Who doesn’t? Well, you might say vegetarians hate him with relish, but I’d be going off the topic. The real deal here is the star of celebrity cooking: Anthony Bourdain.
He’s one of the few chefs who actually makes me smile. I put him in line with my other favorite chefs (which include Alton Brown, Julia Childs, and Jacques Pepin) who have taken a common theme for cooking shows, and reinvented them. Bourdain tells a story, entertains us AND teaches us about food. If Alton Brown is the scientist of the food world, Anthony Bourdain is its anthropologist.
Take his 2007 Christmas special of No Reservations. He gave us ideas on what to serve for Christmas and added a few interesting tidbits on the side: what to prepare for a Christmas dinner; the humane production of foie gras and even an introduction of the game of curling. Tony served it up with his signature humor and wry wit. I watched this year’s special last night and it was as good as ever.
Bourdain’s disdain for the Food Network has been highly publicized. Frankly, he’s not exactly shy about it. One of my favorite posts by Bourdain was on Michael Ruhlman’s blog in 2007. Bourdain breaks down the network by “Ready-Made bobblehead” personality and gives a breakdown of their defects.
Some may compare Andrew Zimmern to Anthony Bourdain. Unlike Zimmern, Bourdain seems to have an ingrained respect for other cultures and always seem to treat his hosts with full respect. His take on exotic dishes (say sheep testicles or cobra) from all over the world reveals the culture and image of the countries he visits and reminds us of the food divide when it comes to cultural taboos.
Frankly, he’s one hell of a chef who actually deserves his fame.