You might know Mr. Bourdain (Tony to his friends and television viewers) as the author of Kitchen Confidential or from his Travel Network show No Reservations. Some of you may know him from his increasingly frequent cameos on Top Chef or his colorfully acerbic war of words with Food Network uber-celebs Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee. If you are not yet familiar with one of the culinary world’s most polarizing figures, please drop by this Thursday June 17th for what promises to be a lively and entertaining discussion.
Anthony Bourdain rose to prominence, after years toiling as executive chef at New York City’s Les Halles, in 2000, with the publication of Kitchen Confidential, his hilarious, scary and scathing expose of the realities of kitchen life within the demanding world of professional cooking. The success of this book garnered a Food Network show called A Cook’s Tour, the literary chronicle of which became the sequel to Kitchen Confidential and is our Brown Bag Book Group Selection for June.
Part travelogue, part foodie manifesto, A Cook’s Tour is a collection of pieces written as Bourdain traveled the world “in search of the perfect meal” while Food Network cameras prowled dutifully in his wake recording every live cobra heart appetizer, shot of vodka and sarcastic reference to vegetarians. Go along for the ride as he visits fishing villages in France where he reconnects with his youth and explains how one fateful bite of an Arcachon oyster ignited his lifelong passion for food. Follow him down the “haunted” streets of Phnom Penh all the way to Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in California’s Wine Country. It’s an exhilarating, entertaining and at times surprisingly poignant journey.
Bourdain’s fast and furious literary style is heavily indebted to the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, so HST fans take note.
Triumvirate of Tony tidbits (for diehard fans and recent converts alike)
1. JMRL has just received copies of his brand new book Medium Raw! Reserve your copy now because they are circulating fast.
2. If you haven’t read his blog on the Travel Channel…What are you waiting for? It’s a typically hilarious, harrowing account of what’s on his mind, what did or didn’t go into a particular episode of No Reservations, what movies and directors influenced their decision to film an episode a certain way, etc. Recommended.
3. Did you know that Anthony Bourdain was a published author before writing Kitchen Confidential? His first book, Bone in the Throat, was published in 1995.
Hope to see you there.
(image courtesy of Time.com)