Dog and I are two foodies cut from extremely different cloth, but the one thing we have in common: our love for Anthony Bourdain. And, sadly, Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in France, cause of death suicide.
Dog has always been drawn to Bourdain's "son of a bitch" down to earth Hell's Kitchen bad-boy personality, whereas my love for Bourdain began in college when I had to read his book Kitchen Confidential. Regardless of when and where we discovered him, we've enjoyed his amazing personality and writing throughout the years.
Here are some words from his friend and fellow chef David Chang:
Well, I hope that someday, buddy
We have peace in our lives
Together or apart
Alone or with our wives
And we can stop our whoring
And pull the smiles inside
And light it up forever
And never go to sleep
My best unbeaten brother
This isn't all I see - Will Oldham
I want to share an excerpt from the first chapter of Kitchen Confidential. This story was my introduction to Anthony Bourdain and what lead me down a path of immense love for the man:
Monsieur Saint-Jour, on hearing this... inquired in his thick Girondais accent if any of us would care to try an oyster.
My parents hesitated. I doubt they'd realised they might have actually to eat one of the raw, slimy things we were currently floating over. My little brother recoiled in horror.
But I, in the proudest moment of my young life, stood up smartly, grinning with defiance, and volunteered to be the first.
And in that unforgettably sweet moment, that one moment still more alive for me than so many of the other "firsts" that followed - first sex, first joint, first day in high school, first published book - I attained glory. Monsieur Saint-Jour beckoned me over to the gunwale, where he leaned over, reached down until his head nearly disappeared underwater, and emerged holding a single silt-encrusted oyster, huge and irregularly shaped, in his rough, clawlike fist. With a snubby, rust-covered oyster knife, he popped the thing open and handed it to me, everyone watching now, my little brother shrinking away from this glistening, vaguely sexual-looking object, still dripping and nearly alive.
I took it in my hand, tilted the shell back into my mouth as instructed by the by now beaming Monsieur Saint-Jour, and with one bite and a slurp wolfed it down. It tasted of seawater . . . of brine and flesh . . . and, somehow . . . of the future.
Everything was different now. Everything.
I'd not only survived - I'd enjoyed .
This, I knew, was the magic I had until now been only dimly and spitefully aware of. I was hooked. My parents' shudders, my little brother's expression of unrestrained revulsion and amazement only reinforced the sense that I had, somehow, become a man. I had had an adventure , tasted forbidden fruit, and everything that followed in my life - the food, the long and often stupid and self-destructive chase for the next thing , whether it was drugs or sex or some other new sensation - would all stem from this moment.
I'd learned something. Viscerally, instinctively, spiritually - even in some small, precursive way, sexually - and there was no turning back. The genie was out of the bottle. My life as a cook, and as a chef, had begun.
I absolutely love his writing style and since, I've come to collect most of his books in my home and watch nearly every episode of No Reservations, Parts Unknown, The Layover and Mind Of A Chef (which he voiced over) like it was a religion.
And speaking of his TV shows, this is one of my favorite episodes No Reservations. It features chefs from all over, each one breaking down basic cooking skills and teaching you how to cook the perfect _____________ (burger, fries, pasta, etc.). The highlight of the entire episode for me is when Bourdain splices in his Beef Bourguignon recipe:
I have made that recipe several times and it is one of my favorites, so I will definitely be making a huge pot of Beef Bourguignon this weekend.
Rest In Peace Anthony. You immense passion for food will be greatly missed.