A (really) quick Q&A with Anthony Bourdain

Posted on April 18, 2006 by Aun


photo courtesy of Discovery

I’ll admit to being a total television junkie. I love my idiot box. And I’m a master at channel surfing. Nothing annoys S more than my ability to watch 3-4 shows simultaneously by switching back and forth between them every few minutes. Of course, some shows need to be savoured in their entirety. Good shows. Some of my recent favourites include Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Entourage and America’s Next Top Model (yeah, yeah, I have plebian tastes). I also really like Anthony Bourdain’s show. I’ve been a fan of his ever since reading “Kitchen Confidential”, a hilarious and insightful look behind the scenes of restaurant kitchens. Since reading it, I’ve stopped ordering seafood specials on Mondays and try my best to avoid salad bars. His TV show, A Cook’s Tour, was a fun and graphic journey around the world. Actually meetting the guy over crab bee hoon and beer at Sin Huat Eating House only made me like him and respect what he’s doing even more. In person, as on camera, Tony’s a no-nonsense, sarcastic, funny and laid-back foodie. His latest show, backed and produced by Discovery, is called ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS. Here in Singapore, we’re a month and a half into the first season. Over in the USA, the second season premiered just a few weeks ago.

Discovery describes the show this way:

“In ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS, this anti-celebrity chef is out of the kitchen and on the road — no holds barred and as feisty as ever. His authentic travel experiences — the good, the bad and the ugly — are presented as Bourdain weaves the globe with his authentic, peculiar, raw and unfiltered edge.

“’This is not a food show — it’s about people, cultures and places as seen through the eyes of a chef and the prism of food,’ says Bourdain. ‘Food is maybe the fastest, easiest and best way “in” to an unfamiliar place and culture. Once you’ve sat down with people and eaten their food, their whole world opens up to you in ways that wouldn’t ordinarily happen. Food, after all, is the purest expression of a country, of a culture, a region and a personality.’ Discovery’s series ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS is sure to leave viewers hungry for more.”

As part of the global marketing push to get all of you (us) to turn on your TVs and watch Tony’s show, I was asked if I wanted to conduct a short interview by phone, fax or email with the world traveler. Because I was about to jump on a plane when the offer arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago, I opted for email and shot off a couple of quick questions. His (short) replies just arrived. So, for your reading pleasure, the shortest interview with Anthony Bourdain probably ever published…

CH: Hi Tony. How will this show be different from your last one? Are there any major differences that viewers and fans will want to take note of?

AB: We’re always trying to not repeat ourselves. We’re always looking for locations and subjects that haven’t been explored on television or on other travel shows. And we’re always looking to push things. We’ll be doing a Beirut show in a few weeks. As far as any major differences? I’ll always be me—that’s for sure. Too old and too mean to change that. I’m not going to morph into Rachael Ray all of a sudden—or find religion—or start doing Happy BBQ competition shows.

CH: I read somewhere that you were going to take a year off and live in Hoi-An. Have you gotten around to that yet?

AB: I haven’t got around to living in Hoi An yet. That comes after the TV career is over.

CH: What do you hate most about being interviewed by journalists? What question that you get asked over and over again do you hate the most?

AB: Being interviewed by journalists is easy compared to the honest toil of working in professional kitchens. So I don’t mind. I know how lucky I am that anyone even CARES what I think. As far as the question I’m getting tired of? “What did that cobra heart taste like?”

CH: If you could only smoke one brand of cigarette and drink one brand of beer for the rest of your life, what would they be?

AB: Lark, which is very unpopular and increasingly hard to find. As far as beer? My favorite, the best beer in the world is Guiness—as brewed in Dublin. But its not everyday stuff—it’s a bit too heavy for breakfast. I’d be perfectly happy stuck with a lifetime supply of Heineken.

CH: What 3 albums/CDs are your favorites to cook to?

AB: The Superfly soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. Doggy Style—Snoop Dogg. Tepid Peppermint by the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

CH: Describe the contents of your suitcase.

AB: The usual clothes, a laptop, cigarettes, chargers, Immodium, appropriate footwear. No latex underwear or bondage gear—if that’s what you’re hoping for.

CH: What’s your favorite super-fast foolproof recipe that can be whipped together quickly and easily but that always impresses people?

AB: A proper omelette. Because it’s amazing how few people can make a damn omelette.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. ilikeredbean April 18, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    great interview, thanks for sharing! i’m a big fan of anthony’s! i went to les halles in nyc last month trying to see if i could “accidentally” run into him there….. no such luck!

  2. MM April 18, 2006 at 10:11 pm

    Lord, I am addicted to Discovery Channel. I think the numbers 1 & 6 are rubbed off completely from my SCV remote. Love all the cooking programmes and cannot watch NatGeo because of the years of brainwashing from those diabolical peeps. You lucky thing getting to interview Tony Bourdain. I can only think of one other that I would personally like to interview and that’s Guy Rubino. I think the man’s a bloody genius.

  3. Pamela April 19, 2006 at 12:18 am

    Love Anthony Bourdain! I have been enjoying No Reservations another classic.

    Great interview!

  4. Tokyoastrogirl April 19, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Great interview. I, too, am a huge AB fan and love the new show. Last night’s episode was in Quebec and featured every foie gras dish (burgers? hotdogs? YES)you can POSSIBLY imagine. You’ll love it;)

  5. Sara April 19, 2006 at 3:45 am

    thanks for posting! i love anthony bourdain. i don’t think we get his new show here, but i am hoping it will come soon.

  6. Vanessa April 19, 2006 at 3:49 am

    i love how chefs use omlettes as a benchmark. apparently something so simple yet never done correctly.

    nice quick interview, he’s a great character.

    i’m surprised he did foie gras to the max in quebec. shoulda checked out the poutine scene.

  7. Taco Town April 19, 2006 at 5:55 am

    wow, you got to speak with Mr. Bourdain. that’s so awesome – he’s my hero.

  8. vanessa April 19, 2006 at 7:21 am

    goodness, i was so addicted to his cook’s tour series :) and i know this question is a little out of point, but CH, do you know where to get things like pink peppercorns, dill seeds and fresh pastas like fregola and buccatini (apart from culina) in singapore?

  9. Jee April 19, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    I love Bourdain’s show, it’s amazing that you can actually communicate with him, that’s soooo coool.

  10. Rosa's Yummy Yums April 19, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    Interesting interview!

    I would also be addicted to television if I had more than five rotten channels to watch, especially if there would be cooking programs (it’s not the case)!…

  11. Frederico April 19, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    CH! Show us how to make an omlette.. please? :)

  12. Absolutely Tokyo! April 19, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    After living in Tokyo for the past 2 years, I will never again complain about American TV! I have maybe 5 channels, and everyone is either a boring talk show (in Japanese), a Korean drama (in Japanese) or a cooking show (in Japanese) where I can’t even understand what most of the ingredients are! How frustrating!

    Thanks for doing the Tony Bordain interview. He sounds like the kind of character I’d love to know!

  13. Prom April 20, 2006 at 1:22 am

    Can someone tell me how a serious foodie can also be a smoker? Smoking ruins your sense of smell and taste.

  14. tara April 20, 2006 at 10:37 am

    How funny. Just put our little man to bed, and stayed up late to watch the end of Bourdain in Paris. Thanks so much for one of the quickest, and yet more engaging, interviews with one of cooking’s favourite bad boys.

  15. Matt Armendariz April 20, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    ok, nobody’s said it yet so I wil:

    Mr. Bourdain was LUCKY to be interviewed by you, damnit!

  16. Chris April 21, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    What’s this with A. Bourdain and Singapore? The guy can’t seem to get enough of this place. Had a chat with him while waiting for the washroom at a party a couple of weeks back. He was friendly, but thankfully, he wasn’t TOO friendly. ;-)

    Great interview questions — were you a journalist in a past life, Chubby H?

  17. Gustad April 22, 2006 at 2:33 am

    bourain is awsome… i lve his no reservations show as well as the the other one he used to have…. Cook travels??? did any of you guys see the japan one.. with the baseball and octopus balls? thats was great

  18. Rose April 23, 2006 at 12:42 am

    Nice quick interview. I like your short simple questions. I watch his shows because of his no-nonsense and sarcastic attitude towards food and life. He’s refreshing compared to certain perkier food-tv types.

    I am also a dedicated channel surfer–my thumbs know the buttons on the remote so well I don’t even look.

  19. Anonymous April 23, 2006 at 3:04 am

    Neat interview! I’m glad I found your site, with all this neat info on Anthony Bourdain … great interview!

    Keith
    SoftDrinkGuide.com

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