The Best Of Bourdain: 10 Books Written by Beloved Chef and Travel Host

anthony bourdain books
Photo by Heathcliff O'Malley/REX/Shutterstock
Photo by Heathcliff O'Malley/REX/Shutterstock

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* Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain passed away on June 8th
* The foodie-turned-TV star was known for his unique worldview and sense of adventure
* Remember the life of one of the world’s greatest culinary personalities with these books

To think of Anthony Bourdain is to think of an individual who broke the rules. Someone who was not afraid to experiment and experience. Someone who opened the doors to different cuisines while opening our minds to different cultures. More than a chef or a travel host, Bourdain was, above it all, a storyteller. Celebrate the legacy of this beloved human by reading some of his best work.

1. Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Poignant, upbeat and incredibly funny, Bourdain’s iconic book offers an inside look at what goes on behind the plates. Sprinkled with his own unique experiences and insights, Kitchen Confidential is the result of some 30 years of Bourdain’s rock and roll lifestyle.

anthony bourdain kitchen confidential Image courtesy of Amazon


2. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (P.S.)

As a great follow-up to Kitchen Confidential and an instant New York Times bestseller, this book is a must for Bourdain fans. Described as “a bloody Valentine to the world of food and the people who cook”, this book offers a no-holds-barred look into the food industry, and, inevitably, the people who make it great.

anthony bourdain medium raw Image courtesy of Amazon


3. Appetites: A Cookbook

As his first cookbook in more than 10 years, Appetites is less an introspective novel than it is a collection of everyday recipes. In fact, Bourdain’s inspiration for the book is said to be about finding recipes that everyone–regardless of their culinary skill or background–should be able to cook. The result is a great collection of family-friendly recipes that anyone can (and should) try.

anthony bourdain appetites Image courtesy of Amazon


4. Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook

Before he wrote his breakout novel Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain was toiling away at an upscale French restaurant in New York. His Les Halles Cookbook brings those dishes to live in the most vibrant, audacious and upbeat way that only Bourdain can seem to manage. It’s a great book to have for fans of Bourdain or for foodies in general.

Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook Image courtesy of Amazon


5. A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

Aiming to answer the age-old question “What would be the perfect meal?” Bourdain’s novel takes the reader across foreign lands as the No Reservations host looks to try (and record) some the world’s best and most bizarre meals. From California to Cambodia, this book examines the world through the lens of food.

anthony bourdain a cook's tour Image courtesy of Amazon


6. No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

Sure, it’s a great companion piece to Bourdain’s Travel Channel show, but it’s also a great read in its own right. No Reservations chronicles Bourdain’s trips around the world as he records some of the world’s greatest recipes. With never-before-seen photos, new insights and Bourdain’s iconic tongue-in-cheek writing style, it makes one hell of a great coffee table book.

No Reservations Image courtesy of Amazon


7. Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts

As a collaboration between Bourdain and novelist Joel Rose, this book not only looks at the special recipes Bourdain holds close to his heart but also at the meanings behind them. It’s a veritable horror anthology that’s able to make you laugh, gasp and smile all at once. For Bourdain fans, this one’s often cited as a favorite.

ghosts anthony bourdain Image courtesy of Amazon


8. The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones

This book may sound like it’s all about the scraps, but the contents inside are anything but. Bourdain recounts some of his most epic and engrossing misadventures around the world, resulting in a great read that’s both insightful and entertaining from start to finish.

Nasty Bits Anthony Bourdain Image courtesy of Amazon


9. Get Jiro!

With the focus taking place in a dystopian Los Angeles, Bourdain teams up with novelist Joel Rose to create this stylized look at food culture and where the industry may inevitably be headed. A bit off the beaten path for Bourdain’s usual culinary writing style, this book offers a satirical view at just how insane chef culture can be.

Get Jiro Anthony Bourdain Image courtesy of Amazon


10. Bone in the Throat

A thrilling mafia caper set in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood, Bourdain’s Bone in the Throat is not only his first fiction novel, it’s his first published book. With the writing style of someone who was already supremely comfortable in their own skin, this book offers a comical look at life as a New York chef.

anthony bourdain books Image courtesy of Amazon