Kitchen Confidential: The Complete Series – DVD Review

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Creators/Executive Producers:
Darren Star, Jim Rosenthal, David Hemingson

Bradley Cooper ………. Jack Bourdain
Owain Yeoman ………. Steven Daedelus
Nicholas Brendan ………. Seth Richman
John Francis Daley ………. Jim
Jaime King ………. Tanya
Bonnie Sommerville ………. Mimi
Sam Pancake ………. Cameron
Frank Alverez ………. Ramon
John Cho ………. Teddy Wong
Frank Langella ………. Pino

The Show:
I must admit – I hadn’t seen Kitchen Confidential during its initial run on television. But it doesn’t seem that many others did either – only four episodes ran in North America, and thanks to the MLB Playoffs, many people probably forgot it was ever on in the first place. So I went into this not knowing what to expect, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Kitchen Confidential is a sitcom loosely based on the life of chef Anthony Bourdain, as written in his New York Times bestseller of the same name. If you haven’t heard of him, don’t worry – he kinda likes it that way.

Since the show is based on Bourdain, it should come as no surprise that it focuses on Jack Bourdain (Bradley Cooper), a chef who had it all, lost it (due to his living like a rock star) and is trying to get back to the top. He is hired on as head chef at Nolita by its “old school” owner (Frank Langella), and hires some of the best chefs around to help make it great.

The chefs? Well…

Steven Daedelus is an old friend of Jack’s who still parties like a rock star. He acts as the sous chef and seems to have sex with many, many women. Also, he’s British. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with it.

Seth Richman is the pastry chef, who makes some of the best desserts in the city.

Teddy is the seafood chef, known for his sesame-crusted yellow fin tuna – a dish so good that he can get women to agree to a threesome with just a taste. He’s quit on Jack 17 times, but always comes back as if nothing happened. He also jokes about sleeping with Jack’s mother, which may or may not be an homage to John Cho’s role as “the MILF guy” in the American Pie movies.

Jim is “the new guy” who is a holdover from the previous staff. It’s possible that he was simply overlooked when Pino cleaned house, having only started that week. He’s from Utah, is often on the receiving end of ridicule, is attracted to Tanya and bears an eerie resemblance to Natalie Portman.

Mimi is Pino’s daughter (and a waitress), who initially has some hostility towards Jack because of his past, but eventually comes to recognize him as an excellent chef.

Tanya is the hostess, a cute but naïve girl who is eager to please and the girl the chefs enjoy flirting with. And

Most of the time, when I watch these cancelled shows, I can see why a show was cancelled. More often than not, it’s because it sucks. That’s not the case with Kitchen – it’s a genuinely funny show that has a great chemistry between the characters, and it really feels like it deserved a better fate than to be tossed around by Fox execs who I honestly think have no idea when it comes to this “network television” thing. The biggest compliments I can give this show is that I truly regret not watching the first time around, and that it’s the best cancelled rookie show I’ve seen since the trio of Karen Sisco, Keen Eddie and Playmakers.

So if you haven’t seen the show, I recommend picking it up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

OK, here are the episodes…

101 “Exile on Main Street”
102 “Aftermath”
103 “Dinner Date with Death”
104 “French Fight”
105 “You Lose, I Win”
106 “Rabbit Test”
107 “The Robbery”
108 “Teddy Takes Off”
109 “Let’s Do Brunch”
110 “Praise Be Praise”
111 “An Affair to Remember”
112 “And the Award Goes To…”

The DVD:

(Presented in Widescreen Format)
I got a barebones screening copy, and the second episode didn’t play for me. Aside from that, it looks pretty nice on my television, even when zoomed in.

The sound is nice and clear, no distortions. This isn’t something to show off your system to your buddies, but you get the feeling that you’re in the kitchen, and I think that counts for a lot.

Special Features:
Audio Commentaries – We get commentaries for the first and last episodes. Good stuff, but I wish we got a bit more

Tour of the Nolita – A look at the set

A Recipe for Comedy – A look back at the show. Essentially an EPK done in hindsight.

Ratings for Kitchen Confidential – The Complete Series
(OUT OF 10)