KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Anthony Bourdain Interview: The Nasty Bits
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Thursday, April 20, 2006
Anthony Bourdain Interview: The Nasty Bits

You've done two television shows now, is there anything out there that, if given carte blanche, you're really itching to do on television?
I'd like to fully exploit the genius of Mario Batali. The REAL Mario Batali--in all his Not Ready For Television glory. (I LOVED casting him as Clemenza in the New Jersey show.) I'd like to feature Christopher Walken in a show (He's a passionate cook and food enthusiast.) I'd love to do a scene where a supposedly enraged Emeril Lagasse pistol whips me, then jabs a broken bottle of Old Crow into my neck. (I've actually approached him about this.)

I Tivo'd every episode of Kitchen Confidential, the sitcom, why do you think it failed?
I never concentrate on the Mysteries Of Hollywood. It's a world I don't presume to know. Why audiences watch what they watch is something I have no understanding of, and I've never concerned myself with trying to figure out What Audiences -- or readers -- might Want. I do what I feel I can do, as best as I can do it. My experience with the Kitchen Confidential show was a good one. I liked the people who made it, I think they made a good effort at making it as good as it could be, given a sitcom format. I never expected it to be the book. I didn't take it personally when the show failed. I met a lot of nice people, made some money and had a lot of nice, free lunches. All good.

Do you think Mario Batali has "jumped the shark" now that he has put out Mario Tailgates Nascar-Style? And by the way, when is "Anthony Bourdain Cooks for Pro Wrestlers" coming out?
Mario is Cool For Life. He could breakdance in a tutu and fright wig on American Idol and STILL be the coolest chef on TV. He's a Magnificent Beast and good for the world. As far as my involvement with pro wrestling? Think not. Big, waxed muscle guys in tiny little bathing suits make me nervous...

Your new book, The Nasty Bits, is coming out in April, and in it you've collected some of the more outrageous experiences you've had trotting the globe -- of all the stories you tell, what do you think readers will be most surprised by?
Maybe my "happy ending" Christmas fable. It's uncharacteristically optimistic.

Wow, "optimistic"? Can't wait to read that. It is often said that you easily shock people outside the intimate world of the food professional, but have you yourself ever been shocked by anything you've come upon in the food world?
Well..since you asked...A few years back, I walked into the bathroom of a restaurant I was working at to find the busboy -- who'd just emigrated from rural Pakistan -- washing his ass in the sink, bare-handed. That shocked me. Of course, I hadn't seen the world outside my kitchen yet. Now, I doubt I'd blink. While travelling I'm occasionally shocked when my dinner is still alive a few minutes before cooking. But less and less so.

Being in Northern California, we have heard tales of this extraordinarily inedible vegan picnic you ate in Berkeley -- can you tell us more about it? What did you eat that was so awful?
It just seems to me that if you're a loud proponent of a Vegan lifestyle, you should know how to cook a damn vegetable with some care and respect and proficiency. What shocked me in Berkeley was how AWFUL it was. That they so ineptly dressed their salads, that their knifework was so clumsy, that they ruined their veggies by overcooking them, immune to their worth. Destroying any attractiveness or texture and even their vitamin content. Most steak houses cook their vegetables with more respect.

Have you ever had any vegan food that you thought was worth putting in your mouth and, more importantly, swallowing?
Sure. In India. They know how to do vegan in India.

Are you still planning on taking an extended hiatus in Vietnam?
Yes. As soon as the Travel Channel wises up and cancels my ass.


Blogger Sam said...

you two crack me up.
Hilarious line of questioning Stephanie!

4/22/2006 8:04 AM

Blogger drbiggles said...

Yow and hey Stephanie,

While I may be exceedingly jealous of you getting to spend a moment with Bourdain, those were some totally bitchen questions.

More than nicely done.


4/22/2006 1:59 PM

Anonymous amanda said...

Beyond the fantastic questions, the pic for this post is fantastic. I love the eye through the doughnut. It's awesome you are so far up in the star meeting chef chain. i'm envious. great blog.

4/26/2006 11:55 PM


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