This isn’t my usual sort of book but it was recommended to me so I thought I’d give it a whirl. The sub-title of the book is “adventures in the culinary underbelly” and it is a sort of autobiography into how Anthony Bourdain got into cooking.
I have to start by saying that Bourdain comes across as an arrogant prat in the book. He isn’t someone I’d want to meet. However, his obvious and genuine love of good food makes the book readable and at no point did I consider not finishing it, despite throwing the book across the room a few times!
This is a classic tale of someone finding their purpose in life quite by chance; a friend was sick of Bourdain sponging off him and others so found him a job as a dishwasher. From dishwasher to food prep and hey presto something clicked.
The early part of the book tells of the author’s fairly privileged upbringing and then his life spiralling out of control through drugs and bad career choices. It then moves on to a clean Anthony and his rise as a renowned chef.
The book doesn’t hesitate to describe the appalling things that happen in restaurant kitchens, which is a bit off-putting to someone who regularly eats out! It also helps you to understand how professional kitchens work and to understand what you should and shouldn’t order and when from a restaurant menu.
I probably won’t read any other books by Anthony Bourdain but, on the whole, I’m pleased I read this one.