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Anthony Bourdain

post #1 of 53
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Anthony Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential is a great book and doesn't candy coat anything, tells it how it really is. I recommend this book to anyone and always do when someone asks me what a good culinary book is. I hate it when someone candy coats something that really shouldn't be and he doesn't dso that at all. Anthony i think that you did a job well done on the book and you went through a lot to get where you are now. Thank you for sharing your experiences with everyone. I wish you could come to my school and speak because my fellow students and I liek it when someone keeps it real. They would love to hear your stories and everything. Once again thnaks for the great book and can't wait till I can read the next one andsee the movie.
post #2 of 53
Chefdee, get a hold of his new book, definitely! So good I went to work on not much sleep for a couple of days because I stayed up too late reading. Hopefully, he will go on another tour, once again "shamelessly flogging" the book. If so, he'd better come to the Twin Cities! I do kind of have a bone to pick with him, though, about a comment he made about my home state, Wisconsin! He almost always says good things about sous chefs and his job description for "executive chef" gave me ammo to pick on my chef, so it's really not that big a deal. I would like to show him what is really getting midwestern kids fat, though, and I believe he'd enjoy the education as it involves various pork and beef products to his apparent liking. :D
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #3 of 53
Greg, off topic, but I totally agree on the number of heavy young people in the Twin Cities. Born and raised in Mpls., but now living in DC. I was just home in November, and was distressed by the number of teens that I saw that were so heavy....of course I ate my share of cheese curds when I was home:D I seem to notice more of this in the midwest than I am seeing here in VA.
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Try not to let your mind wander..
It's much too small to be outside on it's own.........
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post #4 of 53
Yes, it's definitely a problem here and in the surrounding area. Where I disagree with Chef Bourdain is the cause of it. I believe he attributed it to twinkies, ho-ho's and processed cheese, the latter of which is nearly tantamount to a criminal statement to me. I was born and raised in Wisconsin; American cheese has one use, in my mind-grilled cheese sandwiches. Also, while diet is certainly a big part of the problem, there's more to it than just that. Long, sedentary winters spent in front of a Sony playstation instead of exercising, for example.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #5 of 53

"Kitchen Confidential" in Greek!!

Today to my great surprize I saw on the bookselves of the biggest bookstore of Athens "Kitchen Confidential" translated in Greek!!!
I have to assure you that rarely books of this kind are translated into my language . Let's see if Greeks are going to read this book.

The translation of the title is exact but it doesn't sound so impressive in Greek as it does in English.
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #6 of 53

Slim And Trim

While I was growing up in the 60's we played baseball and ditch 'em all summer long. We even surfed...waves, real waves. Nowadays kids today do nothing but surf the net and their interactive skills are poor. Another thirsty two ouncer, please!

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #7 of 53

...the number of heavy young people in the Twin Cities.

I'm sorry to report but the Twin Cities area is not the only place with a weight problem :(.

I live in the 4 Corners region and obesity here is nearly a way of life. There is a large Indian population here and their predisposition to hang onto poundage seems to be genetic. Like other cultures who have forgone manual labor for a more sedentary life, I'm afraid they're paying a high health price.

Do you know it's nearly impossible to find an exercise class here? I love food and enjoy both its preparation and consumption but I know I have to expend those calories. I'm exercising alone now to a tape but I would have loved to do an exercise class. Not enough people here are interested in not looking how they look.

I guess another aspect of this phenomenon in certain areas is weather. Obesity seems rampant in places with tough, cold winters. I guess in Florida, all that bathing-suit-weather is conducive to watching your weight.
Food is sex for the stomach.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #8 of 53

Time to move...

Great topic for discussion!! Let's move this part of the discussion to the Nutrition forum.

Back to Bourdain, now. Athenaeus, if and when possible, can you read the translation? It would be interesting to hear how that book comes across in Greek. Also, congratulations to Anthony! It's a great compliment to any writer when their works are available translated. Much deserved, I'd say.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #9 of 53
I was having in mind that Greg! :)
I hope many Greeks read this book because here in Athens we have a lot of fashion victims that they think that they know everything about kitchen and chefs...
I will post my comments about the translation just for the records of the Forum !

:)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #10 of 53

OBESITY, DIABETES AND THE PIMAN INDIANS

Chiffonade:

It's the Piman Indians in that region that have, unfortunately, the highest per capita incidence of obesity and diabetes in the world. It probably would have been best for supermarkets not to move into the region and let the tribe continue their hunter/gatherer existence - an existence which allows for much sparser eating habits.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #11 of 53

Re: OBESITY, DIABETES AND THE PIMAN INDIANS

We have Utes here and Navajos. The Navajos seem to be the heavier of the two tribes but I know some Utes that have the box-shaped bodies which pack on weight in the midsection - the worst place to store fat. (All you "pears" out there, thank God you're bottomheavy.)

What I've observed is that they did not curb their eating habits to accommodate their more sedentary lifestyle. They enjoy mutton which has an enormous amount of fat and they have a penchant for fried foods that rivals no one. They seem to offer no resistance to bad foods, assuming that because they've "always eaten them" that they're OK now.
Food is sex for the stomach.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #12 of 53

What was this thread all about????

Seems to me this thread has gotten WAY off-topic. If you MUST discuss the eating habits/body type/poverty of those particluar indigenous peoples, at least first read the research done by Dr. Leslie Olmstead of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She has done several scientific studies of that segment of the American population.

Now, how about getting back to Chef Tony? I was having a post-work glass of wine at the bar at Les Halles tonight, and overheard him telling the "killing the Mexican turkey" story just as he did in the new book. It was no more engaging live than on paper. I have issues with all of his books that I've read (missed Bone in the Throat and Typhoid Mary), having to do with his attitude(s) and writing ability, and the books' editing or lack thereof. While I think he gets closer than many to the reality of the professional kitchen, his reality only partly overlaps with mine or that of anyone else I know. I admire him for getting noticed and being given the chance to say what he says. But just as any TV chef is not a fair depiction of what it's really like to be a chef, neither are his depictions the ultimate in genuineness. Entertaining, yes; to be swallowed whole, no.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #13 of 53
Yes, this has definitely gotten off-track. Could everyone please continue discussion of the obesity topic in the thread I started in the Nutrition forum a few days ago, if you would. :)

Thanks for the post, Suzanne. It's always refreshing to hear from those professionals that don't enjoy his work. My own career has shared some parallels with his, so I tend to identify with his version of our life and job more. But, even never having met the man or worked in NYC, I could see where someone could have an issue with his attitude(s).
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #14 of 53

The Greek translation

An article in todays newspaper about " Kitchen Confidential" reminded me that I promised to tell you about the Greek translation.

The translation in Greek was very good and from what I found out, the book sold really well.

BUT. If I were Anthony Bourdain I would write a second book with the title :

" What stupid Journalists wrote about my book"...
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #15 of 53
To a very small extent, that's what A Cook's Tour -- In Search of the Perfect Meal is about (the book about making the TV show, which hasn't even started running yet).

As with his others, I had problems with this one as well -- but in this case the problems may be due more to the publisher, who IMO rushed the book to market in order to hit the Xmas selling period, and generate interest in the show. Just some sloppy editing, and repetitive chapters instead of covering new ground. After all, it's only his business if he couldn't do his job because he was too drugged-out -- well, at least he was aware of it, and wasn't holding a knife at the time. BTW, friends of mine who recently spent time in Vietnam confirm the glories of the food and the people there.

And in response to Greg: I do "enjoy" his books. They're quite entertaining, as they are meant to be. And there are many true bits in them. I just don't want readers to think they are a totally accurate picture of the whole industry. That would be as false a conclusion as thinking that Emeril's cooking shows depict the real life of a working chef.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #16 of 53
Suzanne, sorry I mis-understood you. He does at least say as much himself about his life being an accurate (or in-accurate) picture of the industry in the chapter on Scott Bryan. I definitely agree with you on A Cook's Tour . Entertaining and informative, but with a funky flow to it.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #17 of 53
This book doesn't candy coat anything indeed.

I hope that I am wrong, but I think that this book, in the long term, will harm the business a lot and above all it will harm its author badly.
I think that it was not very smart from the part of the culinary world to embrace this book, but this is of course my opinion and I repeat : I wish I am wrong.

I am sorry that many professionals recognised themselves in this book.I wish things were different.

I have a bitter taste in my mouth though, because none will ever write a book about the decent characters that has met and they actually exist in the kitchen.
About the people that ,although they work 10-12 hours under conditions you all know, they never do drugs and they never get drunk.
About the people , the men I mean, that instead of whispering you something dirty in the ear, they narrate you the last achivement of their kid.
About the people that instead of locking themselves in the WC with a couple of others that stink from sweat and alchohol( I have worked in London, I am sorry, 3 is the usually number for such a party...) to have a 5 min ( 5 min?? I think I say too much...) sex session they go jog or excercise to let the steam off...

The bright and clean ( under any perspective) side of the kitchen seems to be very confidential indeed...


:)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #18 of 53
Athenaeus: that would not have made a very interesting book.... I don't think Bourdain would have written a book that would have made him look like Martha Stewart; can't compete with the goddess of kitchen capitalism!

Anyway, here's what I have observed from my own experience: I have worked in 2 very different restaurants this year. The first kitchen was run by an older (54-50) alcoholic sous-chef. It was staffed with thirty-something cooks. They were all a tad disillusioned, moody, drunk whenever they could and were not unacquainted with drugs. Most were too ugly to get laid, but you never know. For the most part, sex in the washrooms usually involved the guests, not the staff.

In the second place where I worked, the staff is much younger: 19-24. (I feel like their mother!) The behaviour is much different. Only one is on his way to alcoholism (again the sous) and the others are shocked if one of them actually gets some action. There's the occasional joint inthe storeroom/changing room, but beyond that it's pretty clean. Only one indiscretion at the staff Christmas party, but it didn't go beyond what 12 year olds do at the school dance if you know what I mean. Go figure; I'm starting to think the younger generations are ashamed of their parents and are going back to being 'old fashioned'. It's kind of cute and refreshing. Or maybe it's just too taxing to be wild and shocking in this age of laissez-faire and liberalism...

The point being that the landscape is changing and Bourdain's kind might just be going the way of the dinosaur.
post #19 of 53
Yes Anneke, I know I know what you mean and I understand what the author wanted to show.

All I was suggesting was that you cannot satisfy your hunger by eating your flesh and you cannot satify your thirst by drinking your blood.

Just a question which is not a rhetorical one ( I really wonder about this)

Do you think that the reality described in the book exists only in the kitchens of the States?

Kitchen is a long story in France and London and Milan.
Are those kitchens perfect?
Of course not.

So why you think we didn't have so far a book of this kind discribing the French Reality?

Maybe because a Martha Stewart wouldnt make a carrer in France...
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #20 of 53
I bet such books have been written Athenaeus, but are harder to find as their authors have obviously not reached Bourdain's notoriety. Are there no memoir of great chefs out there? I'm also willing to bet that there are 'copycat' Bourdain-style books cropping up all over the world as we speak.

I suspect that hotel kitchens and European kitchens each have their own culture, very different from what Bourdain describes in his book. I would be interested in hearing from people who have worked in either...
post #21 of 53
Of course such books exist and now we come to my point.

In Europe, they consider Chefs Artists and not laborers, althought everyone knows what goes on behind close doors.

SO, the system there ,protects Chefs they same way it protects Lawyers , Doctors, etc etc etc.

In case someone publishes a book that might hurt the image of a respectable class ,like the one of Chefs, he /she is history.
We never find out a lot about this book...

That's why I say that this book will hurt in the long term the author and then the whole industry in the States...

You do not built a status as a professional with things that you DON'T DO but with things that you do.

Unless, what is suggested in KC has to do with Status. In that case I took it all wrong and I apologize.

But of course, this is just my opinion and I wish I am wrong.
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #22 of 53
I see what you're saying. I don't think most American culinary professionals mind this image though, for the same reason that war injusries and scars are displayed proudly as medals (see the 'worst kitchen injury' tread!). If you are introduced to someone as a cook or chef, you are more likely to be received with a wink and a nudge rather than a look of disgust by people who are familliar with Bourdain's work. America doesn't look upon Clint Eastwood's characters with disgust, but rather with respect. Same thing I guess with the image Bourdain portrays. It's a 'cowboy' thing is some sense.

I see what you mean though Athenaeus. My family in Europe would not have been so supportive of my career choice had they read Kitchen Confidential. They probably would have reacted with lesser disgust had I announced that I had chosen prostitution to make a living.

I suppose it really is a cultural thing.
post #23 of 53
I think very highly of the american society and the american culinary world.

That's why I am surpised with the reaction towards this book.

I mean, were you flattered with this image, regardless if the author was right? He was right, yes!!
But were you flattered??

Anneke, I received 6 copies of this book. With the exception of Melina, my sister, who gave this to me with her kind heart, I wish you could see the face and read the notes of the people that gave me the other 5 copies...

This was their bottom line " Oh ,we know now what you have been doing in your 20ies while you were trying to become a cook ( and they close the eye...) and you play the respectable now"

I don't know if it's a cultural thing but in the States they are people that they want to become chefs. I think that they seek for aknowledgement and not for a cut finger to demonstrate.
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #24 of 53
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that this is the appeal of the profession for Americans. That would be demeaning and wrong and I, like you, think very highly of America and its chefs.

I'm just saying that gangsters and cowboys have always been a part of the legend and the dream and the 'go west' appeal. Progress in America has always come with a dose of controversy and unconventionalism. Not unlike the artists of Europe; we ALL know their lifestyle was not exactly clean and rosy.

The other thing to consider is that 'libertinage' as my mother puts it is still considered shocking/titillating in America, while the same behaviour in much of Europe (and increasingly, Greece, I am told) is not talked about because it doesn't shock anybody anymore. People are more accepting of it.

Anyway, please understand that I am not condoning this behaviour; I am personally still uncomfortable with it and if I ever wound up in any of Bourdain's **** holes, I wouldn't last an hour under those conditions.

I'm also very sorry that this book may have tainted the perception that your loved ones have of you. They should know better as we on Cheftalk do! ;)
post #25 of 53
I know what you mean but you were right to straight it out because other people are reading too :)


If you ever go to London I will tel you to visit a couple of places I worked in:)

I was lucky Anneke, because in those holes they were decent people too. And this is what I keep saying!!!

Especially one ,who one night, when he saw me drinking whiskey from the bottle, like I was drinking water, he grabbed me from my hair and put my head in the toilet in front of everyone...
After of course giving me a loud lecture of what kind of pseudo-educated and coward I was.

I am gratefull to him and none will ever write a book for those kind people that help the younger ones to find their way.

As for what collegues think, I am too old to care :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #26 of 53
I understand all your points here,

I would like to something, I am a Chef, Cooking in kitchens for over 20 years know.

I am by no means a saint, and I have witnessed alot of crap in kitchens. I do however work terribly hard to put fourth a very proffessinal aura. When I put on my Chefs uniform I do with pride and respect to the industry.When I read Bourdans book in cape cod two summers ago , I found my self laughting,then almost crying at his dipiction. This is not the way all American kitchens conduct themselves.I tell you when Mr bourdan hosted that stupid TV show last year about what goes on behind doors in Americans kitchen, I wanted to create a new orifice with my fist for Mr Bourdan. There are still drugs and alcohol being abused in our buisness. But lets not forget that we are not the only industry that suffers from these problems to a certian % .

There are many chefs that pride themselves on doing what is right,and are not concerned about getting laid in the storage room
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #27 of 53
Well said!

I hope more people follow your example!
post #28 of 53
Cape Chef thank you

I needed to hear that. Although I hate uniforms, I rise from my chair when I see someone that wears it with pride.
Pride and dignity counts a lot for me.

Thank you.
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #29 of 53
Listen, I appreciate your thoughts.

But we as Chefs and Foodies need to stick our necks out and say what we feel. If we sit on our arse and just let people decide our fate, I say (Bullsh*t) to that. Now I do not swear to often, but this topic has gotten under my skin. We as a community have an obligation to be honest with one another about the (real) world of kitchens. With that said, I urge everyone to really think through what your role is in the world of food & beverage. It goes way beyond being a good cook. Stand up and be heard!!!
Challenge the negitives, Do your homework so no one can poke holes in your position. There is a way to raise the bar, But it has to be a collective effort. Don't you think?
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #30 of 53
Indeed.

I for one, with my limited experience can say that NO, Bourdain's world has not been a reality in the kitchens where I have worked.

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