Anthony Bourdain: a celebrity chef worth salivating over

June 6th, 2012

Ovens & Cooking Recipes

Anthony Bourdain – author of New York Times best-seller Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly and host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations – was in the news recently with the announcement that he will join the US news network CNN to produce a new TV show.

The new show will air next year and is part of CNN’s bid to distinguish itself as a network that offers more than just news programming.

Unconventional, intelligent and irreverent, Anthony Bourdain is a cut above your usual celebrity chef, espousing the evils of junk food while somehow managing to avoid sounding like a sanctimonious twat. (*cough cough, Jamie*)

Already named as one of the Top 5 Coolest Celebrity Chefs Ever by our rock ‘n’ roll reporter Richie Black, we thought this culinary crusader deserved a closer look in which we ask the question: what is it about Bourdain that makes him brilliant?

A way with words

George Calombaris, take note: the English language contains more than three adjectives! Part of what makes Bourdain so engaging is his ability to communicate his passion for food. That, and he’s darkly hilarious.  For example:

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”

“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure.”

“For a moment, or a second, the pinched expressions of the cynical, world-weary, throat-cutting, miserable bastards we’ve all had to become disappears, when we’re confronted with something as simple as a plate of food.”

“You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.”

A champion for the underdog

One of my personal discomforts with declaring myself a ‘foodie’ is that it can be such an elitist, first-world extravagance. I mean, am I the only one who cringes when they see food being irreverently wasted on TV cooking and weight-loss programs while entire nations are starving? Apologies for the rant but it’s one thing to take an active interest in cooking and nutrition and another to throw out a perfectly edible meal simply because your quinoa didn’t have enough fennel seeds.

Like, seriously. My love of food extends beyond the gourmet – to basically anything that doesn’t give me botulism (not immediately, at least). Be it truffle-crusted quail or noodle sandwich, I’m always happy to eat – which is, incidentally, one of the reasons I’m an appliance blogger, not a food critic (“This restaurant served food! Awesome, five stars!!”).

What I like about Bourdain is that he’s a supporter of the hard-working Spanish-speaking immigrants who make up the majority of the America’s cooks and chefs, and an outspoken fan of “peasant food” and street food found in all corners of the globe, including dishes that include animal parts that are not usually used by affluent first-world consumers (which formed the subject material for his 2006 best-seller The Nasty Bits).

He told his daughter that Ronald McDonald smells like poo

Describing a McDonalds Chicken McNugget as the most disgusting thing he’s ever eaten, Bourdain has long been a vociferous critic of fast food.


But his beef with Micky Dee reached a fever pitch when his daughter Ariane was born in 2007 and he realised just how predatory and insidious fast food marketing aimed at children can be:

“McDonald’s have been very shrewd about kids. Say what you will about Ronald and friends, they know their market — and who drives it. They haven’t shrunk from targeting young minds — in fact, their entire gazillion-dollar promotional budget seems aimed squarely at toddlers. They know that one small child, crying in the backseat of a car of two overworked, overstressed parents will, more often than not, determine the choice of restaurants. They know exactly when and how to start building brand identification and brand loyalty with brightly colored clowns and smoothly tied-in toys. They know that Little Timmy will, with care and patience and the right exposure to brightly colored objects, grow up to be a full-size consumer of multiple Big Macs. It’s why Ronald McDonald is said to be more recognizable to children everywhere than Mickey Mouse or Jesus.”

So how exactly did Bourdain manage to convince his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter that McDonalds was evil?

“Kids don’t give a s— about calorie count — or factory farming, or the impact that America’s insatiable desire for cheap ground meat may have on the environment or our society’s health.

But cooties they understand.

“Ronald has cooties,” I say — every time he shows up on television or out the window of the car. “And you know,” I add, lowering my voice, “he smells bad, too. Kind of like . . . poo!”

“Ewwww!!!” says my daughter. We sit in silence as she considers this, then she asks, “Is it true that if you eat a hamburger at McDonald’s it can make you a ree-tard?”

I laugh wholeheartedly at this one and give her a hug. I kiss her on the forehead reassuringly. “Ha. Ha. Ha. I don’t know where you get these ideas!”

(From his book Medium Raw, 2010).

He’s refreshingly (if, somewhat confrontingly) honest:

All of these reasons and more is why we at Appliances Online think Bourdain is the shiz. Well that and… he’s kind of hot. (What can I say! I’d let him crème my brûlée any day, heh heh…)

On that note, stick a fork in this blog post – it’s done! See below for a delicious recipe that is described by Bourdain in his cookbook as a “ridiculously easy soup to make.”

Bourdain’s Mushroom Soup

From Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook


6 tablespoons butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
350 grams button mushrooms, halved
4 cups chicken stock
1 sprig parsley
60ml sherry
salt and pepper


1. Over medium heat, melt two tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan. Toss in the onion and cook until soft but not browned.

2. Toss in the remaining butter and then add the mushrooms. Cook for 8 minutes.

3. Pour in the chicken stock, add the parsley, and bring to a boil. When bubbling, reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour.

4. Pour soup into a blender (you might need to do this in stages), and process until smooth. Return to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour in the sherry, and season with salt and pepper.

Louise is a writer with a passion for appliances, especially those that involve food. She is particularly fond of ovens because they enable her to make cake. Apart from baking Louise also enjoys listening to alternative music, dying her hair various unnatural colours and writing poetry that has been described (by her Nan) as 'quite nice'. On her appliance wish list is a Hello Kitty toaster and 'Hero' the barking dog-shaped hot dog maker. She lives in Sydney. Google+

2 responses to “Anthony Bourdain: a celebrity chef worth salivating over”

  1. Keri says:

    You’ve got my mouth watering too!

  2. Aw thanks Keri 🙂

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