Hello Comida Conecta!
You may have seen this name before in a past post, but the reality is that we are writing today about the chef, writer and owner of a brilliant mind, Anthony Bourdain, who passed away at age 61 due to a suicide. Okay, sad and morbid start but we came to talk about one of the chefs who inspired the creation of this blog.
Information about his life can be found out on Google or in Wikipedia, I came to write today about my experience with everything he has produced throughout his life. I met him through the series of Travel and Living (currently TLC) and the book Confidential Kitchen. Through a very characteristic, direct, acid and passionate style of food and people, he wrote a series of adventures in the kitchen involving flavors, ingredients, alcohol, sex, drugs and more. For anyone passionate about food, cooking and culture, it’s an intense and extremely interesting read. He wrote other books and co-authored a comic called Get Jiro, unfortunately I did not read while he was alive, I’m sure I’ll look for more titles.
My first series was No Reservations, which featured several seasons and places around the world, always showing a less classy side on cooking, but without fears or hassles of tasting everything, street food, high cuisine, local producers and showing always the destinations with a rare and sincere look. Many found him stuck, snobbish or aggressive. Aggressive? CERTAINLY. But intense and deep, as I believe the subject should be approached.
Then I saw The Layover. Usually less than 72 hours in a destination with a burst of gastronomic and cultural experiences. In both series he visited Brazil, and the very first time, my mother had the pleasure of seeing him on Avenida Paulista and shouting loudly “TONY I LOVE YOU”. I sincerely hope he heard her that day.
I’ve mention the series just in case anyone has not seen them yet. The truth is, I could spend hours talking about him and its programs because there is so much and a lot of GOOD stuff recorded around the world with someone who was defined by the Smithsonian Institute as the “original rock star of the culinary world”.
There is a deep respect for a man that was served by Thomas Keller with the “delicacy” of a coffee custard with an infusion of tobacco next to a foie gras mousse. (Keller always knew that Bourdain was a smoker).
Andrew Zimmermann, another chef who has my respect and admiration said “Tony was a symphony. I hope everyone could have seen all of him.” Gordon Ramsay added that he “brought the world into our homes and inspired people to explore cultures and cities through food.”
Bourdain shared a bowl of noodles in Hanoi with Barrack Obama, ate ant eggs in Puebla, bowls of Lamen in Tokyo, feijoada in Sao Paulo and did not hide that he ate horrible things like fermented shark in Iceland. He lived with a motto: “Cook Free or Die”
I myself write this after paying my tribute to a man who said he wanted to die with his mouth full of pig. My lunch today, anticipated, was a large portion of pork crackling and cold beer. He said that there should be a religion that idolized the pig and after traveling a lot around the world he coined a phrase that translates well what I feel about the subject:
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”
Unfortunately it is a very sad day, but we hope that more people will be interested in food in this way, raw, aggressive, viceral, profound, touching and full of meanings. Really Tony, food CONNECTS. Thank you for taking me to other places in the world, having known new meanings and arousing curiosity for new flavors and places.