Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain bigraphy, stories - Chef and food writer

Anthony Bourdain : biography

June 25, 1956 –

Anthony Michael Bourdain (born June 25, 1956) is an American chef, author, and television personality. He is well-known for his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and hosted the Travel Channel’s culinary and cultural adventure programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. In 2013, he joined CNN to host Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

Public persona

Because of Bourdain’s liberal use of profanity and sexual references in his television show No Reservations, the network has placed viewer discretion advisories on each segment of each episode. In later seasons, the advisories include animation that is related in some way to the episode.

Known for consuming local specialty dishes, Bourdain has eaten sheep testicles in Morocco, ant eggs in Puebla, Mexico, a raw seal eyeball as part of a traditional Inuit seal hunt, and a whole cobra – beating heart, blood, bile, and meat – in Vietnam. According to Bourdain, the most disgusting thing he has ever eaten is a Chicken McNugget, though he has also declared that the unwashed warthog rectum he ate in Namibia and the fermented shark he ate in Iceland are among "the worst meals of [his] life."

He has been known for being an unrepentant drinker and smoker. In a nod to Bourdain’s (at the time) two-pack-a-day cigarette habit, renowned chef Thomas Keller once served him a 20-course tasting menu which included a mid-meal "coffee and cigarette": a coffee custard infused with tobacco, together with a foie gras mousse. Bourdain stopped cigarette smoking in the summer of 2007 because of the birth of his daughter. He is also a former user of cocaine, heroin, and LSD. In Kitchen Confidential he writes of his experience in a trendy SoHo restaurant in 1981: "We were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in refrigerator at every opportunity to ‘conceptualize.’ Hardly a decision was made without drugs. Cannabis, methaqualone, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms soaked in honey and used to sweeten tea, secobarbital, tuinal, amphetamine, codeine and, increasingly, heroin, which we’d send a Spanish-speaking busboy over to Alphabet City to get." In the same book, Bourdain frankly describes his former addiction, including how he once resorted to selling his record collection on the street in order to raise enough money to purchase drugs.

Bourdain is also noted for his put-downs of celebrity chefs, such as Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Sandra Lee, and Rachael Ray ; ; and appears to be irritated by both the overt commercialism of the celebrity cooking industry and its lack of culinary authenticity. He has voiced a "serious disdain for food demigods like Alan Richman, Alice Waters, and Alain Ducasse." Bourdain has recognized the irony of his transformation into a celebrity chef and has, to some extent, begun to qualify his insults; in the 2007 New Orleans episode of No Reservations, he reconciled with Emeril Lagasse. He has been consistently outspoken in his praise for chefs he admires, particularly Ferran Adrià, Juan Mari Arzak, Mario Batali, Fergus Henderson, Thomas Keller, Martin Picard, Eric Ripert, and Marco Pierre White, as well as his former protegé and colleagues at Brasserie Les Halles. Bourdain has also spoken very highly of Julia Child, saying that she "influenced the way I grew up and my entire value system."

Bourdain is also known for his sarcastic comments about vegan and vegetarian activists, saying that their lifestyle is rude to the inhabitants of many countries he visits. Bourdain says he considers vegetarianism, except in the case of religious strictures as in India, a "First World luxury." He has clarified that he believes Americans eat too much meat, and admires vegetarians who allow themselves to put aside their vegetarianism when they travel in order to be respectful of their hosts.Jeffrey, Clara, , Mother Jones (November/December 2010)

Bourdain’s taste in music is also a matter of public record. His book, The Nasty Bits, is dedicated to "Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee" of the Ramones. Bourdain has declared fond appreciation for their music, as well that of other early punk bands such as The Stooges, Dead Boys, Television, The New York Dolls, and The Voidoids. Additionally, Bourdain writes in Kitchen Confidential that the playing of music by Billy Joel in his kitchen was grounds for immediate firing (amusingly, Joel is a fan of his and has subsequently visited the restaurant). In the 2006 No Reservations episode in Sweden, Bourdain proclaimed that his all-time favorite album (his "desert island disc") is the groundbreaking punk record Fun House by The Stooges; he also made it clear that he despises the Swedish pop group ABBA. On his 2007 No Reservations Holiday Special episode, the rock band Queens of the Stone Age were the featured dinner guests, adding food-inspired holiday songs to the episode’s soundtrack.