Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Year's Resolution

I made a New Year's Resolution to blog more regularly. I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted until I actually went on my blog to reconnect with it. Wow. I read in a magazine that when making New Year's resolutions, the way to increase your chances of success is not to start on January 1st. Clearly, I took that to heart. So here I am.

I didn't travel much at all in the fall. In fact the last post I did was from my last trip in 2007. Unlike past Christmas holidays, I didn't read very much at all - just one book, a gift from Doug - Tony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.

Tony Bourdain is completely irreverent, arrogant, fearless and I love him. For those of you who don't know him, Bourdain is a New York chef who had a popular show on the Food Network called "A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal" where he traveled to popular and exotic locales to eat anything and everything that was put in front him (including a still beating cobra's heart in a particularly harrowing episode in Vietnam). This man gets off on food. Seriously gets off on it.

Kitchen Confidential kind of put Bourdain on the map from a writing perspective. The book is a memoir of his adventures and development into a chef (dropping out of Vassar, going to the Culinary Institute of America) including summer jobs cooking in kitchens in the Hamptons and then massive leaps to executive chef's jobs in various New York city restaurants. All this while partying like a mad man. The "underbelly" of the restaurant world comes alive with Bourdain's brash and bawdy style. Excessive drug use, sexual exploits, dealing with the mafia - in some ways it sounds like a Harold Robbins novel. No matter the particular foibles of the various characters: waiters, line cooks, pastry chefs, sous chefs or even Bourdain himself, the one thing that comes shining through is the passion for the food. Pure, unadulterated, passion.

I will definitely read more of Bourdain's stuff - some may find his style a little over bearing but I quite enjoyed it and found it highly entertaining. I may even go to his restaurant the next time I'm in New York, but if it's a Monday, I won't order the fish.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Anthony Bourdain