ANTHONY BOURDAIN – THE TRUTH TELLER

Posted: June 9, 2018 in Anthony Bourdain, The New Yorker
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I really enjoyed watching Bourdain on TV, sometimes wishing I was him travelling to all those exotic places meeting all kinds of people and trying those amazing food. Anthony Bourdain’s shows were most delightful and one of the few i followed. His shows were a combination of food, travel and people. He went all over the world and brought us delightful stories about lives on the street and remote places. Bourdain exuded humanity and decency. He was the guy who had a dinner of noodles in a roadside eatery with President Obama when he went to Hanoi. It was seen all over the world. Bourdain’ s death is a loss to good television and I will miss him. He had such a good life. So sad he took his own life. RIP Anthony Bourdain!

Before becoming famous, Bourdain spent more than two decades as a professional cook. In 2000, while working as the executive chef at Les Halles, a boisterous brasserie on Park Avenue South, he published a ribald memoir, “Kitchen Confidential.” It became a best-seller, heralding a new national fascination with the grubby secrets and “Upstairs Downstairs” drama of the hospitality industry. Bourdain, having established himself as a brash truth-teller, got into public spats with more famous figures; he once laid into Alice Waters for her pious hatred of junk food, saying that she reminded him of the Khmer Rouge. People who do not watch Bourdain’s show still tend to think of him as a savagely honest loudmouthed New York chef. But over the years he has transformed himself into a well-heeled nomad who wanders the planet meeting fascinating people and eating delicious food. He freely admits that his career is, for many people, a fantasy profession. A few years ago, in the voice-over to a sun-dappled episode in Sardinia, he asked, “What do you do after your dreams come true?” Bourdain would be easy to hate, in other words, if he weren’t so easy to like. “For a long time, Tony thought he was going to have nothing,” his publisher, Dan Halpern, told me. “He can’t believe his luck. He always seems happy that he actually is Anthony Bourdain.

A nice piece by THE NEW YORKER written February 2017 is worth reading, see here

Profiles
February 13 & 20, 2017 Issue
Anthony Bourdain’s Moveable Feast
Guided by a lusty appetite for indigenous culture and cuisine, the swaggering chef has become a travelling statesman.

By Patrick Radden Keefe

Bourdain, in Hanoi. He says, “I travel around the world, eat a lot of shit, and basically do whatever the fuck I want.”
Photographs by William Mebane for The New Yorker

When the President of the United States travels outside the country, he brings his own car with him. Moments after Air Force One landed at the Hanoi airport last May, President Barack Obama ducked into an eighteen-foot, armor-plated limousine—a bomb shelter masquerading as a Cadillac—that was equipped with a secure link to the Pentagon and with emergency supplies of blood, and was known as the Beast. Hanoi’s broad avenues are crowded with honking cars, storefront venders, street peddlers, and some five million scooters and motorbikes, which rush in and out of the intersections like floodwaters. It was Obama’s first trip to Vietnam, but he encountered this pageant mostly through a five-inch pane of bulletproof glass. He might as well have watched it on TV.

Obama was scheduled to meet with President Trần Đại Quang, and with the new head of Vietnam’s national assembly. On his second night in Hanoi, however, he kept an unusual appointment: dinner with Anthony Bourdain, the peripatetic chef turned writer who hosts the Emmy-winning travel show “Parts Unknown,” on CNN. Over the past fifteen years, Bourdain has hosted increasingly sophisticated iterations of the same program. Initially, it was called “A Cook’s Tour,” and aired on the Food Network. After shifting to the Travel Channel, it was renamed “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” and it ran for nine seasons before moving to CNN, in 2013. All told, Bourdain has travelled to nearly a hundred countries and has filmed two hundred and forty-eight episodes, each a distinct exploration of the food and culture of a place. The secret ingredient of the show is the when-in-Rome avidity with which Bourdain partakes of indigenous custom and cuisine, whether he is pounding vodka before plunging into a frozen river outside St. Petersburg or spearing a fatted swine as the guest of honor at a jungle longhouse in Borneo. Like a great white shark, Bourdain tends to be photographed with his jaws wide open, on the verge of sinking his teeth into some tremulous delicacy. In Bourdain’s recollection, his original pitch for the series was, roughly, “I travel around the world, eat a lot of shit, and basically do whatever the fuck I want.” The formula has proved improbably successful.

People often ask Bourdain’s producers if they can tag along on an escapade. On a recent visit to Madagascar, he was accompanied by the film director Darren Aronofsky. (A fan of the show, Aronofsky proposed to Bourdain that they go somewhere together. “I kind of jokingly said Madagascar, just because it’s the farthest possible place,” he told me. “And Tony said, ‘How’s November?’ ”) A ride-along with Bourdain promises the sidekick an experience that, in this era of homogenized tourism, is all too rare: communion with a foreign culture so unmitigated that it feels practically intravenous. Parachuted into any far-flung corner of the planet, Bourdain ferrets out the restaurant, known only to discerning locals, where the grilled sardines or the pisco sours are divine. Often, he insinuates himself into a private home where the meal is even better. He is a lively dining companion: a lusty eater and a quicksilver conversationalist. “He’s got that incredibly beautiful style when he talks that ranges from erudite to brilliantly slangy,” his friend Nigella Lawson observed. Bourdain is a font of unvarnished opinion, but he also listens intently, and the word he uses perhaps more than any other is “interesting,” which he pronounces with four syllables and only one “t”: in-ner-ess-ting.

Before becoming famous, Bourdain spent more than two decades as a professional cook. In 2000, while working as the executive chef at Les Halles, a boisterous brasserie on Park Avenue South, he published a ribald memoir, “Kitchen Confidential.” It became a best-seller, heralding a new national fascination with the grubby secrets and “Upstairs Downstairs” drama of the hospitality industry. Bourdain, having established himself as a brash truth-teller, got into public spats with more famous figures; he once laid into Alice Waters for her pious hatred of junk food, saying that she reminded him of the Khmer Rouge. People who do not watch Bourdain’s show still tend to think of him as a savagely honest loudmouthed New York chef. But over the years he has transformed himself into a well-heeled nomad who wanders the planet meeting fascinating people and eating delicious food. He freely admits that his career is, for many people, a fantasy profession. A few years ago, in the voice-over to a sun-dappled episode in Sardinia, he asked, “What do you do after your dreams come true?” Bourdain would be easy to hate, in other words, if he weren’t so easy to like. “For a long time, Tony thought he was going to have nothing,” his publisher, Dan Halpern, told me. “He can’t believe his luck. He always seems happy that he actually is Anthony Bourdain.”
“We have no choice but to resort to war kitties—may God have mercy on our souls.”

The White House had suggested the meeting in Vietnam. Of all the countries Bourdain has explored, it is perhaps his favorite; he has been there half a dozen times. He fell for Hanoi long before he actually travelled there, when he read Graham Greene’s 1955 novel, “The Quiet American,” and the city has retained a thick atmosphere of colonial decay—dingy villas, lugubrious banyan trees, monsoon clouds, and afternoon cocktails—that Bourdain savors without apology. Several years ago, he seriously considered moving there.

Bourdain believes that the age of the fifteen-course tasting menu “is over.” He is an evangelist for street food, and Hanoi excels at open-air cooking. It can seem as if half the population were sitting around sidewalk cookfires, hunched over steaming bowls of phở. As a White House advance team planned the logistics for Obama’s visit, an advance team from Zero Point Zero, the company that produces the show, scoured the city for the perfect place to eat. They selected Bún chả Hương Liên, a narrow establishment across from a karaoke joint on a busy street in the Old Quarter. The restaurant’s specialty is bún chả: springy white noodles, smoky sausage, and charred pork belly served in a sweet and pungent broth.

At the appointed hour, Obama exited the Beast and walked into the restaurant behind a pair of Secret Service agents, who cleared a path for him, like linemen blocking for a running back. In a rear dining room on the second floor, Bourdain was waiting at a stainless-steel table, surrounded by other diners, who had been coached to ignore the cameras and Obama, and to focus on their bún chả. Like many restaurants in Vietnam, the facility was casual in the extreme: diners and servers alike swept discarded refuse onto the floor, and the tiles had acquired a grimy sheen that squeaked beneath your feet. Obama was wearing a white button-down, open at the collar, and he greeted Bourdain, took a seat on a plastic stool, and happily accepted a bottle of Vietnamese beer.

SEE THE REST HERE

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    Sad. Depression spares no one

    Like

  2. Blaise Lim says:

    He visited Sarawak once and made Sarawak Laksa world famous. RIP

    Like

  3. vallery says:

    True. He was among the best on food network. Not sure what drove him to suicide .. His shows were doing well on CNN.. Kate Spade.. another successful designer entrepreneur ended life this week.

    Like

  4. Tracy says:

    Indeed sad, he was a great storyteller. A tribute to him on CNN “Remembering Anthony Bourdain” Enjoyed all his shows, we will miss him …. RIP

    Like

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