Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kitchen Confidential Part 1

We are about halfway through our book, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.  Please compose a comment addressing the following questions.

1.  What is your favorite character in the book so far, and why?
2.  What is your favorite piece of wisdom from Chef Bourdain?
3.  What surprises you about the behind-the-scenes goings-on in restaurant kitchens, as described by Chef Bourdain?


  1. My favorite character in the book is the most influential person in Anthony Bourdain's professional life. It is the man that Bourdain calls Bigfoot. I like this character the most because he seems like the toughest person in the book so far. He isn't just a simple bully; he's smart and demands the best from all of his employees. Because of Bigfoot, Bourdain learned to make sure that he knew everything about the people that he hired when he had his own restaurant and to be prepared for anything that could possibly happen.

    My favorite piece of wisdom from Chef Bourdain is "character is far more important than skills or employment history."

    The fact that many restaurants have certain foods that aren't well kept and that people should avoid ordering there.

  2. 1. In the book, Kitchen Confidential, there were many characters that have taught Mr. Bourdain everything he knows as he is progressing his skills. One character that can be tough but also smart is Bigfoot. He is that type of person that can beat you senseless with his words and actions. Bigfoot loves to find errors or lies out of people, thats what gives him energy. Nothing made him happier than finding a fraud or a lie. He knew how to run a restaurant, he would so tough on his employees that then they would know how exact things need to be.
    2. As I read so far, my favorite piece of wisdom by Mr. Bourdain is "Skills can be taught. Character you either have or don't have".
    3. I surprised that the employees can have opportunities to sabotage peoples food and often it does happen. They can serve them something that is neither fresh nor cooked properly. Another thing is that if they really don't like that type of customer they would literally spit on your food.

  3. 1. I think my favorite character is Dmitri. I Like his obsession over how he prepares his "Garden of Eden", how he fancies himself a philosopher, and the stories he has to tell after he gets himself into comedic situations. I also found it funny how his mother would come looking for him every single day.

    2. My favorite piece of advice actually came from Chef Bourdaine's actions. When he came for auditions a the Dreadnaught, he was acting like a foolish, fake, know-it-all and he regretted being 'that guy'. I learned from his mistake not to put yourself above anyone else no matter how much experience you may have.

    3. The thing that most surprised me was the amount of drug activity in the food industry. Maybe it was the time period or something, but I never knew that the restaurant business was so involved in drug usage.

  4. 1. By far my favorite character is Bigfoot. Bigfoot always has the answers to every problem, whether you like it or not, and he always seems to know where problems will emerge. Bigfoot is a far cry from the other owners that Anthony had and would work for in that he was always prepared for the worst case scenario. Bigfoot often lied to food purveyors in order to get better deals on his supplies and although he was a ruthless leader who required a lot, he had a strange way of making all of his employees loyal beyond belief so they would continue working.
    2. “An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins.” I really enjoyed this quote because since i work at a restaurant often closely with the cooks i have seen many times how one of cooks covers up a mistake with one kind of sauce or another making it look like it was meant to happen.
    3. I hate to be redundant, but i also agree with Pablo in that what most surprised me about the industry is the amount of drugs consumed. I have worked in three different places and while alcoholism is rampant i have never seen anyone who did any serious drugs, especially not the cooks. in my opinion there is simply not enough time to be high since most situations require you to react fast and sharply.

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  6. 1. My favorite character in the book so far would have to be the chef himself because he keeps on going. The chef story is one of ups and downs so far but his anger in pursuit of greatness pushes him.

    2. My favorite piece of wisdom from the chef is that one should simply play the game of life even if broke. Just as the chef ran a place but had little to no business because he wanted to keep perfection in the food.

    3. The most shocking behind the scenes information that the book gave was simply how hard cooking simply is. When one cooks he has to put all his effort and determination into his craft. The best meals are the ones that take time and are complex, that I never knew how hard cooking could really be.

  7. 1. My favorite character so far in the book is Anthony's old partner Dmitri. He is the embodiment of the words don't judge a book by its cover. While on the outside he seems like a cocaine fulled old man smelling of fish, but this is overshadowed by his passion for his work, his unbridled expertise in cooking (specifically seafood), and the fact that he's never afraid to try something new. It is also funny how his mind is always on it's toes even when his body is not.

    2. To sum Anthony's three page wisdom up in a nutshell... PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Noticing the attitude of a waiter and the cook can be the difference between a good afternoon and "shitting like a mink, clutching my stomach and projectile vomiting."

    3. The thing that is most surprising that is in this book, is the fact that the negative aspects of restaurant kitchens are not that different from the negative aspects of Benedicts. For instance there are those good people who keep the place running, and then there are those people put objectionable material all over your personal space.