It’s interesting to read Bourdain now, and to watch No Reservations. He gets a lot of flak these days for being a “sell-out”, and this books spends a bit more time than it should trying to apologize for the fact that Bourdain is genuinely happy these days. When he wrote Kitchen Confidential about ten years ago, while he’d kicked cocaine, heroin and crack he didn’t know how to function and was angry at the world. He’d reached a point in his culinary career where the only direction was really down. With the success of Kitchen Confidential, his subsequent book deal that led to A Cook’s Tour and then the No Reservations. And with a new family, and the chance to travel and enjoy food, he has trouble channeling his pre-success self, and who can blame him?
As a result, recent books tend to be a bit more food/travel porn with apologies to those he feels he’s been a jackass to than angry memoir. And I’m rather okay with that. How can you be disappointed by lucky success—especially when he pairs it with acknowledging he knows how lucky he’s been.