What Anthony Bourdain Wished People Understood About Kitchen Confidential

Renowned celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was a man who could juggle a plethora of roles, seemingly with ease: he was a gifted TV presenter, a celebrity chef, an author, and more. He inspired many fans with his work, including his 2000 book, "Kitchen Confidential," a rare glimpse into the culinary industry through Bourdain's eyes. The book was an eye-opener for many fans. A Reddit user described their attachment to the book and wrote, "I read it when it first came out. I was working as the sous chef at a high end restaurant and his book just blew me away because it was the first one I'd ever read that actually captured what it is like to work in a top level kitchen."

They added that the book was worth appreciating thanks to the fact that it didn't offer a rosy, unrealistic picture of the profession, and shed light on the harsh realities that tend to accompany a career in the restaurant industry, a job that is often "romanticized." What did Bourdain himself think about the reactions to his book? As with nearly everything else, he had strong opinions. 

He thought that some people misunderstood his writing

Bourdain didn't pull any punches when he spoke about "Kitchen Confidential" years after it was published. According to a 2014 interview with Smithsonian Magazine, he believed that some readers missed the point of the book and got carried away by its content. He said, "A lot of people think it's OK to get f***ed up and work. 'Kitchen Confidential' was not a story about a particularly good or commendable career. It was my life; I wrote it in a way that made it sound like a lot of fun, but obviously it wasn't." He added, "It validates a lot of bad behavior."

Bourdain also admitted that the book did provide some kind of validation to those cooks who were hustling in the industry and weren't going to end up becoming famous. He was hopeful about seeing the cooks acquiring a renewed sense of self-worth. He observed, "There's a pirate camaraderie that I think was always there, but now maybe I helped put a name to."