Like so many cooks across the world, Bourdain’s kitchen confidential is a book I keep close to my heart, in the kind of way people hold the Bible dear.

Sitting on this two-hour train journey across Germany after a six-month stint in Dubai’s kitchens, I find myself listening to the Audible version of the book yet again – also narrated by the late man himself.

And I wonder; what is it about this book that hits home for so many of us?

In an industry as varied and vast as ours, why is it that this book crosses borders, oceans, ethnic and cultural differences, and even the vast differences in the lifestyles of cooks (I’m looking at you, part-timer private chefs) around the world, and manages to find a place in all of our hearts and connect us, so effortlessly?

For some, it’s the allure to that rock-star lifestyle that gastronomy’s Golden Age saw, and which, to an extent, still carries on to this day (albeit with more health and safety regulations) – the appeal of a job where you could tell your co-worker to eat a dick, without being called by HR the following day. Where rocking up with a black eye and smelling of whiskey was acceptable as long as you got the job done. A place where all types of quirks and looks find a home, united by a love for ‘the life’.

And for some, it’s the appeal of the camaraderie that can only develop in environments like those found in kitchens. Where people spend the vast majority of their days together in confined spaces and in high-pressure environments, resulting in situations where you are suddenly more in sync with one of your own depraved cooks, than you are with your ‘civilian’ partners.

I once heard a cook saying that, you don’t join our industry because you love to cook – any monkey can cook in the comfort of their own home. You join our industry because you love the lifestyle, – the long nights, the perpetual sleep deprivation and the role of being a full-time pervert that comes with the job description.

So I ask you to share with us, not only what initially drove you to become a cook, but what keeps you falling in-love with our industry over and over?

“Being a Chef isn’t a job. It’s a lifestyle.”- Unknown

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