Working in commercial kitchens isn’t like Master Chef. It’s hot, high-pressure and the work is hard. There’s yelling, swearing and hurling of pots, and there’s no mention of anyone’s journey. Anthony Bourdain was a revelation for those of us Hospitality. An instant hero with his hard bitten, hilarious, cynical yet always truthful writing. He continues here with The Nasty Bits, a collection of short pieces from the early 2000’s.
Why Read The Nasty Bits?
People who work in Hospitality, or the service industry as the Americans call it, are different. The hours, conditions, pros and cons of the job are different from ‘normal’ work. Bourdain digs in to the reality of work in a kitchen and exposes the truth with his words.
I read Tony because of his sentences. The man has a way with a phrase that I love. He leaves me laughing on one page and wanting to travel the world on the next.
If you want to learn more about Tony’s life behind the scenes of his show then this is the way to do it. He writes on or around episodes of his TV show and of the difficulties and surprises of the work. Eating that much food is as hard as it looks. And the drinking is frightening.
In a View from the Fridge, he writes on how to behave in a restaurant. It should be compulsory reading before anyone eats out. If you haven’t worked in the industry then you might have to read it before every meal.
“We all like places where they know our names and are familiar with our likes and dislikes. And. as in any complex relationship, one can with just a few smile and nods or the occasionally muttered thank-you become special: a genuinely appreciated patron, a customer in good standing, a friend of the house. To demand special treatment is counter productive. You simply banish yourself to the ranks of the undesirable herd.”
A whole section is devoted to that long standing target of Bourdain’s wrath, the vegetarians and their ‘Hezbollah like splinter faction, the vegans.’ The raw foodists and their secret leader, Woody Harrelson also cop a few well placed blows.
Where Can I Buy It?
Click the handy link, The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones and the fine folks at Amazon will do the rest. Or keep an eye out, I found my copy for $5 in a second hand book store.