Full disclosure here. I ADORE Anthony Bourdain. I want to travel around the world with him and eat all the food and drink all the wine, and rub up on his lanky, crude, crusty, 6’4 body. Yes this is true. I love Anthony Bourdain and want to make foodie babies with him (these aren’t real babies, these are the round belly created after a huge meal). My boyfriend knows this, so I can say it here :) So what I’m saying is, I figured going into this book my bias would either make me hate the book or make me love it for no good reason. In the end though, I think my enjoyment of this book was fully rational!
For those who don’t know, Anthony Bourdain is a famous chef, most known for his TV show “No Reservations” where he goes to different countries, hangs out with locals, and eats and drinks his way through. He is known for his foul language and cigaratte smoking. This book (apparently I read the “updated” version) was first published in 2000 (I think before he got really famous), and is basically divided into five “courses.” Bourdain starts off with a beautiful telling of how he first became interested in food (it involved a perfect oyster). He then gets into the real chef stuff relaying tales of his own career, as well as wacky hijinx in the various kitchens he’s worked in.
The best chapters are when he talks extensively about amazing food – easily my favorite was his first trip to Japan. The visualization and taste-ations were SO vivid I felt that I took rode a bike to the fish market to shop for 200lb tunas. Bourdain, perhaps surprisingly, is quite a good writer. I assume he did not use a ghost writer since his “voice” comes through very clearly (although there was much less cussing than I expected). He is quite amusing at points, and some of his cooking and chef adventures are truly mind-boggling. I loved his last discussion about what to do if you want to be a chef. I seriously LOVE cooking, but I do not have the chops to be a chef. Working for 12+ hours on my feet in the heat, for week long shifts, for zero bucks… no thank you! I do have tons more respect for chefs and restaurant cooks though. They work ridiculously hard, often for not much credit. I love food and I love eating out, and I think I will be more appreciative towards those who cook from now on!
I also learned that I am totally sacrilegious for using a garlic press and also for buying jars of chopped garlic. OOOPSY.
And yes, I still want to travel the world with Anthony Bourdain.