Through a gift to me and my wife, I was lucky enough to come within throwing distance of Mr. Anthony Bourdain; writer, chef and world traveler. Now, I will admit, that while he is a celebrity chef, I don't tend to get star struck. I know that there were many women there wearing slutty outfits in the hopes of getting hit on or looked over by him. After a long wait, at 8pm exactly, Mr. Bourdain took the sage, nervous, fidgety and talkative.
He shared with us his life story, his thoughts and his feelings about the way the world treats him and others like him. His talk reminded me of the time I saw Bill Cosby give his talk. Comedy mixed with undertones of truth. Mr. Bourdain talks and writes with such truth and such common vernacular that you realize that as he said, this man, has no special skills: he has been lucky. He said it himself: he was lucky enough to write something that originally he thought was crap and no one would read. But his story was one that explained the real world of cooking and revealed what was behind that romantic view of a chef. He split the facade open and showed the world what life was like, working behind the grill at a fancy restaurant. His uncensored language broke the mold on how a chef should behave and earned a nickname of a bad boy chef/writer. He was lucky and I only wish to be so lucky. Not so much with my writing or cooking but maybe just a little of both.
I can say though, whether you are hearing him and seeing him speak or sharing a quick 30 second conversation with him while signing his book, he's not a snob. This is a piece of truth that you must know about him and he probably wants to hide forever. No matter how long you talk to him or who you are, he is genuinely interested in what you say. Its not like other celebrity chefs who just push everything through. Anthony Bourdain arrived in St. Louis a few hours before his show, stayed for an hour or so afterwards for book signings, then left a few hours later. I can't imagine that amount of jet lag that this father would be feeling and the sight of him coming home and just crashing onto his bed like a tree being felled in a mighty forest.
Maybe he was drunk or high on Jesus but whatever it was Mr. Bourdain took the stage and commanded such a presence that everyone didn't land their eyes off of him. As I said, he didn't laugh at anyone during the question and answer part and even a simple view of pain and hope could be seen in his eyes, when the young child stood up and after announcing that he was diagnosed with leukemia this year, wanted Anthony to suggest the place with the best seafood. You could tell that unlike the bad-ass that he presents on TV, Mr. Bourdain is an honest and caring guy.
Even though our meeting was brief and short lived, I would like to enjoy meeting him for a few more minutes, or even let him allow me to buy him a Guinness.
Shout out: to all other chefs, I want to meet you!