Done! I finished this book last Friday.
The beginning is sort of interesting. He talks about his experience with food as a kid, his epiphany (losing his food “virginity” in France to an oyster,) his out of control period at college and C.I.A. (not the spy factory, the Culinary Institute of America).
I liked best the parts where he speaks about his motivations, why he adores food and why he continues with this awful business…
Because apparently, cooks are a dysfunctional lot, drug-addicted, unable to hold a “normal” job, people from the fringes of the society. Actually, Bourdain is one of these people himself.
He supports this statement by numerous stories of his drug, crime and sex-infused culinary career. As for artistry in cooking, there is none.
Cooking is all about mindless, unvarying repetition. Only a few executive chefs in high-end restaurants have a luxury of being creative with the food they make.
And all that was the very fun part.
The book is kind of boring in the middle when he starts dropping names and places and tries to be instructive to the reader about why one kitchen/chef/restaurant is better than another.
I think you either love or hate Anthony Bourdain. He’s a pain in the ass, but he knows it and is unapologetic about it, which is refreshing. He also gives credit where credit is due and freely admits when he screw up.
What I enjoy most of this book was the colourful vocabulary and creative obnoxiousness.
Kind of entertaining overall, but far from addictive.