Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain 
Audiobook, non-fiction, memoir

Audiobooks have found their way back into my life after an almost two year hiatus. I used to listen to them during my daily commute when I taught at a school that was 30 minutes away. Lately, I've been listening while I work around the house. It actually makes doing chores feel a little bit more like me-time.

Anthony Bourdain is a surprisingly (to me, anyway) good writer. His love of language almost rivals his love of food. He's a good story teller, self-aware and cynical, but funny. I enjoyed learning about his early exploits and his life as chef at La Brasserie Les Halles in New York. He also provides some pro tips for home cooks and advice for restaurant goers. The "What I Know About Meat" chapter was my favourite; it made me laugh out loud.

When it comes to memoirs in the audio format, I always prefer the ones narrated by their authors and this one is no exception. No one else would be able to do Bourdain's style the proper justice. That said, there are some pitfalls to the audio format. At times, Bourdain read too fast, especially at the end of some chapters so there was barely any transition. I'd expect a story to keep going but nope, he'd moved on to something completely different. Also making the flow awkward at times, the chapters alternated, seemingly at random, between Bourdain's history and his industry advice. It felt disjointed while listening to it. I don't think that would have been an issue if I was reading it and could see how the chapters were laid out. 

Overall, this was an interesting, entertaining read but I'd recommend getting the print version rather than audio.

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