One of my best friends and I had the opportunity to see one of our favorite tv icons, Anthony Bourdain! Why do we love Bourdain? Because he goes to all of the local hole in the walls, dives, mom and pop shops, stands, you name it, he will eat what the locals eat. It’s the type of eating that we like to do (we hate chain restaurants but once in awhile you have to give in to familiarity). He also loves Vietnam. He’s had three episodes (that I know of) that he’s filmed for his show “No Reservations.” I love the candid dialogue he shares with us. He’s the guy I want to be sitting next to as the locals show around, eating and drinking with him. He happened to be in town to promote his new book, Medium Raw.
The first hour he shared his opinion about the food network, celebrated chefs, and his show. The second hour he had a Q&A session.
Regarding the food network, he said that he likes the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. The food network is more about tv personalities that the core audience will relate to. As such, you won’t see as many skilled chefs on the food network. Most of the skilled chefs are no longer on the show (i.e. Mario Batali). Though, he also mentioned that he can’t bad mouth the food network anymore because this network now owns the travel channel and he is at their bidding!
Celebrated chefs – he said how David Chang has received a lot of praise and respect even outside of the US. When the French start talking about a chef outside of France, you know something’s up! (When I was in NYC in April, I really wanted to check out Momofuku Ssäm Bar but the timing didn’t work out). He also is good friends with Eric Ripert (another restaurant that I wanted to try but we couldn’t land a reservation!).
His show – he knows he’s very lucky to have a show like his, where he gets to travel the world, work with friends, and plan the show however way they like (my dream job!). He said he’ll do this show for as long as the food network lets him.
Q&A – I’ll try to re-word to the best of my memory some of the Q&As that happened:
Q -If you could recommend to everyone one place in the world that they could visit and only that place, where would it be?
A – San Sebastian, Spain.
To those that don’t know about this area…let’s just say it has one of the highest concentration of Michelin rated restaurants, in the world. It is where the Basque cuisine started. Practically all of the locals here LOVE food, so bad restaurants do not have a chance of surviving among the San Sebastian community. They also have pintxos, which are like, bars that serve tapas. Instead of a “pub crawl” you can do a “pintxos crawl,” where you walk along the street and window shop for places you want to try (the pintxos display some of the food they are serving in the windows!). How cool is that? I mentioned this place to <3. Since this is definitely a food lover destination and it'll involve a good sum of money spent on being gluttonous, we agreed we want to visit San Sebastian for our Honeymoon!
Q – If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
A – anywhere in Vietnam…Bahia, Brazil.
He’s had three episodes of No Reservations filmed here with one episode featuring him wanting to find a home in Vietnam and living here! One of the members in the audience asked him if he’ll eventually live in Vietnam. He said he would but his No Reservations gig is too good to pass up, so he’ll keep doing it for as long as he can…then he’ll do his stint in Vietnam.
There are so many other questions that were asked and I wish I could remember all of them to document this event, but this is what happens when you don’t blog immediately after the event! 😦
To conclude, Bourdain is a very inspiring man. In the sense that he reminds me that I’m lucky to have seen as much as I have (I’ve been to 18 countries in 8 years, some countries I’ve visited more than once). It makes me fortunate that I’ve found a job that MAKES me travel to new places (and I get to reap the benefits of points/miles for our own personal travel!). I just want to continue appreciating food and travel!!