There are many chefs I admire and who have influenced me in pursuing a culinary career. And some have inspired me beyond the kitchen. The big two that I owe a big thank you is to Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain. I have already written somewhat of an ode to Julia, so today I continuing on day two of my week of thank you letters to Anthony Bourdain. Some girls love Robert Pattinson, some girls love Johnny Depp, but I’ll take Bourdain anytime.
Dear Tony (do you like being called that?),
I remember when we first met. You hosted some show on food network way back when it was Rachel Ray free (I think it was called “A Cook’s Tour”?) and it was love at first sight. Mainly, because this was the only show I had seen on food network where I heard I “bleep”.
But I really need to write a thank you letter for the ways you have inspired my career, my recovery, and my palette.
Being an aspiring yoga instructor, I have considered going meat free and conforming to the “yogi” stereoptype by becoming vegan or something noble of that nature. But instead of longing too feel all vegged up “cleaner,” but you Tony, make me want to feel dirty and imbibe goblets of wine and devour savory thinly sliced pork (which will make my Jewish herritage so proud).
I love that you show that recipes in the world originated from poor people trying to make bad food taste good in tough circumstances. Like when you said“Do you really think the first guy to eat a snail was a fucking gourmet?” And then you continued to say that the person was probably starving and said to himself “maybe if I put enough garlic butter on that…”.
I’m so very sorry I doubted you when your other books came out after “Kitchen Confidential”. “Kitchen Confidential” felt to me like a great first album where everything afterwards is just down hill. Boy have you proven me wrong with “Medium Raw”. I was so humbled by the rich quality of every sentence in your books. Conjuring imagery, offending multiple constituencies, and making you believe that whatever the topic of the moment may be, it really matters. Your writing talents are impressive enough to be demoralizing. Why even bother blogging? I may as well look for a new hobby. Nonetheless, I really related to your inability to control your primal knee jerk reactions or to tame your inner skeptic. And so that gives me hope… that after taking the lemons you’re given, and making lemonade like the cliche goes, people might actually drink it and like it, or dislike it, either way motivating you on to continue.
I appreciate you admitting your flaws. In many senses, I think its helped me to embrace my own. You own them, you don’t act like they aren’t there. And in many ways, I think that has actually softened your image over the years (don’t worry, I still think you are a bad-ass). And this may be a shock to you, but you helped me be a bully to my eating disorder. You inspired me in some ways to kick it’s ass a bit. Don’t worry that’s the most sappy I will get in this letter.
So thanks for being you and for grounding me a bit. Because like you said “We all wish we could play guitar. We got a lot of the drugs and alcohol that rock stars get… but you are flattering yourself if you think you are a rock star and your are a chef.”
Thanks, Tony. Its been fuckin delicious.
And here’s one of my favorite Tony clips
To make the walnut salmon you will need:
-1 salmon fillet
-2 tbs walnuts
-2 tbs dijon mustard
-about 3 tbs white wine vinegar
Has Bourdain pissed you off or helped you see the no bull light? Did some culinary genius inspire you in ways beyond cooking?