On Wednesday night's Top Chef, John Tesar, who's proud to brag about his most-hated status, opens up about another nickname he earned: He's Jimmy Sears in Anthony Bourdain's notorious restaurant world manifesto, Kitchen Confidential. In KC, Bourdain brags about Jimmy (see: John's) culinary prowess, saying that he is a master in the kitchen, but not so much when it came to punctuality or life management.
So, we synced up with the fine people at Ecco / HarperCollins in order to run the following excerpt from Kitchen Confidential, which was just rereleased with a new Insider's Edition, complete with handwritten notes from Tony looking back on the book that started it all. Behold, the introduction of Jimmy Sears:
I met Steven at the Supper Club. It was 1993, my return to the “bigs.” I’d been working for Bigfoot at his West Village saloon, comfortable but in career limbo. I took a few weeks off to kick back in the Caribbean, and when I returned, I found a down-on-his-luck Jimmy Sears in Bigfoot’s kitchen. Bigfoot had been eating dinner at the Gotham recently and had experienced some kind of culinary epiphany. Suddenly, he wanted a real chef, and Sears, whose restaurant in the Hamptons had just gone under, was sleeping on floors around Manhattan, dodging creditors and ex-girlfriends, and in general going through a rough patch—prime time for a Bigfoot recruiting effort. Jimmy was a brilliant cook. He’d come up with Brendan Walsh at Arizona 206, and the food he turned out in his brief time working the Bigfoot mines was so good, I’d stay after my shift was over, sit at the bar and order dinner and pay for it. Seeing what Jimmy could do in the kitchen really inspired me; I’d been slinging hash for way too long, and tasting a real demi-glace again, eating new, exciting food, seeing new presentations, made me remember what I’d enjoyed about food in the first place. I worked hard for Jimmy, and after knocking out a few thousand meals, going skiing together a few times, we’d become pals, and we determined that when Jimmy and Bigfoot’s relationship came to an end, as it inevitably would, I’d keep an eye on the talented Mr. Sears, maybe come along for the ride when he made his next move.