The former Mrs. Bourdain, Nancy Putkoski, may be one of the undead because her image doesn’t show up on film. When Tony first hit the big time with his book, Kitchen Confidential, you’d think there’d be at least one shot online of him stepping out with his lady, but no.
Perhaps he cleverly camouflaged her as an extra – as he did Ottavia – in an early episode of No Reservations or A Cook’s Tour. You’d think Nancy would have wanted to accompany him to Paris.
But since no one knows what she looks like, she’s still invisible.
I just spent more time than I should have trying to find Nancy, but turned up only postings of other people hunting, too. However, I did find this sexy shot of Tony being compared to the late hunky actor, Victor Mature. It would turn Cats Working into a porn site to show it here, so you’ll have to look for yourself.
I also found (but couldn’t verify) that Tony and Nancy were married September 5, 1985, which was 7 years after they graduated from college. Since they were high school sweethearts, I wondered why the long wait to tie the knot.
Their divorce was final on April 5, 2007, and Ariane was born on April 9. So it’s understandable why Tony and Ottavia didn’t commit a block of time to nuptials during the 4 days he was free before she gave birth. They were married on April 20.
I found Nancy on Classmates.com at Vassar from 1974-78, which means she has a 30-year class reunion coming up. Tony left Vassar in 1975 to attend culinary school.
My next stop was Vassar’s Web site, where there might be a pocket of information, but I couldn’t access it because it’s not my alma mater.
So, if you’re a Bourdain-loving Vassar alum with member’s access to the site or old yearbooks, check out the class of 1978. If you find a photo of Nancy, please report back here. If her photo is a blank gray square, don’t tell me. I’d like to keep believing vampires are mythical.
Asha Gill has an amusing interview with Tony on her site, along with a cute photo of them together that a reader graciously contributed. Asha’s a bright, young, perky brunette who, except for her vegetarianism, seems like Tony’s kind of woman.
So the hunt for Nancy’s image continues, and I hope it doesn’t seem too weird. It’s not like anyone’s out to stake her. It’s just that in a culture overflowing with data and images, it’s eerie for someone to reach Bourdain’s celebrity status and have a phantom wife, ex or not. It’s probably too much to hope he’ll ever write an autobiography to fill in the blanks for his fans.