You must read Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdaine.
I've always enjoyed Bourdaine's personality on TV -- part rebel and part cook. His show, "No Reservations," takes me to exotic places that I may never be fortunate or brave enough to visit. While in other countries, he takes risks when deciding what to eat, and he admits he does get sick sometimes. But, he feels you must accept these risks in order to fully appreciate other cultures.
Anthony Bourdaine is a great story-teller. In this book, he is honest (painfully honest) about his what it's like behind the kitchen doors of our favorite restaurants. Some of the information is hard to hear, but it does make you feel like an insider. For one, he says that most restaurants re-use their bread from their bread baskets. He basically says, "Get over it." He advises to never order fish on Mondays because it's been too long since their last fish delivery (probably at the end of the past week). In addition, food served at brunches is notoriously filled with stuff which should be on its way to the garbage. He never orders mussels at a restaurant because they are so small -- checking to make sure each one is still alive is too time consuming. Don't take the chance!
After reading his book, I bought tickets to see him "perform" in a live show. He basically talked to the audience for two hours. It was fun seeing him in person, and he did a great job fielding questions and comments from people. I'm an official fan.
He even has a blog which is always fun to read. You must read his article about an encounter with Sandra Lee! It's called A Drive By Shooting.
Put Kitchen Confidential at the top of your must read list!
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