a sad and bad person who only can show hate, crazy behavior who should visit a psicologist.

When i read the first part, he saw how the chef was having sex with a bright in the restaurant and he says since that moment he decided he wanted to be a chef,,,,, he wanted to be chef for having sex? come on, do u call that a model of chef?; he made me laugh really.

After he talks about his education at CIA,,,haha, if i though once i would take a course at CIA, no again, in a place where drugs go by hand and hand, come on, what kind of education is that? it´s so sad to read that about CIA,,and i think it must be true cuz nobody has said that´s false.

Other thing have u think how this guy try to sell his book with his words? i have been at culinary school, too and it´s no so bad as he says,, he only try to sell his biography with morbo,, with insane words as he says for selling, thats why it´s morbo. And why do u suggest reading this poor book? i say poor cuz u cant rescue anything from this book, life is not like he says. Imagine all chefs would be crazy, and i know there are excellent chefs. And what its silly, he does what a chef shouldnt be,,, well Careme and Escoffier were very strong about what a chef should be ina and out a kitchen. Can Bourdain be a model? an example? i dont think so,, he only shows the sad life of a cook in a sad society,,.....

Well a note: i heard an interview of Bourdain in "travel and living channel from discovery",,, he "says" all about his book is about the 70´s society ,, the present is very diffrent, so why do u suggest reading this? for scaring young cooks? it sad, and now i understand why my european chefs told me for not reading it.

i hope i dont offed someone, but that book is not an escoffier, its just his sad story.

Gus
post #2 of 26
Anthony Bourdain's book isn't meant to be anything but a story of his own life. And by the way, there are alot of people in the industry who use drugs and have sex with waitresses... Theres also alot of crazy chefs, ones who throw stuff around the kitchen, stab people with their knives, etc...

I can relate somewhat to Mr. Bourdain's experiences - I've gone through some tough times. The life of a cook isn't always glamourous, and a great cook isn't necessarily a great person...
post #3 of 26
AND, the most important point is that the book is **** funny!
post #4 of 26
I think you missed some of the important points Bourdain made . One, that was his journey. Not everyone elses. Two, he wishes that it wouldn't have been. He talks about wishing he had taken jobs for the experience, not the money. How he would be a better "chef" ( trouble with that word ), if he had not taken the big paycheck road, and worked for the experience.

Myself, I have worked with some of the people talked about in the book. Not those same ones, but someone just like them. And I have done some of those crazy things.

And the book is funnier than h...
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #5 of 26

Working in Kitchens

I have to tell you to grow up. A big part of being in this business is the fact that you deal with so many different characters, and that's what makes life enjoyable (variety is the spice of cooking!). Sure, there are lots of drugs, sex, and rock and roll, but if that's not your tune get into a cubicle and regret your life choices on your deathbed.
If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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post #6 of 26
while i haven't read the book i would have to disagree about some of the points made. to criticize cia's program based upon the experiences of one person is ridiculous. numerous institutions of higher learning have had many instances of drug use and abuse. including european ones. the bigger named schools are usually better equipped to keep such antics under wraps.

as for bourdain, he isn't for everyone, nor should he be. i think he's a viable alternative to the cookie cutter personalities we see promoting food in the public eye. he doesn't present the industry as something wonderful and speaks with candor about his decisions to work for pay as opposed to experience. you rebuke him for doing so, but tell me how this differs from the corporate guy that sleeps with his secretary and does the same? or the politician? i think you get my drift.

it is easy to say what we will do when we haven't been presented with a particular situation. given the hours that most chefs put in and the relatively low salaries for doing such, i can't blame him for making these decisions. we all have to eat. while you are entitled to your opinions, i would keep in mind that he has a television program that allows him to travel the world, a successful eatery and celebrated books. are you able to say the same?

not bad for a guy doing drugs and making out with the waitress. from where i stand it looks like he did something right.

gabby
"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

sad!

i dunno whta kind of values u have in the USA,, but drugs at school is something we dont admit,, well i see drugs is a big problem in ur country,, not all countries have that problem,, maybe u can learn from other societies,

sad situation!
post #8 of 26

Bourdain is a hero!!

Correct, the book and the life he had documented in it is a direct reflection of the 70's, having said that, .. Here is a guy who didnt have that focus, got into cooking for all the wrong reasons and now! he has respect, he has honed his talents and grown as a person too. If that is not a fairytale in the making I dont know what is. Even the loser can clean up his act and make something of himself. Besides, where else can you say the F word at work and no one cares? That's the beauty of this job. You can be anyone, at any age, from any background and find a place. There is no equal to this profession that can claim that. So I say, bring on the drug addicts, the illegals, the foul mouthed, the drunks, the ex-cons, kitchens are the homes of the second chance, pedigree's are for poodles.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

a heroe?

a heroe? give other joke please!:D
post #10 of 26
*just laughs with amusement*

surely you don't think american students are the only ones using drugs at school? please spare me the sanctimonious attitude. any well read and well traveled individual could easily refute your words.

this is beginning to sound like a personal gripe session with bourdain. which is sad. it would be much better for you to utilize your time aspiring to make your name in the industry, not tearing down someone else that has already learned from his mistakes and is probably a better man because of them.

at any rate. i seriously doubt if your opinion would ruffle his feathers. he's making quite a nice sum of money and seems to be enjoying the fruits of his labor. maybe this is more envy than anything else. because correct me if i'm wrong, wasn't there just a tell all book written about a celebrated "european" michelin chef that committed suicide? how soon we forget. *g*

gabby
"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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post #11 of 26
perhaps you should research more about anthony bourdain before you make snap judgements about him, the book isn't meant to be taken totally seriously that is bourdain's personality everything he says is tongue and cheek in regards to people, life, and food, that's what makes him an interesting and entertaining chef. in his writing "food is good" he clearly states that his desire to become a chef goes back to when he is 10 years old and on his summer vacation in France with his family, where he says he discovers that "food could inspire, astonish, shock, excite, delight, and impress. it had the power to please me and others." bourdain hits the nail on the head, and those statements sum up a chef's passion for this industry and food, if you are truly a chef you should know this as well. there is a reason chefs are kept in the back and that's because we’re all a little crazy just like bourdain.
post #12 of 26
We have had this conversation at least 1 or 2 times before. Many people refuse to believe many of Bourdain's stories or are overly critical of them. Well, I have news for you. Many of his stories do reflect lots of what goes on in this business, and not only in the USA. I'm not saying (and neither is Bourdain) that all chef's and restaurants operated like him, but there are a lot that do. Drugs and alcohol. are rampant in this industry, that is just a fact, sad as it may be. Many chefs and cooks tend to abuse their bodies. Whether this industry creates it or attracts it, I don't know. I used to be part of that crowd. We worked hard and we played hard, and playing hard often included copious amounts of alcohol, and yes, at a time in my life, lots of drugs. I also know some very big name chefs, in Atlanta, Chicago, and NYC that did the same. But it is not just American chefs. One of my old mentors, a French chef, has many, many stories about growing up as an apprentice, in Paris, and the drugs, alcohol, and sex that went on. I also met the pastry chef of one of France's greatest chefs when they were in Chicago doing a 10 day long guest appearance at one of the restaurants in my company. This pastry chef liked to party and discovered the joys (and perils) of tequila while here. It was pretty funny to watch one of the greatest chefs in the world try and track down his pastry chef!!!!!

Again, I am not saying that this is representative of the whole industry, but it is something that does happen and not in just a few isolated restaurants, nor is it confined to just American chefs and cooks.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #13 of 26
I read this book. I went in thinking it would be garbage, but in the end, I find myself connected with Chef Bourdaine. I went to culinary school, like him, I started in a not so glamourous restaurant, and I have dealt with my fair share of the not so desireable. His book is the story of his career, but it is also the story of many of us as well.

I did not grow up in the 70's, my story began in the 90's and many of the same things still hold true.

CIA is not a corrupt organization because the student body uses drugs. Remember the motto of the 70's, the drugs EXPAND YOUR MIND man!

In this the age of uppity TV chefs, hocking books full of garbage, I found a little bit of sarcasm and truth to be refreshing. No one is looking to this man to be a hero to the young, or a roll model, but if you have been there and done that he is.

Does he put out food that changes the world, probably not, but he has a prominent restaurant in NYC, and that is better than most of us will ever accomplish.

I go to work everyday and listen to the guests telling me how wonderful my job is and how they would love to be a chef. Thank you Emerill et al. Anthony Bourdaine shows the other side of the plate to all the want to be couch potatoes out there that think this is a glamorous way to make $8/hr.

And, are you telling me that the chefs at your establishment don't go out after work for some extra curricular activity?
"Whatever you are, be a good one."
-Abraham Lincoln-

"The weak ones fall, the strong carry on."
-Tom Petty-
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"Whatever you are, be a good one."
-Abraham Lincoln-

"The weak ones fall, the strong carry on."
-Tom Petty-
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post #14 of 26
well, gus, I don't think many of us will agree with you. Thats okay, we are all entitled to our opinions. Myself, i love Bourdains books and writing styles. I own most of his stuff. I don't know what else to say, except I don't agree with you.
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #15 of 26
I used to be excited about learning to cook professionally and then I actually did some research about working in a pro kitchen. Now granted, everyone at one point in their lives hates their job. Me being one of those people. But out of all of the careers I have researched, this by far has the most complaining.

Now I read Bourdain's book and I still think he is the man. If he wrote about all of the mundane details of his job you wouldn't have bought the book let alone talk about it. If someone writes a book about a train, what do you want to read about? The train ride or the train WRECK.

I also don't know why there is so much antimosity for the food network people. If anyone has watched these tv shows they do not promote professional cooking. They aren't showing you how to cook at your favorite restaurant on a Saturday night. When I watch any of these people, lets say Emeril, I'm thinking he is showing me ways to bring meals from those kitchens and prepare them in my personal kitchen.

This book has opened my eyes to the realites of what to expect in the kitchen. But man, even after talking to emergency room nurses, which I believe to be a harder job where they burnout even quicker, they still don't gripe on the message boards like cooks, chefs, whatever everyone here is.
Good luck people.:mad: :mad:
post #16 of 26
that's because the nurses are getting paid a heck of a lot more. *chuckles*

in all seriousness i have to wonder if the gripes and complaints are directly related to the low salaries. if people were raking in the big dough and working insane hours, would we hear more things like, "geez i'm tired" instead?

if i expound on this point i think another issue is that the promised day doesn't come for most. a doctor knows that his years spent toiling as an intern and resident will be rewarded eventually once he has completed them. yet you don't see something similar for would be chefs. mind you there's the years of schooling and insane debt to consider. and also the fact that most professional careers are not open to those that desire them, but those that can prove they have the stuff to make it beforehand. something we really don't have to worry about.

although you are comparing apples and oranges in some respects. these nurses and other similar professionals are required to maintain skills and complete training on a yearly basis. long hours notwithstanding, perhaps in the eyes of many this is still an easier path. at least one where you can work your way up from the bottom. i see greater opportunity and more inclusion, but perhaps i'm glancing from an angle that others are unable to or unwilling to see for themselves.

gabby
"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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post #17 of 26
I wasn't trying to make a direct correlation between nurses and chefs it was just one of a thousand difficult paths that I was exploring to look at. I guess the problem I keep seeing is that so many people on this webiste who are in the food service industry in one capacity or another seem like downers. I used to be really excited about going to culinary school and now I'm not so sure anymore.

I read one thread that said not to come into this profession looking for greatness. Why not? Should I go into any profession and expect mediocrity and accept it. I know the majority the people on here for some reason have disdain for guys like Emeril or Bobby Flay but like it or not they are chefs, and pretty darn succesful chefs. They started in the same place as many of the people here as low men on the pole in the kitchen working for some other chef in someone elses kitchen.

Maybe the pay is low and that is a legitamite gripe. People used to not know anything about professional cooking. The only chef who was popular was Julia Child and she wasn't even a chef. Now the food network is making the culinary world popular. They may not show the insides of a real kitchen but if more people are interested in eating out and entering this world wages and benefits will begin to rise.

I still think Tony Bourdain's book is excellent and it shouldn't scare people away. The other employees really aren't worried about what you are doing. Your boss will be but they won't. Enough of my rants for now. Enjoy. and goodnight.
post #18 of 26
Fiction with truth to part of the industry. Most people in this industry have a vice or two that come out more than...a lawer or docter. I do, and have worked with many others who do. Be happy you don't get it.
100% PRIME
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100% PRIME
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post #19 of 26
i realize that you weren't making a comparison, nor was i. however i do believe that the low wages play a huge part in the attitudes of many. it's difficult to complain about a profession that pays you royally. especially if you're doing what you love as well.

whatever the reasons you can't allow their negativity to influence you. we all have bad days and our moments of doldrums. if this is the path that speaks to you by all means follow it. the disdain that you see for the bobby flay's of the world is really envy in disguise. it is so difficult to make it to that level. particularly when talent alone won't get you there. you must possess a special savoir faire to rise above the crowd. in other words, you must be the lone 'o' in a crowd filled with x's.

the wages will never rise to the level that people are hoping for. they are assuming that long hours and hard work equate to great pay. that formula has never existed and it will not come about anytime soon. what distinguishes the doctors, lawyers, etc. from chefs is that those are skills that the majority of society is not in possession of. while you can go to school to learn how to cook. you simply cannot be a doctor or lawyer because the desire is there. the bar is set much higher for the latter two disciplines and they are paid accordingly because of this.

as long as this industry continues their current employment tactics and maintains an attitude that says on the job training is more valuable than education, the wages will lag behind. i applaud your attitude and desire to forge ahead, in spite of the odds that others have spoken of. and no, i don't believe mediocrity is ever acceptable. use the information you're receiving at present as motivation. you'll come to find that inspiration arrives from the most unlikely sources. while there is a lot of good advice shared on message boards of this nature, there is a lot missing as well. read between the lines and discover the things that are not mentioned and you'll be well on your way.

best of luck,

gabby
"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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"and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
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post #20 of 26
Dear Iamtheguy22,
There is nothing wrong in wanting greatness and we are not all downers. We take our jobs very seriously, at least I do and the people I have worked with. We almost take it personal when we see some guy on a T.V.. who we know has next to no real experience in our profession, inform the at "home cookers" that our job is easy and they can do it too when we have worked years and years to perfect and perform what we do.
Demand greatness from yourself because you will crash and burn if you don't. Go into this industry with all the passion you can muster and make it your life long dream to become the greatest chef ever. Read everything you can get your hands on, try every kind of food that is available. Go into their kitchens and ask them how they made that. Research everything, question everything (not to your chef) and take each day as a new learning experience.
Cooks are some of the most interesting people in the world. Those of us that are here for passion, and there are many, are not just passionate about food, but passionate about culture, the arts, history, science ect. We can't just contain that passion in one thing.
If this is what you truly want, then go do it. It is a tough a long road and yes, sometime we even do drugs:p My suggestion though, is to not follow Anthony Bordaine's model of living in this industry. It might burn you out.
Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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Whenever we cook we become practical chemists, drawing on the accumulated knowledge of generations, and transforming what the Earth offers us into more concentrated forms of pleasure and nourishment.
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post #21 of 26
Iamtheguy22, I think you are confusing our attempts at injecting some reality with griping. Sure we may gripe on here, but many of the threads you are refering to, the ones where we caution people away from this business, is not about griping, but about giving them a dose of reality. Many people looking to get into this industry do so because of Food TV. They see all this glamour, money and hype. Truth is, if you are looking for those things, stay away from this business. It's a hard, stressful, very unglamorous life. I'm not griping. I love this life as most of here do, but I tend to steer most people away from this business because it is so rough. For every Bobby Flay out there, there are thousands of chefs working in this industry for 70-80 hours a week with very little recognition and even less glamour. This business tears people to shreds and spits them out. Mostly it is the kind of people who are hooked on FNTV and buy into the hype that this is a glamorous job. On top of that this business demands numerous sacrifices, namely missing out on weekends, holidays, etc. Yet I still love this job. For me it is the greatest job in the world, but I am realistic about it. And I think that people considering this as a career should have a full understanding of what this job is and is not. I am not griping about my job (as I said I love this job), but I am giving people the real facts about working in this industry.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #22 of 26

Kitchen Confidential...bad news

From the perspective of a hard working, female chef, Mr. Bourdain's book is not about professional cooking...it's about the negative impact of his dark life. It's an unnerving sign of the times that people admire a man who likely damaged many peoples’ lives and kitchens, literally and figuratively...and reports it with a strange sense of pride and insincere remorse, and never shows compassion for others. That’s entertainment.

He probably never dreamed the book or he would become so famous. What is terrible is his treatment of women, and his stories of the worst-case-scenarios in a pro kitchen. He never worked as a great chef in a great kitchen (he may have passed through to cop some coke). Yet, he’s somehow become the spokesperson for the world of pro cooking.

So, the book, if humorous to many, is equally disheartening to many...and definitely insulting to women...pro cooks or not. It brings back terrible memories of having to deal with people like him when we are just trying to do our job...cook that is! This is true from men and women...trying to work around a manaic like Bourdain in their kitchen.

Now this guy is a culinary icon. People respect him...for doing what? Getting away with sexual harassment? Shooting up in the storage room? Never being able to hold a steady job? Supposedly recovering from addition? People do that every day. Yes, pro chefs are burdened with stress, and many in the profession are addicted to drugs or alcohol. But there are equally as many chefs that are professional, dedicated, respectful of their staff and compassionate...these chefs should be the ones we praise. It seems that doing a great job is not admirable, since it’s not entertaining.

Bourdain would have been 86'd from most other careers for his behavior on the job, and even arrested. Yet, for unknown reasons, this behavior is still accepted and even considered humorous. The fact that others agree that this still goes on in many pro kitchens makes it much worse...and should be a RED light for the industry.

That’s why the structure of the pro kitchen must change...to shorten working hours, improve working conditions, set and abide by harassment guidelines, and drug and alcohol abuse on the job. Pro kitchens need to move from the dark ages into the 21st century. Bourdain’s memoirs just feed a fire blowing in the opposite direction.

Nikki Rose
Nikki Rose
Founder & Director
Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries
Educational Seminars
www.cookingincrete.com
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Nikki Rose
Founder & Director
Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries
Educational Seminars
www.cookingincrete.com
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post #23 of 26
i'm going to guess that many of the posters weren't around in the 70's and 80's. Good or bad, they were some wild times....and the book is one mans recollection of them.
post #24 of 26
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, not only in the food industry. Nothing is as glamorous as it seems, and that applies to most, if not all, jobs! Some may be harder than others, but difficulties always lie ahead for any road taken.

I haven't read the book yet but clearly it isn't "one sad story", but more of a... *toink* reality check. AND its funny.

I'm just at the beginning of the road, now in Culinary school - bracing myself for what's to come next. But then again, even with the speed bumps in the future, it all ain't as bad as one might think it is - it depends on your point of view of things as well.

Now, enough of the blabber. Happy Holidays, all!
post #25 of 26
I read the book-loved it. I give copies to non-restaurant people who decide to open restaurants and tell them if this bothers you don't get in the business. As a trade we have cleaned up alot in the last few years and are becoming more respectable, but we still often play as hard as we work. We clean up well enough, but in the end we are still extreme personalities who live extreme lives.
post #26 of 26

You think that's bad?

I wanted to be a chef after watching Jack Tripper on Three's Company...hehe, no joke, only that's not really the path I took to getting here.

As far as Bourdains book goes, I loved it, because as dark and negative as it was, it was honest. My chef gave me the book in 1999 and told me the "Sous Chef" reminded me of him, for anyone who remembers that chapter, that was a huge complement. So yeah, there were some pretty crappy things in the book, but there were people that I knew, not specifically, but from a character standpoint, and I appreciated knowing that the malcontents I worked for and with weren't only in my kitchen.

C-

P.S. Well said ogreplate.
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