Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs by Irvine Welsh
Reviewed by Anna Godbersen
"The title of Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh's The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs is also the title of a book-within-a-book by Alan De Fretais, celebrity chef, a sleazy food pornographer given to grand pronouncements on his trade. ('If the Master Chef is anything, then he is, and must always be, a complete and utter sensualist.') Welsh's two protagonists here, both Edinburgh restaurant inspectors, hardly share his philosophy: They are Danny Skinner, whose 'breakfasts seemed designed for hangovers rather than seduction,' and Brian Kibby, a virgin. Besides their opinion of De Fretais' kitchen (it's dirty), these two have almost nothing in common; tough-drinking, authority-hating Danny takes an instant dislike to his dopey co-worker. (Brian's passions include the 'Hyp Hykers' walking club, among other atrocities.) Danny is wrestling with the drink and questing for the identity of a father he never knew (he suspects De Fretais was on the scene), but it is his wild, sadistic hatred of mild Brian Kibby that drives the plot. There is some good foodie satire here, as well as many a vintage-Welsh mouthful of Scottish dialect ('Doesnae matter whether it is or it isnae, it's what ye dae, eh'), and plenty of virtuoso descriptions of excessive alcohol consumption. But The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs transcends its components; it is an utterly weird, exuberantly messy, and thoroughly entertaining book." Read more Esquire reviews.