Have you heard of American chef, author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain?. I always like to read about someone who is well-known. I like to find out how he/she got their break, started off in their business and what their first job was…enjoy getting to know Anthony Bourdain.
A CHILDHOOD VACATION TO FRANCE IGNITED HIS LOVE OF FOOD.
In Bourdain’s bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential, he shared that it was during a childhood trip to France that he first fell in love with food. He recalled how their neighbour, an oyster fisherman named Monsieur Saint-Jour, invited his family out on his boat, and invited the family to partake in some fresh oysters. “I, in the proudest moment of my young life, stood up smartly, grinning with defiance, and volunteered to be the first,” Bourdain wrote. “I took it in my hand, tilted the shell back into my mouth as instructed by the by now beaming Monsieur Saint-Jour and with one bite and a slurp, wolfed it down. It tasted of seawater … of brine and flesh … and somehow … of the future.”
HE GOT HIS START AS A DISHWASHER.
In a 2014 episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain paid a visit to Provincetown, Mass., a tiny town at the tip of Cape Cod, and the place where he decided to pursue a career in cooking. But Bourdain’s first stop wasn’t behind the line; it was standing over a sink full of dirty pots and pans at the legendary Lobster Pot restaurant. “Many of the old places and people now are gone,” Bourdain said, “but the Lobster Pot is still going strong all these years later … My friends worked in the kitchen, starting the tradition. The cooking work was noble toil. At that point, I never intended a career as a chef.” However he became a famous chef!
In Kitchen Confidential, he wrote of the staff at the Provincetown restaurant where he was the dishwasher as “pirates” who “had style and swagger, and they seemed afraid of nothing. They drank everything in sight, stole whatever wasn’t nailed down, and screwed their way through floor staff, bar customers, and casual visitors like nothing I’d ever seen or imagined.” The point of the book, he wrote, was to experience “what it feels like to attain the child’s dream of running one’s own pirate crew—what it feels like, looks like, and smells like in the clatter and hiss of a big-city restaurant kitchen.” He is 60 years old and still in demand.
HE KEEPS REINVENTING HIMSELF.
He is currently working on a Bourdain Market. When the market was announced, the timetable was ambitious, even by the accelerated standards of New York. It will be a food hall that ranks among what you find in Tokyo and Barcelona. It took centuries for Bangkok to develop its market culture; New York could have one of the greatest food halls in the world within a couple of years. If it does, it will be because the creative control is with Bourdain, a man who spends a significant portion of his year travelling the Earth to go to markets and eat what’s good. Street food is essential to Bourdain’s identity.
Bourdain’s task is to try to persuade the shop owners in Tokyo and Barcelona and Bangkok—the families and cooks who actually prepare the food—to move to New York, or maybe spend part of the year here, or send a trusted sister. “You bring the people in who know what they’re doing and you let them do it. You bring in the guy who’s the best chicken-and-rice guy in Singapore and just let him do his thing,” Bourdain says, walking through the hall. “Bring in his own signage. I’m not building some arty fucking thing.” It sounds simple, but it isn’t. He looks confident, even cocky. Bourdain Market is an undertaking so audacious it might be hubristic.
www.mentalfloss.com and www.vogue.com
What are your hopes, passions and aspirations this year? We are at a time where there is no job security any longer and people are branching out and starting some business idea they have. Whatever they might be, start by taking the first step; a simple idea can become a reality. Start small and keep moving forward this year.