Wow, the star of one of the best…okay, the best travel shows ever created (sorry Rick Steeves) has turned another year older. What’s to say about Anthony Bourdain? For those that don’t know he is the author of a generations-appreciated book about life in the restaurant kitchen, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. He is the movement of what is real in food: “peasant” dishes which your grandmother would throw together on a Wednesday night, finding the best street food that is universally appreciated yet locally unmatched in quality and authenticity, utilization of an animal’s entire body from snout to tail, an incredibly religious fascination with the one magical being, pig.
I have only seen an approximation of one season of No Reservations and already, I feel like I’ve seen it all: I’ve seen roasted pig lechon with a visually-rectifying skin so succulent I drooled on my sweatpants; I have seen a lamb shaven, gutted, and roasted over an open flame with men dancing; I have seen bacon done so many ways I never even dreamed possible. Wait, that was the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate. Same idea.
Here in Canada, we always seem to get the quality programs a little late. The Hills, American Idol, the Bachelor, and all the other reality TV shows are always making noise on the airwaves on primetime but once in a while, an intelligent, delicious show that gets it right quietly flies in under the radar.
Anthony Bourdain has a knack for getting the best hook-ups wherever he goes, finding the local chefs that are doing it right, doing it local, and sometimes when I’m lucky, doing it bacon. Bourdain’s experience as a chef appreciates equally the hardship of creating a sashimi’d tuna belly with a delicate vinegar sauce as well as the ease and joy of eating homecooked – home butchered – pork in Romania. Bourdain so easily communicates the universal language that is food.
Whether he is snarking about his producer’s wacky ideas of getting “a nice shot walking past the pier” in France, or if he is making sweet nasty love to a a pig’s internal organs (okay, only a fantasy of mine): Happy Birthday, Anthony Bourdain.