When chef James Mark of Providence's North told his parents he wanted to be a chef, his father was dismayed: having grown up in the restaurant industry, he wanted a different life for his son. He bought him a copy of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential to try to dissuade him (spoiler alert: it backfired). But it also taught his son a serious lesson.
"I’m half Chinese and half Polish and Irish. My family owned four restaurants in Chinatown in New York when I was growing up, and we’d go there on the weekends to get dim sum. But I didn't really get it; I was very picky about how I ate. I was ten years old. I wanted hamburgers! They would sit me down and give me a fork and plate of sticky rice, which they knew I liked.
When I turned twelve, I expressed interest in going into the food business. My dad hated restaurants because he was forced to work in one as a kid, and he wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. To scare me away from that lifestyle, he gave me a copy of Kitchen Confidential, and I read it and absolutely fell in love with it - the opposite of what my dad wanted.