Monday, October 22, 2007

The Mafia Chef: Anthony Bourdain

The Mafia Chef: Anthony BourdainDubbed "the bad boy of cuisine" for his rock-star look and blunt observations about the world of restaurants, chefs and cooking and the "Mafia Chef" because of his crime and cookery novels, Anthony Bourdain is not your typical celebrity chef. A 28-year veteran of professional kitchens, Bourdain is currently the executive chef at New York’s famed bistro, Les Halles.

Bourdain entertains and educates with his exotic tales of travel and lessons learned from the kitchen trenches. He shares his passion on topics ranging from "Great Cuisines: The Common Thread" to the celebrity chef phenomenon and the culture of cooking. He also imparts his drill-sergeant approach to running a kitchen, which he shared with the Harvard Business Review Magazine, in "Management by Fire: A Conversation With Chef Anthony Bourdain." "The fantastic mix of order and chaos," he says, "demands a rigid hierarchy and a sacrosanct code of conduct, where punctuality, loyalty, teamwork and discipline are key to producing consistently good food."

His exposé of New York restaurants, Don’t Eat Before Reading This, published in The New Yorker Magazinein 1999, attracted huge attention in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. It formed the basis of his critically acclaimed 2001 book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which described in lurid detail his experiences in kitchens and became a surprise international best-seller.

In late 2000, Bourdain set out to eat his way across the globe, looking for, as he puts it, kicks, thrills, epiphanies and the "perfect meal." The book, A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines, and its companion 22-part television series chronicle his adventures and misadventures on that voyage, during which he sampled the still-beating heart of a live cobra, dined with gangsters in Russia, and returned to his roots in the tiny fishing village of La Teste, France, where he first ate an oyster as a child.

Bourdain is a contributing authority for Food Arts Magazine. His novels include The Bobby Gold Stories: A Novel, Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo. His work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Gourmet Magazine and The New York Times. He describes his recent book Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking, as "Julia Child meets Full Metal Jacket."

His latest book, The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones, is a well-seasoned hellbroth of candid, often outrageous stories from his worldwide misadventures.

Anthony Bourdain was born in New York City in 1956. After two misspent years at Vassar College, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, followed by nearly three decades of working in professional kitchens. He lives — and will always live — in New York City.

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