“But I frequently look back at my life, searching for that fork in the road, trying to figure out where, exactly, I went bad and became and thrill-seeking, pleasure-hungry sensualist, always looking to shock, amuse, terrify, and manipulate, seeking to fill that empty spot in my soul with something new.
I like to think it was Monsieur Saint Jour’s fault. But of course, it was me all along.”
If you really know me, you know what an influence Anthony Bourdain has had on my life. I was first introduced to him via endless re-runs of No Reservations playing on crew channels on my tiny cruise ship cabin TVs. I was immediately drawn to his anti-tourist, pro-traveller attitude, his commentary and rants and his quest of always avoiding the cliche bullshit while traveling – like a pina-colada at the “original” birthplace of the pina-colada (where it’s made from canned juices in a giant cement-mixer-like machine). Whatever new place I travel to, I usually check to see if Bourdain filmed an episode of No Reservations or Parts Unknown there. Thanks to him, I had some amazing travel experiences, including a several hour hunt for the best bagel in Montreal, the best sunset hang in Rio De Janeiro, and who could forget the the Lachonera pork extravaganza in Puerto Rico. And definitely more to come…
I finally got around to reading Kitchen Confidential and now I know that this is even a greater achievement for Bourdain than accomplishing what I previously thought impossible – making CNN watchable. Finally getting to the source of his cynical yet optimistic attitude has been eye opening and comforting in a strange way. So many parallels can be drawn between to the world of cooking and the world of working musicians.
I also watched the documentary, “Roadrunner” about him last summer and that was quite sad and surprising to learn of the circumstances of his demise.
But, on the bright side, thanks to that film I found a great French artist to listen to.
Check out these two tracks by Jacques Dutronc…
“Et moi, et moi, et moi” is the one that was used in the film.
“Ill est cinq heures, Paris s’eveille” is another gem I found in the discovery process.
When a job applicant starts telling me how Pacific Rim cuisine turns him on and inspires him, I see trouble coming. Send me another Mexican dishwasher anytime. I can teach him to cook. I can’t teach character. Show up to work on time six months in a row and we’ll talk about red curry paste and lemongrass. Until then, I have four words for you: “Shut ___ ____ up”
Avoid at all costs the vile spew you see rotting in oil in screw-top jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.
RIP Anthony Bourdain