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The Crack Magazine

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Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

At the turn of the century, the not-yet-celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain wrote what would become one of the defining memoirs about cooking and kitchen life. Combining a cheeky sense of humour with lip-smacking food writing, the book became ground zero for Bourdain’s broadcasting career as a beloved food and travel TV host. Hard as I tried, it felt impossible not to read Kitchen Confidential through the lens of Bourdain’s tragic death in 2018, to ache for this food-forward memoir to give me something, anything about the man’s interior or personal life. He gets close to delivering this when he talks about his friends and colleagues, or describes his first experience having an oyster on a family holiday to France. But by the chapter where Bourdain explores Tokyo and falls in love with new cuisines, it’s clear that writing Kitchen Confidential was a segue to the journalism he would become most famous for, which itself made it an interesting read. MG