June 8th marks the anniversary of Anthony Bourdain’s passing. The highly acclaimed US celebrity chef, author and television personality, sadly left this world 5 years ago at the age of 61. Bourdain was best known for his great love of adventure, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories he told from his travels around the world.
So who was Anthony Bourdain?
Anthony Bourdain shot to stardom in 2000 with his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly”, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of gourmet cuisine.
The world-travelling gourmand spent more than 250 days per year on the road filming his show. His job sent him to remote and frequently perilous places including Gaza, Lebanon, and Libya.
In 2002, he debuted on television with “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network. He joined the Travel Channel three years later and won two Emmys while working on “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”. Later in 2013 he filmed “Parts Unknown”, a travel and cuisine program that debuted on CNN.
A proper New Yorker, Anthony Bourdain was not known for mincing his words. His no nonsense approach left a significant impact on many people’s eating habits worldwide. Here are his top 3 recommendations on dining out:
1. The best day to eat out is Tuesday
“Generally speaking, the good stuff comes in on Tuesday: the seafood is fresh, the supply of prepared food is new, and the chef, presumably, is relaxed after his day off. (Most chefs don’t work on Monday.) Chefs prefer to cook for weekday customers rather than for weekenders, and they like to start the new week with their most creative dishes,” he wrote in the New Yorker magazine.
2. Ordering steak well done comes with a risk
“People who order their meat well-done perform a valuable service for those of us in the business who are cost-conscious: they pay for the privilege of eating our garbage. In many kitchens, there’s a time-honoured practice called ‘save for well-done’… the philistine who orders his food well-done is not likely to notice the difference between food and flotsam.”
3. Aeroplane food is beyond saving
“The food can’t possibly be that good. It can be edible at best, no matter how hard they try. The conditions that they’re working in, there’s not much they can do.”….”Every food tastes completely different than it does on the ground, so they have to make adjustments to it,” he told Travel and Leisure.
Bourdain’s wit and wisdom on food
Renowned to be one of the most outspoken chefs in the culinary industry, Bourdain was gregarious, bold, and uninhibited. He wasn’t just a food nut; he was also a cook who was always fascinated about the origins and background of the cuisine he was preparing. Here are 15 of Anthony Bourdain’s most memorable quotes on cuisine, travel and life.
1. “Anyone who’s a chef, who loves food, ultimately knows that all that matters is: ‘Is it good? Does it give pleasure?'”
2. “In America, the professional kitchen is the last refuge of the misfit. It’s a place for people with bad pasts to find a new family.”
3. “What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?”
4. “Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.”
5.”Sometimes the greatest meals on vacations are the ones you find when Plan A falls through.”
6. “For me, the cooking life has been a long love affair, with moments both sublime and ridiculous. But like a love affair, looking back you remember the happy times best.”
7. “Good food and good eating are about risk. Every once in a while an oyster, for instance, will make you sick to your stomach. Does this mean you should stop eating oysters? No way.”
8. “I like food where the guiding principle is you have three or four good ingredients, and the most important thing is to just not screw them up. Treat them with a little respect.”
9. “Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
10. “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.”
11. “Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman—not an artist. There’s nothing wrong with that: The great cathedrals of Europe were built by craftsmen—though not designed by them. Practising your craft in expert fashion is noble, honourable, and satisfying.”
12. “Bad food is made without pride, by cooks who have no pride, and no love. Bad food is made by chefs who are indifferent, or who are trying to be everything to everybody, who are trying to please everyone… Bad food is fake food… food that shows fear and lack of confidence in people’s ability to discern or to make decisions about their lives.”
13. “To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.”
14. “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”
15. “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”
Thank you Anthony Bourdain for teaching us that the simple things in life are worth living for, despite your tragic end. Today on the anniversary of his passing, let’s raise a toast of fine wine to one of the world’s greatest ever teachers.
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