Kitchen Confidential

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Kitchen Confidential TV Poster Image
Heartfelt, fun ensemble comedy about second chances.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Themes include second chances, doing the right thing, and loyalty. There are occasional stereotypes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack Bourdain is flawed but seeks redemption. His friends: not so much.

Violence

Arguing, occasional threats; kitchen injuries (some blood), a severed finger, hazing.

Sex

Strong innuendo; womanizing characters, women in skimpy underwear.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs; addiction is a theme.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kitchen Confidential is a fun comedy series featuring some positive themes, including the importance of second chances and self-redemption. As with most comedies there's some stereotyping, too. Addiction is a theme, and there's lots of drinking, some drugs, and smoking. There's some strong sexual innuendo and iffy language such as "bitch." Kitchen scenes occasionally feature people catching fire and losing the occasional body part (including lots of blood).

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What's the story?

Based on the book by Anthony Bourdain and produced by Darren Star, KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL is a comedy about a fallen chef who's been given a chance to redeem himself. Bradley Cooper stars as Jack Bourdain, a recovering alcoholic who's been hired to oversee the reopening of restaurant Nolita. Using some clever antics, he assembles a crew from his culinary past, including pastry chef Seth Richman (Nicholas Brendon), seafood chef Teddy Wong (John Cho), and his loyal, womanizing, thieving friend Steve Daedalus (Owain Yeoman), whom he invites to be his sous chef. They're joined by rookie Jim (John Francis Daley). Under constant pressure to produce masterful dishes and run the kitchen "by the book" to please Pino, the restaurant's owner (played by Frank Langella), Jack must also contend with the floor staff, including his boss' jealous daughter and incompetent head waitress, Mimi (Bonnie Somerville), and the restaurant's sweet-but-clueless hostess, Tanya (Jaime King). But, despite the long evenings and endless catastrophes, Jack is determined to restore his reputation as a culinary star.

Is it any good?

This spirited series combines poignant moments and lots of laughs to create a special blend of TV fun. Bradley Cooper plays the thinly disguised Anthony Bourdain with enough charm and wit to make you root for him despite his many obvious shortcomings. The banter between the likable-but-flawed ensemble cast, featuring tons of TV vets, also adds some lightness to the series.

There's some occasional weak writing and a few over-the-top moments, which are probably some of the reasons why the series was canceled after only four episodes in 2005. But despite these flaws, the universal themes of second chances and redemption give it a lot of heart. Like the main character, this series is certainly deserving of a second chance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why TV shows get canceled. Why do shows get pulled off the air, even when they're good? Do some of them ever go back on the air? How has the Internet helped (or hindered) the possibility of success for TV series both past and present?

  • Families can talk about jobs. Does working in a kitchen sound fun to you? Why, or why not?

TV details

For kids who love sitcoms

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