Tag Archives: Kitchen Confidential

Rest in Peace Chef: Anthony Bourdain dead at 61.

As I write this I’m watching people share stories and thoughts on what is looking like an apparent suicide by Anthony Bourdain.

The one time chef and author/globetrotter was found dead by his friend Éric Ripert in France this morning apparently by his own hand.

Anyone who has even casually looked at this blog will know that I have been a constant fan of the man and his work. A previous girlfriend of mine used to call him my man crush and I suppose that assessment was true.

In fact this blog page is a direct result of my early ‘obsession with Bourdain’. When my girlfriend and I won a trip to New York one of the first things we did was go to eat at his old restaurant Les Halles where he had been head chef.

I can’t even begin to imagine what his ex wife and daughter are going through this morning and in all sincerity my heart goes out to them though all of this.

Bourdain has the distinction of being one of the original bad boy celebrity chefs along with Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay.

He used food as a bridge to explore different cultures. Sharing a meal and finding out what really makes the world tick. From high end dining with 3 star chefs to squatting in the sand with tribesmen in Namibia eating the less appealing parts of warthog.

He opened my mind to the world of exotic food. To the point where I will often try a new cuisine and just have the server bring me what they would want to eat.

Depression and suicide are very serious medical issues. One can never really know what demons a person is struggling with. What pain, guilt or shame they carry in their hearts. Real or imagined to the outside world those feelings are all too real to the person suffering.

Mental illness can be as debilitating as a broken bone or heart condition. But because that pain is invisible to everyone else it is misunderstood and marginalized by the outside world. I know this because I deal with depression and severe anxiety on a daily basis.

To all of Anthony’s family and friends I offer my sincere condolences. You do not grieve alone.

Bob’s Book Corner: Blood, Bones and Butter.

Finally a chance to sit down and write again for a little while, things have been a bit crazy here this last week and as such I missed my normal mid-week post.  I do apologize for that.   But on the happy side, spring is hurrying hard to get here and the melt is on.  I just hope it’s slow and steady, otherwise the flooding could get real nasty here this year.

As the title implies I have a small book review for everyone today.  Gabrielle Hamilton’s first major effort in the food writing genre.  Blood, Bones and Butter tells the tale of how she came to own a small highly regarded restaurant just outside the Bowery on Manhattans Lower East Side.

Blood, Bones and Butter.

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Under Construction

As many of you may have noticed, the frequency of my posting here has pretty much dropped off to nothing over the last week or so.  The reason for this unfortunately as I alluded to in my earlier post Wet is the fact that my writing space, our once finished basement, flooded pretty heavily during the downpour a few weeks ago.

What I am left with now is a gutted basement space that aggravates my allergies to no end if I spend more than a few passing minutes in quiet contemplation at the computer.

The good news however is that due to a number of factors our homeowners insurance is going to cover much of the damage.  Meaning that I should have a livable working space again sometime in the near future.

The other big change you surely will notice is the stylistic upgrades that I have made to the look of the page.  To be completely honest I was never really satisfied with the “Look” of the old pages, and was looking to change the design to better suit my personality.

However, as I have always said, EVERYTHING here is up for debate.  If you the readers don’t like this new look let me know.  Similarly if you really dig the way things look and how you access the material let me know that too.

So what have I been up to since my basement flooded? Well for one thing I have devoured books at an ever-increasing rate.  I am very close to finishing Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain.   Once again Tony, I feel, has managed to cut through a lot of the crap and deliver a straight forward if somewhat controversial look at his life since writing his breakthrough tell all book Kitchen Confidential.

Medium Raw

This time out his stories include partial, and apparently disputed, explanations to many of the questions that us that follow his career have asked.  Why he turned to drugs, the reasons for his breakup to his first wife Nancy Putkoski, and how the once bad boy chef of the food world has become whipped by his now 3-year-old daughter.

Those child rearing stories in particular left me speechless, vacillating between horror and laughter.  But all throughout left the impression, and rightly so, that the bad boy world touring cook has finally seen fit to be dragged out of his leather jacket and cowboy boots by the new light of his life.

His writing also serves to deepen my already sharp dislike of the Food Network.  I have personally held a similar distaste for the speciality channel for always catering to the lowest common denominator viewer.

Honestly, how many burger cook-offs and cake building shows does the average viewer need?  Take a show like Chopped for example, where the somewhat talented chefs are made to cook with an increasingly bizarre list of foods.  Yes I will admit that Top Chef,  seen in Canada on Bravo and strangely enough Food Network Canada, does have the odd out of place competition, the vending machine challenge springs to mind.  But to base an entire show out of adding novelty ingredients to your menu that’s a bit much even for me.

But I digress.  If you’re a fan of the cooking lifestyle and or of Anthony Bourdain in particular you will be very well served by picking up his new book Medium Raw.  In fact, if you’re so tempted, Catsworking has a most excellent chapter by chapter discussion group going that is most definitely worth checking out.

Till next time.