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How Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential Began

When Anthony Bourdain returned to New York from Japan, the story goes that he already had a contract to write a restaurant-themed non-fiction book. And he had already found a title for it: “Kitchen Confidential” (by The Kitchn).

During this time, he had already written a gripping and revealing expose of life behind the scenes of New York’s restaurant world that would eventually find its way into the pages of The New Yorker (“Don’t Eat Before Reading This”). The now-famous opening lines of the essay read: “Good food, good nutrition, is about blood and organs, about cruelty and decay. It’s about fat from sodium-laden pork, stinky triple cream cheeses, tender thymus and distended livers of young animals.

When Bourdain killed himself in 2018, The New York Times recommended reading (or re-reading) “the best of Anthony Bourdain,” including the New Yorker essay and “Kitchen Confidential,” the book that changed Bourdain’s life and changed the way many of us look at restaurants and life behind the kitchen door.

“Bourdain clearly works with all six burners on, and the result keeps the reader excited,” USA Today enthused in a review.

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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson