Our evening with Anthony Bourdain


Bourdain on stage

After months of waiting we finally got to attend “Kitchen Confidential” and listen to Anthony Bourdain, one of my favourite chefs of all time talk about his life in the kitchens of New York and of traveling the world sampling some of the best and worst food it’s many cultures have to offer.

I truly enjoyed myself and have reaffirmed that yes, I really like this guy, he’s very articulate and his retelling of the many experiences he’s had flows and has a rhythm that keeps the audience entertained the entire time he’s on stage. Nancy, who only knows of Bourdain from having watched some of his “No Reservations” episodes on the Travel Channel and listening to me happily extol his virtues (or lack thereof) seemed to also very much enjoy the evening and laughed often as the charismatic chef took pokes at the many less than talented “Celebrity Chefs” that are now part of our daily TV consumption in North America.

I gotta say that having seen and heard Tony in person I am even more convinced that this guy’s got to hold the honour of having the best job in the freak’n world. Who wouldn’t love to get paid to visit any country on the planet they wanted with a video crew in tow and eat the best regional food there is to be had?  Oh, oh, pick me… pick me!!!! I’d happily give up any body part or vital organ required in order to switch my life for his (do not…I repeat, do not tell Nancy I said that!).  Now having said this I know that all the travel must be tiring and Tony has made statements to that effect, not to mention the having been robbed at gunpoint 3 times, once by a guy in Cambodia who held a “safety off, fully loaded AK-47” to his head and at knife-point twice. I will also ask what human being having watched the infamous episode of No Reservations where in Bourdain’s own words his beliefs and rules he lives by “came back to bite me in the ass” would not feel for the guy. I am of course referring to him filming in Namibia and being guest of honour at a meal of warthog with bushmen of the Kalahari in which Tony was given the “best part of the animal” by the local chief. He felt he had no choice when offered the food but to eat the “barely cleaned, unwashed, last foot long segment of lightly charred poop-shoot” saying there was dirt, hair and crap in everything he ate that day and ending up with what he called a fairly nasty lower GI infection. He sums this experience up by stating that this was “the worst, most difficult, even horrifying meal of my life” and having watched it I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. I’ll state right now for all to read that I personally do not have the cubes to eat some of the things Tony Bourdain has eaten with apparent ease. A very few of the noteworthy menu items that he’s sampled during his travels are: Brain, the eyeball of a seal, the still beating heart & blood of a cobra, and the as yet unidentified animal referred to by locals as “Squeasel”.

Given his past full of bad behaviour and drug addiction Bourdain is possibly the last guy you’d expect to become a famous world traveler, popular author of both fiction and non-fiction as well as a respected chef who is sought after to speak before audiences the world over. He is without a doubt a very intelligent person and having had the ability to overcome the things he has it can certainly be said that he deserves it at least as much as anyone else. I for one have moved from liking his show to enjoying his books and now have to admit that of all the people I’ve met who have attained celebrity status(and there have been many) I respect this guy more than most and think he is perhaps the most real one in the bunch.

If you like the darker side of humour, love to travel and/or eat I very much recommend watching No Reservations and even picking up one of Bourdain’s books which are extremely entertaining. I can say without hesitation that the next chance I have to attend another event where this guy is speaking I’m going to jump at the chance, and at that time I will fork out for the private meeting that I couldn’t convince my better half was worth the expense on this occasion.  I wish I’d had the guts to approach the microphone during the question period and ask to be allowed in anyway like one guy did, to which Bourdain responded “I’ll hook you up, wait after the show” Damn, I knew he was cool enough to say yes.

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