Following the release of Anthony Bourdain’s most recent best-seller, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, Bourdain visited The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on Saturday, October 29, 2011.
Chef, author of Kitchen Confidential, and host of Travel Channel’s No Reservations and The Layover, Bourdain spent the evening sharing candid, and often hard-hitting insights about his life’s work and travels, including an open question and answer session with the audience.
Most audience members were appreciative and excited to speak with Bourdain, except for one heavily intoxicated man dressed as “Death” for Halloween who threw insults at him during the Q&A. No-nonsense Tony let the belligerent man speak his mind, and then told him to “bring it on” when things got too personal.
It was a thoroughly entertaining event marked with first hand accounts of hilarious behind-the-scenes situations, jabs at fellow ‘celebrity-chef’ Gordon Ramsay, never-before-seen (rather amusing) footage of his recent “trip” to a cannabis coffee shop in Amsterdam, profane metaphors OK’d for TV by naive editors, and brief clips from No Reservations – remember the leech scene in the jungles of Borneo?
[I recall the episode so vividly because I did a similar Borneo trek (from Brunei to Sarawak, Malaysia), visiting Iban (former headhunting tribe) longhouses along the way. My greatest fear during the 14 hour rainforest journey was not dying from a venomous king cobra bite, or falling into the raging river we were required to cross on a slippery teetering log – no, it was the fears of finding a nasty blood-sucking (albeit, non life-threatening) leech stuck to my skin. I remember tucking my neon pink pants (hey, it was the early 90’s) into my socks while we hiked through swampy water to attempt to ensure those pesky parasites wouldn’t attach themselves to my legs. But, I digress…]
When asked what his favourite region of the world is, Bourdain (no surprise to us) declared his love for South East Asia. He ended the talk saying how he recently returned from Singapore (that’s got to be, what, his 20th trip by now?!) and how he wishes American food courts were more like their amazing hawker centres. (Me too Tony, me too…)
Overall, Anthony Bourdain was an excellent speaker and even funnier and more self-deprecating than we had anticipated. His off-the-cuff remarks along with straightforward observations all added to the wicked sense of humour he’s famous for. He’s exactly the way he is on his shows – with a dash more cursing, of course. If you’re a travel/foodie fan, then we’d definitely recommend catching one of his talks if you ever get the chance.