ANTHONY BOURDAIN: THE REAL DEAL
Anthony Bourdain was one of a kind. I loved everything about him – the way he cooked, the way he talked, the way he laughed. But I really loved watching him eat.
Okay, he wasn’t neat and tidy. (What an understatement.) But I loved the way he loved eating…the way he sometimes wiped his mouth with his hand, the way he licked his fingers, the way he talked with his mouth full, the way he raved about his own cooking. Somehow, he made whatever he was eating seem all the more delicious – just by the way he talked about it and ate it…
But I loved his descriptions of the food he was cooking, too. Somehow, I always came away from “Parts Unknown” hungry.
Anthony Bourdain was a wonderfully curious guy. He was “learning” all the time. He learned from his travels, of course, but he also learned from every person he interviewed. Actually, he didn’t exactly “interview” people; he simply “got to know” them. He was warm and genuinely curious about what they cared about – in their own particular part of the world – and in their own particular tastes for exotic – and sometimes, just plain good…food.
The writer, Rob Sheffield, had a more “colorful” take on Bourdain… “He was the Johnny Thunders of food, a hard-ass hedonist chatterbox who didn’t mind his table manners. The world was shocked by the terrible news of his death, because he seemed invincible… he had a lust for life. Bourdain wasn’t just another celebrity chef – he was an adventurer, a punk rocker who used to scam his way into CBGB shows by cooking meals for the bands.
On his revolutionary travel shows No Reservations and Parts Unknown, he brought that same streetwise flair to his quest to cross the globe in search of weird food and drink and shady companions. He was the Johnny Thunders of food, a hard-ass New York hedonist chatterbox who did not mind his table manners. As he proudly told Mens Journal‘s Sean Woods in 2014, “I have a tattoo on my arm that says, in ancient Greek, ‘I am certain of nothing.’ I think that’s a good operating principle.”
Maybe. But I was certain of one thing: “What a terrific guy,” I always said about Bourdain at the end of each segment. “I’d like to meet him in person and put my arms around him.”
But I never got the chance.
“I’m putting my arms around you now, Anthony! I hope you can feel it. I can smell the wonderful aroma of the spectacular food you’re cooking… and I can see your warm, genuine, slightly mischievous smile.
Whatever ‘part unknown’ you’re in now, I hope you’ll be sharing your recipes…
God speed, my friend.”