Anthony Bourdain's Culinary Quest Crosses Cultures
Chef, TV host and author Anthony Bourdain began his culinary career as a dishwasher and worked his way up to line cook, sous chef and chef in New York restaurant kitchens. Rave reviews for his 1997 article “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” published in the “New Yorker,” helped spawn his New York Times bestselling memoir “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” in 2000. Instant fame launched the Culinary Institute of America graduate’s career from executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles to television host of “A Cook’s Tour,” and two Emmy-winning programs: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” and CNN’s “Parts Unknown.” These programs have allowed Bourdain to swap New York kitchens for worldwide culinary adventures, as local hosts introduce him to their culture and cuisine. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with Anthony Bourdain to find out how he went from small fry in the Big Apple to the big cheese on television’s top news, food and travel channels.
TJ: What got you interested in food?
BOURDAIN:I grew up in an unusually food-centric household. My father was first generation French. I spent time in France. But I never thought about food as a profession until much later. I sort of fell into the position of dishwasher.
TJ: In New York?
BOURDAIN: Cape Cod. A summer job.
TJ: Then that led into working in the kitchen, right?
BOURDAIN: Yes, I got a job as a dishwasher and felt very at home in the subculture.
TJ: How old were you then?
BOURDAIN: About 17, 18.
TJ: At what age did you first travel abroad?
BOURDAIN: I think I was 44. I mean, I had been to France and the Caribbean a couple of times, but besides that I had spent my whole life in restaurant kitchens with no expectation of ever seeing the world. So it was late in life that I started travelling and maybe that explains why I am doing it with such vigor now. tj
The complete article can be found in Issue #274 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.