6 Modern Chef Memoirs that Will Change the Way You See Food

6) Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain wrote a few books after his seminal novel, Kitchen Confidential, but none packed quite the same punch. Medium Raw, however, is a true sequel to the story of embittered fry slinger turned snarky world traveller whom we know today, all the while sharing the things which makes real food great and the food world kind of terrible.

5) Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang

The sitcom had nothing on the memoir it was based on and while Eddie Huang spends the majority of his memoir laying down the law on the immigrant perspective in America, the book is beautifully interspersed with very poignant food memories by Huang and the last act of the book details his delicious rise to bao fame.

4) Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay certainly is the rage machine of reality TV, but one can really start to appreciate his manic fury to achieve culinary perfection when you get to know his background and his journey to chefdom. Coming up under Marco Pierre White couldn’t have been a cakewalk, but Ramsay’s course from catering college to Michelin Star awardee is defined by his huge ambition and enormous palette.

3) Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

There are exactly three female Top Chef winners. Even though the image of women in the kitchen is engrained in our consciousness, it’s men we picture as chefs. Why that is and what it takes to be a lady in professional kitchens is told in Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir with as much irreverence as passion and her descriptions of the reality of the food business are stunning in the best and most horrific ways.

2) Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Having cooked for Obama and won Top Chef Masters when he technically had no restaurant to his name, Marcus Samuelsson’s had a remarkable journey from being born in Ethiopia, to being adopted in Sweden, and becoming a celebrity chef in America. He loves each country in a way he can only express through food and he brings Black soul to every dish, which he puts forward for people from all walks of life from his Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster.

1) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Of course, it’s unavoidable not to finish with where it all started. Anthony Bourdain’s original tell all revealed all the dirty secrets behind restaurants’ beautiful plates. Kitchen Confidential came before his fame as a foodie personality and that comes out in his complete disregard for trade secrets, warning people off from fish specials on Monday, while at the same time being completely in love with the taste of hot soba down a side alley in Tokyo. He opened people’s eyes from the image of fat chefs in tall paper hats and silly French accents and introduced them instead to the rockstar of food, chefs who were as much cooks as pirate captains in their kitchens.


If you would like to know more about Kitchen Confidential, Humble Pie, and Fresh Off the Boat, short book reviews by this author can be read using these links. 


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