By: Monis Rose from Restaurant Fiction.
In 2006, Anthony Bourdain helped me win a fellowship to New York City. I never met him personally, but I wrote about him.
I fell in love with Bourdain when the Food Network aired only three episodes of his failed show, “A Cook’s Tour.” I woke up around 5am when the only shows on TV were paid programming segments or “Give me money so Jesus will love you,” shows. When “A Cook’s Tour” aired, the Food Network became the HBO for foodies overnight. Who was this guy smoking, drinking, eating, puking, drinking, and eating all over again in the underbelly of France? He wasn’t your typical travel and food show host that seemed like a manufactured product from a PR company.
Anthony didn’t pop on the scene again until his “No Reservations” epoch came into fruition on the Travel Channel. In that time, I read his travel exposé, “A Cook’s Tour.” I’ve met people who trust John Steinbeck’s, “Travels with Charley,” or Ernest Hemmingway’s, “A Moveable Feast,” as their travel companions. There’s also Rolf Pott’s “Vagabonding.” “A Cook’s Tour” was my travel life coach.
Bourdain never influenced me to cook. I already had that passion in my blood. But his writing was alive. It was like reading Chuck Palahniuk but dealing with food and travel. I never ate at any of the restaurants Anthony worked in nor did I have any interest either. He rarely cooked (if ever) on his shows.
I trusted him for his insight and knowledge of the relationship between food and the world above all else. I recently traveled to South Carolina. There are several YouTube videos from well-respected and well-credentialled critics. But I only watched one. And that was Anthony’s.
Without any further adieux, here is the essay that got me my New York City adventure. I haven’t looked at it since 2006 and I’m not changing it for better or worse.
“Name one regular radio or television program you listen to or watch, and explain your reason(s) for doing so. Be sure to indicate station or network and time.”
“Anthony Bourdain No Reservations” on Mondays at 10 p.m. EST/PST on the Travel Channel is my television program of choice. Yes, it is a reality show, but a reality show that I can relate too. Whenever I go somewhere, my travels always revolve around what and where am I going to eat. “What am I going to eat?” is one of life’s most persistent questions and Bourdain travels to the most exotic places around the world in search to find the ultimate refreshment. “No Reservations” is more than Bourdain going to Malaysia, Paris and Las Vegas and eating food just to fill one’s stomach, but he celebrates the culture, people, history, geography, economy and all of the other ingredients that embody the perfect meal. It is a show that is not just for the food lover and the travel deprived, but for the adventurer, the risk taker, the enthusiast of life who lives in the precious present. A good meal is very important to me and instead of showing me how the meals on the show are created like on other food programs, “No Reservations” shows me that it’s not just about the food but the happy confluence of events that make-up an everlasting memory.
The Instagram and social media tributes to Chef Anthony Bourdain keep pouring in. These are just a few of the chef and personal tributes and images we found.