Lost But Not Forgotten: Kitchen Confidential

We’ve pretty much crossed the point where our favorite shows will be sent prematurely to the grave – RIP Pushing Daisies. Not that the networks would be opposed to cancelling even more programs – watch your back Sarah Connor. But how about the shows that are already long gone? The ones that burned bright and died before they ever saw their full potential. There’s the usual suspects like Arrested Development or Firefly. This time I’m bringing up a show I’ve watched to completion at least twice on Hulu. Kitchen Confidential, Arrested Development’s companion in cancellation ended far too soon. As the unaired episodes prove time and time again.

Kitchen Confidential premiered on Fox in September of 2005 for 3 measly episodes before being preempted by the MLB Playoffs. The hiccup in Fox’s normal TV schedule is already a huge blow to popular shows like House. But for the fledgling new show, based on the part memoir and part food industry commentary of Anthony Bourdain’s superb tale of the culinary underbelly, it was the kiss of death.

When the show returned no one was there to watch. Which is a big shame on you to the viewers. But what can I expect when it was paired with the equally ignored Arrested Development on Monday nights? After announcing only 13 episodes would be produced Fox turned around and yanked the rug out from underneath Jack Bourdain’s (Bradley Cooper) feet for good at episode 4. None of the episodes after Michael Vartan’s (Alias) appearance as a French chef aired on Fox. And while I loved those four episodes it wasn’t quite enough to invest in the 13-episode complete series DVD.

Then Hulu arrived and gave me the chance to verify if what I thought a few years ago was true. Turns out that not only was Kitchen Confidential a good show, but it had some moments of brilliance. I had at one time thought that perhaps the general public wanted to turn a blind eye to the goings on in their favorite restaurants, especially the high priced fancy ones. After all, no one wants to hear that the chefs are stabbing each other with forks while on the job.

The thing is, the show never really delved into the real depravity Anthony Bourdain discusses in his book. Sure there’s the questionable attaining of food from shifty guys in an alley, and lots of hookups and sex. But this stuff is pretty common knowledge. Then again with only 13 episodes produced there wasn’t time to get into why you shouldn’t order the fish special on a Monday, although I’m sure it would have been hilarious to watch Teddy (John Cho) struggle with serving substandard fish. I’m willing to bet Teddy never shows up to work on Mondays.

You should definitely make time to watch the complete Freaks and Geeks series. I don’t dispute that fact, as I own the set. But Kitchen Confidential is also worth another look, if only to kick yourself for not watching in the first place. Our editor has to live with not supporting Arrested Development when it was originally on, now it’s time for some of you to pay penance to the kitchen staff.

Watch the premiere of Kitchen Confidential below.

Steve West

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.