Yesterday, I logged onto a Zagat/Google hangout with Anthony Bourdain. Anthony’s first book, Kitchen Confidential, was a tribute of all of us who ever worked in a kitchen. In fact, I’d consider it the “Fifty Shades of Grey” of culinary literature.
By self-admission, he is a true celebrity chef (which means he doesn’t cook). He’s been a welcome addition to the Top Chef series and he is well known for his show “No Reservations”. His candid opinions, and not his cooking, are his trademark. In short, he’s cool, has good hair and uses phrases like “9 1/2 weeks style szechuan hot pot”. He’s one of the original hipster chefs (along with Marco Pierre-White..who also has great hair), earning the respect he gets and not assuming he has it because he uses a checkered tea towel as a napkin in his restaurant.
I was intrigued and amused by this webcast. Nine people were selected to be featured across the bottom and ask a question to break up Anthony’s banter. Some of the questions were a bit silly (but who am I to argue with a guy wearing a chef’s coat while listening to a computer broadcast) , but some of the discussion is worth sharing:
- His choice for a death row dinner would be one piece of sea urchin sushi. He wouldn’t want to make a mess when he dies.
- Deep dish pizza should be banned. Nothing beats a good margherita pizza.
- If he was at a day camp and had to choose three chefs to join him, he would choose Mario Batali, David Chang and Eric Ripert.
He respectfully paid homage to Julia Child, who would of been 100 yesterday, telling us she brought multimedia cooking to America and was a pioneer in helping people live and eat better. RIP Julia.
The Zagat/Google marriage (sounds nicer than takeover) is a smart one and this is a good example. Anthony Bourdain is a culinary god. As a guy who is adventurous in the kitchen but has no formal training, I liked one of his comments (I’m paraphrasing a bit):
“You gotta screw up to learn; burn your fingers before you understand how to apply heat to protein”.
God, I’m craving a pizza.