Monday, December 24, 2007

Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly; Anthony Bourdain (Harper Perennial, 2007, ISBN 978-0-06-089922-6).

Kitchen Confidential was an amusing read on several fronts. I've worked as a busboy and dishwasher several times, so I saw many echoes of things I've seen. Bourdain is an entertaining author, so descriptions of relatively mundane activities were made interesting. And, in this revised edition, it was amusing to see how Bourdain has become what he despised in the original edition of the book: a celebrity chef, with his own (several) television shows. Designer aprons, next?

On a more serious note, Bourdain makes much of the camaraderie that exists in the kitchen. I have a feeling this is why the book appeals; those who do not have that feeling, or wish for that feeling in their workplace have read the book looking for "management secrets" that they can apply.

Here's my theory: Such a feeling of teamwork only exists in jobs where the people involved (soldiers, miners, farmers, kitchen workers) are working in dirty, hard, difficult, dangerous occupations. So, if you're looking to build teamwork on Wall Street, reading these books won't help. Watching Hoosiers and giving your staff a pep talk won't work. Taking them on a field trip to "build trust" by crossing rope bridges...won't work.

Here's hint: hire those who have been through such experiences. Build your team from such people who know how to bond.

Back to the book: A good read, especially given my culinary efforts of late. I wonder if Les Halles is open tomorrow. I may need a place to take a break after the second seating at home.

No comments: