"I was constantly in debt," he said. "I published a few books before Kitchen Confidential, but they were not financial successes... When Kitchen Confidential was published, I hadn’t filed taxes in about 10 years. I was seriously behind on rent. It had been about a decade since I’d communicated with American Express in a timely manner."
After Kitchen Confidential, he finally decided to be more careful with his finances and get his shit together:
"I think living like that made me very cautious. I held onto my job after Kitchen Confidential came out; I was hesitant about whether I should leave the kitchen, and I waited as long as I could. I was old enough to realize I’d been handed this incredible, lucky break and I was very unlikely to get another one. There was this weird moment where I noticed that everyone in the dining room were journalists waiting to talk to me, and I realized I’d become the sort of chef I used to despise, constantly having to leave the kitchen to deal with journalists. I didn’t want to be that guy. So I left. Once I did that risky thing, leaving the only profession I knew to become a professional writer and TV guy, I was, and continue to be, very careful about the decisions I make every day."