Food Buzz


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Anthony Bourdain is my hero!

Last night I was lucky enough to see Anthony Bourdain speak at UCLA's Royce Hall with my good friend, K.  I should start this blog off by saying that we had a delicious meal at Glendon Kitchen & Bar in Westwood.... we shared some yummy apps and $5 martinis!  A very cool space with attentive waitstaff and great atmosphere.

But back to Anthony.  I anticipated that this event would consist of his ranting about the various Food TV folks that he dislikes, discussions about weird "squiggly things" he's tried in different parts of the world and a plug for his new book Medium Raw.  And he did not disappoint.  He touched on all of those things but also showed a dare I say, softer side of Tony (if I may call him that).  He has a 3 year old daughter and has admitted to being somewhat of a changed man as a result of her birth.  But deep down he is still the crass, sailor-mouthed chef that we all know and love.

He gave us some of his likes (LA's ethnic "strip mall" food, In N Out Burger, Top Chef, the original Iron Chef, Mario Batali and Jonathan Gold), some of his dislikes hates: Sandra Lee (and her "dead deer eyes"), Guy Fieri (who "needs to grow up and take his sunglasses off of his head"), Hell's Kitchen ("there is no way those people are good chefs"), as well as some people that may not know where they stand: Alice Waters (with whom Anthony had a recent public squabble about her wanting shark fin soup as her last meal ), Rachael Ray (only since she sent him a fruit basket) and Bobby Flay (who he referred to as "smug" but a great chef).

Some favorite lines/moments from the evening: 

Why we watch Man vs Food: A show where the host goes to different spots to eat the largest _____ (fill in large/disgusting/fattening food here):  "We watch Man vs Food for the same reason we watch Siegfried and Roy - because this is the week he might die."

Regarding his 3 year old daughter: "The last thing I wanted to do was raise one of those obnoxious 'foodie' children" then proceeded to tell a great story about a recent trip to France when his daughter, on her own, ate a raw oyster then pointed to a lobster and said "Sebastian" (referring to the animated character from Little Mermaid), and proceeded to eat that too.

Discussing some of the chefs on the Food Channel: "I really like Giada DeLaurentiis - she makes good food.  She does have a freakishly large head."

Favorite question from an audience member (who asked users to help him come up with the best question): Audience member: "Nigella vs Giada in a knife fight... who would win?"  Anthony: (after a moment of consideration): Nigella (referring of course to Great Britain's own Nigella Lawson).

His short list of places to visit before you die: Saigon, anywhere in Vietnam, San Sebastian, Spain, Bahia, Brazil.

He gave his rules for traveling and eating well: 1) If you are lucky enough to travel, make the most of it. 2) Have an adventure (don't get your picture taken in front of the Starbucks in Taiwan), 3) Don't worry about "dirt" (try new foods, even if it is from a shack on the street) and 4) Observe local customs, do what the locals do and be polite.

He touched on his new "Softer side" and how he used to just care about how food tasted and nothing more.  He now cares about where it comes from and how it's going to affect his child. He plans his business trips around visits with his in-laws in Italy.  He buys organic at Whole Foods.  His priorities may have shifted, but he still swears and drinks and talks about his peers.  He is Anthony Bourdain and he's so cool, even Ron Jeremy was a member of the audience last night. 

My final thought from last night is a quote:  There has never been a better time to be cooking, there has never been a better time to be a chef."  I hope this is true.

Are you a fan of Anthony Bourdain or does his snarky attitude rub you the wrong way?  Any other favorite "celebrity chefs"?  Feel free to post them below!

Chow for now!  :)

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