The books that shape a career

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainWhen Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly burst onto the scene seventeen years ago, it ushered in boom times for celebrity chefdom and a golden age for food television. J. Kenji López-Alt is one of many chefs and culinary professionals who credit the book with inspiring their career choice. On Facebook, López-Alt posted a missive about how the book  launched his culinary aspirations

The chef and author of the smash cookbook The Food Lab was studying architecture when he first read the book after his father loaned him his copy. The gritty descriptions of kitchen life intrigued López-Alt, "After flying through the last macho, drug-fueled, exhillerating page," he says he told his then-girlfriend "I think I want to be a cook." She and others encouraged him to continue his pursuit of architecture, but thankfully for us, he did not heed their advice. 

This post is the beginning of a daily series for López-Alt, who will recommend books that had a major impact on his cooking career. He plans to do this for the next thirty days, which may mean more books to add to your Amazon wish list. In the comments are hints of what other books might appear in this series. Some people recalled López-Alt discussing how The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin influenced his career, so watch to see if that tome makes the list. 

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