kitchen confidential

10 Quotes: Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain

I’m going through a little cooking spurt myself and have expressed the love for pizza to a few friends. After explaining that I wanted to go to Italy and do a dough apprenticeship @JPwhitford, knowing me well, told me to read Kitchen Confidential before I bought another one way plane ticket to Europe again.

I’m honestly glad that I read the book and think its a total must for anyone wanting to get into cooking. I know myself and I’ll rise up to the call for certain goals, but sometimes you just gotta look at yourself and know…“yeah…that life isn’t for me.” I love cooking and I love restaurants and have a ton of new found respect for chefs and I now know damn well I don’t want that life.

Here are my 10 favorite quotes from the dirty Kitchen Confidential

I’d learned something. Viscerally, instinctively, spiritually–even in some small, precursive way, sexually–and there was no turning back. The genie was out of the bottle. My life as a cook as chef had begun.

K.C. actually read very well after I had finished up Mastery, Bourdain would constantly talk about how he knew that cooking was for him. He could feel it in his bones and food would guide him in life. After that he went on a twisted mission to learn all that he could about the life. 

Let it suffice to say that by age eighteen I was thoroughly undisciplined young man, blithely flunking or fading out of college (I couldn’t be bothered to attend classes). I was angry at myself and at everyone else. Essentially, I treated the world as my ashtray. I spent most of my waking hours drinking, smoking pot, scheming and doing my bet to amuse, outrage, impress and penetrate anyone silly enough to find me entertaining. 

Everyone comes from somewhere. The guy had no direction and would have been written off by everyone. Whats your excuse?

I yelped out loud, dropped the pan, an order of osso bucco milanses hitting the floor, and as a small red blister raised itself on my palm, I foolishly–oh, so foolishly–asked the beleaguered Tyrone if he had some burn cream and maybe a Band-Aid

Anthony is going through all the standard steps of becoming great. The humiliation, the failures, the right of passage

I’d love to tell you it was tough getting in. There was a long waiting list. But I reached out to a friend of a friend who’d donated some heavy bucks to the school and owned a well-known restaurant in New York City, and about two weeks after filling out my application I was in.

Bourdain is talking about getting into the Culinary Institute of America with networking. He knows to never apply through the front door.

All the while, I filled Dimitri’s head with the idea that what we were doing here, we could do back in New York–only bigger and better

Anthony and Dimitri had been running a good little catering gig for a while and the part I love about this quote is the drive to always dream bigger. They could have done that gig for a while but Anthony was already dreaming of Hollywood. Shoot for the god damn stars if you like what you’re doing

Please believe me, here’s all you will ever need in the knife department: ONE good chef’s knife, as large as it is comfortable for you hand

Such clutch advice, don’t go after all that phony good looking crap. Get yourself a single high quality piece of equipment and cherish it like a newborn. If you were curious, he suggests a “relatively inexpensive vanadium steel Global knife.”

I’d cook. I had to make money. But I would never again be a leader of men. I would never again carry a clipboard, betray an old comrade, fire another living soul.

He had his shot at a management opportunity but quickly found out that he didn’t like it. His heart, which guided him back to the food, was telling him, “Look man, you’re here for the love of food. Stay there.”

Salary negotiations were brief. Pino asked me how much I watned. I asked for a lot more than I thought I deserved. He suggested five thousand less. That was still a number far, far higher than I had ever–or still, for that matter, have–been paid.

This reminded me of a quote I read on Quora asking what a candidate to answer a similar question, “Look in the mirror and start listing off salaries, starting with the one you would first expect and then start increasing it. $100,000.  $120,000.  $150,000.  $175,000. etc. As soon as you can’t look at yourself without smiling and laughing, that’s where you stop.” That’d be nice ha.

“Where’s that fucking confit?” I hiss at poor Angel, who’s struggling valiantly to make blini for smoked salmon, brown ravioli under the salamander, lay out pates and do five endive salads at once.“

This quote came from A Day in the Life chapter and I really wanted to put the whole chapter in here. This chapter unsold me on becoming a chef. If I’m going to put out that much energy for 15 hour days its going to be something I’m more in love with. I love food, but not that kinda food.

Hiring crew, post–Supper Club, with Steven as my under-boss, was always fun. I felt like Lee Marvin, with Steven as Ernest Borgnine, in The Dirty Dozen when they recruit a fighting unit from the dregs of the stockade. 

This made me come up with a couple different scenarios in which I would need to start a crew, a start-up, a party, grunt work over a bbq at a big picnic, mission to mars with no return back. Made me think about how the crews would be different in each scenario. Made me think about who would answer the call. Made me think about how fun that would be. 

I love heating duck confit, saucisson de canard, confit gizzards, saucisson de Toulouse, poitrine and duck fat with those wonderful tarbais beans, spooning it into an earthenware crock and sprinkling it with breadcrumbs. I love making those little mountains of chive-mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms, ris de veau, a nice, tall micro-green salad as garnish. drizzling a perfectly reduced sauce around the plate with my favorite spoon.

Had to throw an 11th in there. A quote list from this book wouldn’t be complete without one of Anthony’s endless lists of bougey food that he knows 90% of his reader base won’t understand. Is that stuff even good…who cares, it sounds good. I won’t even know it when I’m eating it but it makes me salivate reading it, his job well done.

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