For those of you who are missing his voice, here is a Commonwealth Club interview from late 2007:
less than a year after the birth of his daughter (now 11 years old) and before he went to CNN.
I listened to this show live when it was broadcasted nearly 11 years ago and replayed it this evening.
What I got from Tony was never something as formulaic as the instructions to make ____ dish like a typical recipe.
It was about traveling the world and using food as a commonality to connect with other human beings.
This radio interview is not for softies, he slams vegetarians and some high profile celebrity chefs, even endorses one who has fallen from grace.
Will you learn anything about cooking from this radio broadcast? No. Could you learn something about traveling or living? Maybe.
There are thinly veiled frowns at what is now today’s rockstar chef culture. A flippant passing reference to the end of his life.
In the end, one walks away with the understanding that his occupation is storyteller, not chef. In the interview, he admits with relief that someone else is cooking Thanksgiving dinner, not him.
Much of Bourdain’s public persona from the past 15-20 years is distilled into this 1 hour interview.
There are no pretty Food52 beauty shots, there are no recipes, no Serious Eats food nerd dissertations, no hawking of merch, no stupid “the Internet has gone wild over pink unicorn pork belly beignets drenched in gold sprinkles” social media B.S.
Heck, the guy even says why he doesn’t co-opt newly discovered food “secrets” from his international travels and dump them into the Les Halles menu upon his return.
If you are looking for 2018 rockstar type chef comments, Bourdain’s Commonwealth Club interview will be a complete disappointment.
For others, some might recognize the enormity of the loss of this great narrative, storytelling voice.
The American food industry has suffered a tremendous loss, because Bourdain did not focus on the mechanics of making a particular dish but instead wanted to connect to the people and culture who made them.
Not so sure if there’s any active American food writer who does this. As far as I can tell, this is the end of an era.