Part 2: Meeting Anthony Bourdain

By Karen

It looked like more than 100 people lingered to meet Anthony Bourdain when the lights came up at the Durham Performing Arts Center on February 19, and they were mostly seated in the front rows. Barnes & Noble had been selling most of his titles in the lobby, but many women like me carried large purses containing their own books. I had brought No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach.

This is the only area where DPAC fell short, in my opinion. After paying an extra $65 to get up close to Bourdain, these fans deserved more than the hurried cattle call they got.

After no one seemed to be taking charge, we all began trickling out a side door of the auditorium in considerable confusion. Quite a few people said, “Screw this,” and headed for the exit. The rest of us made our way up some stairs to the bare, cavernous backstage area, where a long table had been set up for Bourdain.

Tony was seated behind it, surrounded by DPAC handlers who mostly blocked anyone from getting any good photos of him. Cameras had been prohibited in the auditorium, and they weren’t encouraging photos ops now, but I caught this profile as I stood in line.

Bourdain, about to meet Cats Working.

Bourdain, about to meet Cats Working.

We were told to write our preferred inscription on an index card and insert it in the title page of our book. Someone took my book and it got ahead of me in line, so when Tony read my card saying, “Karen,” a man was standing with it.

I quickly switched places with the guy and handed Tony a copy of my book, How to Work Like a CAT. He looked up at me with a broad smile (not snarling at all), reached out to shake my hand, and asked, “Do you want this written to Karen or to Cats Working?”

The jig was up.

I said, “Either way,” and he proceeded to write…


And draw on the facing page…


Inscribing my book took him so long that the DPAC people started getting antsy. One of them said, “Maybe we should get him another pen.” The people in line behind me watched us in silence.

While he scribbled, I managed a bit of chit-chat and he set the record straight on something very important. But more on that later.

Then I whipped out my camera and asked if we could have a photo. Tony readily stood up and let me come around the table so another fan could snap us together.

Holy crap! I look like his mother!

Holy crap! I look like his mother!

Then he resumed his seat, handed my signed book back to me, and shook my hand again with a big smile, saying it was good meeting me.

I reached over, touched the cover of my little book, and told him, “You embody working like a cat,” before a DPAC goon pointed me toward the opposite wall, where I had to find a way out and ended up on the stage.

I’m saving what I learned from my encounter with Bourdain for last so I can do the topic full justice with its own post. Stay tuned…

26 Responses to Part 2: Meeting Anthony Bourdain

  1. Nix says:


    Just the fact that you were able to have a conversation to him and not just stand there drooling on yourself is AMAZING to me! I’d have failed miserably.

  2. Melissa says:

    It seems that everywhere he goes, a common complaint is the signings are a no photos rush job (at least when Barnes and Noble is involved). I’m so glad you got to spend quality time and he told the DPAC folks to chill so you could get your picture. It looks great!!! And I am jealous that you got some (well-deserved) art work in your book! Tony proved, once again, that he is the coolest man out there.

  3. catsworking says:

    After it was all over and I’d walked a block to the parking deck, I was amazed when I got in the car and the clock said it was only 9:10. I thought it was at least 10 because I believed his talk and Q&A were supposed to last 2 hours.

    After all the fuss DPAC made over collecting questions from the audience before things got underway, the result must have been disappointing for a lot of people who submitted one.

    As seems to be the norm in these parts, people were moseying to their seats after curtain time, so we were late getting started. And the guy who read the intro went on for WAY too long. So Tony’s actual face time with the audience was abbreviated quite a bit, although he made the most of the time he had.

    I wondered if the rush wasn’t to accommodate Bourdain himself, because I’d read that the big annual Food Network event in Miami started that same day and, although Bourdain wasn’t listed as a participant, I wondered if he wasn’t catching a flight that night to get down there for the weekend.

    Couldn’t blame him for that. Durham seems very nice, but compared to balmy Miami teeming with all his celeb chef friends…a no-brainer.

  4. Deb says:

    Wow! I am impressed! Good job there…and by the way, you DO NOT look like his mother!
    The way I see it, he is not obliged to take photos. Certainly, if you pay more for the opportunity to meet with any celeb, you must be prepared to get what you get. Sometimes it is merely a hand shake, other times it is a photo. Let the others complain…you got your monies worth!

  5. MorganLF says:

    Great picture…my God he looks f’n gorgeous!..and it does seem he got real close to the double D’s!

    Gottta go- hunger strike partially over …can’t wait for the setting the record straight part…did he admit that he WAS the guy my friend did outside the Mudd Club?

  6. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    “Do you want this written to Karen or to Cats Working?”

    BAHAHAHA! I would have died.

    Don’t keep us in suspense! Post the third segment! I’d say fine if you hadn’t written it yet but now we know you did! POST IT!!!

    I’m thrilled you had a positive meeting despite the venue nazis. I’m glad AB acknowledged you and all your efforts here, Karen, you deserve it.

  7. adele says:

    Okay, okay, if I must, I’ll wait ’til tomorrow for the rest of the story, but I must ask, was he wearing cologne. He seems like a no cologne kind of guy, but with his French ancestry and the fact that Ottavia’s Italian, and many Italian men seem to like cologne –and it’s usually really good cologne — I just wondered. I’m sure he smelled fabulous, in any case, not to say being disturbingly gorgeous.

    And you do not like his mother, if fact, you look younger and cuter than your official Cats Working picture. Were I you, not only would I not wash the shoulder of my sweater, I might consider not washing my left boob.

  8. He looks so freakin’ hot! That’s a great pic and autograph. Thanks for posting!

  9. catsworking says:

    Menopause has kicked my ass so bad, when I see pictures of myself, I don’t even recognize me. Particularly when I’ve got my glasses on.

    People have told me that shorter hair does make me look younger, and I have to say my skin is still in good shape. It’s just from the neck down that’s a problem.

    And the lopsided butch haircut certainly is not helping. Every time I drive past Fantastic Sam’s, I have to fight an urge to go inside, stab that little so-called “stylist” with her own scissors, and stomp the living shit out of her. (Whew! It felt good to get it all out! Even after 2 weeks, I’m still steamed.)

    Adele, I didn’t notice that Bourdain was wearing any cologne. I’m pretty good at noticing and remembering scents, so I’d say he wasn’t. He doesn’t strike me as a perfumey kind of guy either.

    Unfortunately, it’s too late for the left boob. It’s been laundered several times since Thursday night.

    And I agree that although he’s not obligated to pose for anyone’s photo, he knows it doesn’t hurt to get his mug out there as much as possible, and he might have been pissed to see the people streaming out of the place when DPAC did such a poor job of coordinating entrance to the book signing.

    Morgan, I have to tell you that the Mudd Club didn’t come up, and even if it did, now that he’s married to a woman who studies martial arts, he probably knows better than to admit to some ancient hookup. Why invite trouble?

  10. MorganLF says:

    Dropping little hints I see.

    I did notice in a former post you referenced getting it right out of respect for the “Boudains”. So I have a feeling Ottavia will be a part of what’s to come.

    But truly, you pulled it off, great job!

  11. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I am truly amazed at how you are all dissecting every word looking for clues. And yes, I think you will be surprised by what’s coming tomorrow. I know I was.

    Boy, Bob’s got a lot of catching up to do when he comes back from his weekend…

  12. Bob says:

    Bob is here and also Dissecting the post.. So I did notice that you slipped him your book.. I hope you did the right thing and signed it for him.. He must have signed for a few Karen’s that night. Odds are…But knowing of our good work in the “Blogosphere” I am sure He was looking for you Karen.

    I so regret not taking the chance to see him a few years ago when he was pushing the Nasty Bits but I did get “Some” that night so I guess it all balances out..

    Actually I thought you looked very nice in your pic with Tony. Not very Spock like at all, in fact you should photo shop out Tony and use that as your “Cats Working” head shot.. but that might be pushing it eh..

    I think the biggest thing we all have to put into perspective here is yes he’s a cool guy, but he’s just a guy doing a job..

    Remember it’s like he won the freaking lotto, only a few decades earlier he was a smack addict, in his own words not a very trustworthy chap.. SO give him credit for that.

    He puts his shoes on one at a time… well unless he has people for that now.

    Anyways So happy for you Karen, and for all of us that are fans through your Blog.

    Waiting for Part 3


    Had a great weekend out with my Daughter, she loves her new bike. 🙂
    So Awesome to be 11 afterall..

  13. catsworking says:

    I was just checking Bourdain’s blog to see if he’d posted about Manhattan yet (he has) and to find out who this Joy is, and I noticed that 2 other Cats Working regulars had gone O Henry and jumped into the pool with Morgan, with predictable results. You got Juancho’s knickers in a knot, even though he was AGREEING with you on the Philippines episode.

    By the way, you’ll find Ingrid’s inside scoop on the Manhattan episode at

    Now you’re all certainly entitled to post your opinions wherever you want, but I would hate for you to become known on Bourdain’s blog as the hatchet chick gang from Cats Working. Since he is obviously aware of this blog and I have no idea when he might be reading it, he’s bound to recognize your names sooner or later.

    So this is what I’d like to suggest. Please play nice on Tony’s blog and we can hash over his episodes with all the brutal honesty we want right here. I’ll try to post a review here quickly after an episode airs and then we’ll all have a place to discuss it.

    I see no need to antagonize his groupies when you’ve done so much to help this blog become the one that really tries to get to the heart of all things Bourdain. We’ve pretty much kept it on a relatively higher level (OK, not so much when we first found out about Ottavia), and I’d like to think this is the place he can come when he wants some mature and honest opinions of his work, not just a lot of, “Oooh, Tony, you’re so fine!” fluff.

    Of course, it’s always your option to tell me to go to hell… 😉

  14. adele says:

    Boy, you said a mouthful about menopause. From the chin up, I’m told I look about 15 years younger than my actual age,(I think it’s just that fat cells store estrogen), but from the neck down, everything has gone south, nay perhaps below the equator. I keep looking at my neck and wondering who it belongs to; it can’t be mine.

    But your hair will grow; you did a very good job of masking the cut; cleavage is always good, and Bourdain is an excellent accesory for any look.

    Welcome back, Bob; I wondered when you’d check in.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s grand finale; I’m so glad I have access to a computer in Tucson.

    I’m surprised the cats are letting you post 3 days in a row. I guess it’s ‘cuz they’ve seen the picture of Lupetto.

  15. catsworking says:

    Hey, Bob, welcome back!

    I got my first 2-wheeler when I was 10, so I can imagine how thrilled your daughter must be right now. But can she ride it in this frigid weather? My newly-repaired heat pump has hardly stopped running all weekend.

    Point well taken on Bourdain. He IS a human being just like us. If we hurt him, would he not cry? If we cut him, would he not bleed? If we pour him 20 shots of vodka, would he not pass out?

    I wanted him to have a copy of my book because he can identify with so much in it in his own behavior. He definitely works like a cat. And it was when he saw my book that he instantly knew who I was.

    Thanks for the kind words about the photo. I guess if you didn’t know me before, I look like anyone my age. But if I ever posted photos of myself 10 years ago when I was ballroom dancing, you wouldn’t recognize me. It’s like someone snuck in one night and pasted my head on my grandmother’s body.

    I do need to get a new head shot taken, once I get a good haircut again, since I’ve changed my ‘do. I like the old photo only because Fred was such a supermodel during the shoot.

  16. Bob says:

    TO Fred…. Sneak into bed tonight… Eat some hair..

    K you happy now. You looked great!!!

    Yes my girl loved her new bike,,
    I was a shit though

    I gave her a gift bag with a WEBKIN ,,,, a stuffy that she would love anyways…

    Underneath that was a set of Allen Keys and a box end wrench for her to unwrap

    I got the WTF look from her, then took her out too my Jeep to put her bike together…

    I try to be a good dad..

  17. Bob says:

    Just from an outsiders view.. I hardly check the official blog anymore… Tons of Tony’s Ass Sniffers.

    I kinda like the real round the kitchen table approach that we have always had here…

    Yea we like what he does… Many of you think that HES TOTALLY HOTT…..Well in a clutching a bone in front way.

    So give us the goods girl, I have claws and not scared to use em ….

    MMMM NOT BOB….. MMMM Hank here

  18. catsworking says:

    I always enjoy Bourdain’s posts on his blog, and I scroll through the comments to see if there’s any meat there, but never find any. But where else are his fans going to sing his praises if not there? If they came over to Cats Working with vapid comments like that, you guys would shred them immediately.

    The cats are so pleased about that. They feel they have trained you well. (I know, you knew how to be smart-asses before they ever came along, but my walls stay dryer if I let them believe whatever they want.)

    They are chomping at the bit to get back to blogging. Socks Clinton died last week and they’ve been mum about it.

    Adele, fortunately, my hair grows pretty fast. Unfortunately, to let this mess grow out enough for anyone else to deal with, it’s going to be different lengths all over, with the Herman Munster hairline in the back the longest. I keep finding little pieces on the sides that were chopped almost to the root. I couldn’t have gotten a worse cut if I’d let the cats work me over.

  19. The Muse says:

    Ahhh, so dreams actually can come true! I would have faint in the instant I’d aproach to him cause he’s my all times platonic love. What a moment you had! I would give away everything I own just to meet him for a few seconds or minutes. And he even crossed a little chat with you and signed your book, priceless! It was worthy, every dime you paid, every large minute you spent on a line. Man!! Hahaha…And the mandatory questions, is he more gorgeus in person?, how does he smells like?,etc…Hmmm, and he’s actually been aware of you, sweet! And maybe he had laugh a lot about what we post in here. Nice job Cats, on behalf of those who does not have a single shot on meeting him. Excuse my bad written english…Lol.

  20. catsworking says:

    Muse, Bourdain does not smell at all. Yes, I’d say he is even better-looking in person, and very tall. And he has a very firm and warm handshake. I have small hands, and I felt like mine got lost in his.

    And his smile is great. All the more so because I was afraid he might scowl at me.

  21. Nancy (Not THAT Nancy) says:

    Sorry about posting on the Tony blog. I won’t do it again. Though I don’t think what I said was offensive in the least to Tony, and I don’t think I deserved to be ripped a new one by “Joy,” the sandy vagina woman, for commenting on my dislike about watching Tony eating goat head offal while the poor thing’s mouth was still grinning up at him.

    That place is a suck-up fest and not worth reading the comments, just his blog entries.

  22. catsworking says:

    No apology necessary, Nancy. I was just looking out for No. 1, I guess.

    I’ve posted comments on Bourdain’s blog twice, and felt uneasy about it, so I decided it was easiest to say whatever I feel the need to say about his work right here.

    I never did find where Joy picked up the sand in her vagina!

    There are often times on No Res when I have to leave the room or look away because I don’t need to see animals being slaughtered or him eating something with a face on it. That’s also why I rarely watch Zimmern. I just can’t take it.

  23. MorganLF says:

    Look, Juancho is clearly a tool. He’s in a huge fight with “Roland” take a look at post 442 under “Hierarchy of pork”. Roland accused Juancho’s family of being WWII Japanese collaborators and worse…I howled out loud when I read it pisser funny!

    I posted there long before I found Cat’s Working and they were usually withering quips about blog-hogs or mash notes to Tony.

    I mainly don’t bother to read them anymore either, but if I do occasionally read one that gives me douche chills, I may have to vent.

  24. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you always make my day! Well, I guess if Tony reads your comments here, he will be prepared for whatever he finds on his own blog. Heaven help him.

    You’re right about Juancho. Definitely spoiling for a fight with someone. I just hope he doesn’t find Cats Working. We’ve got claws and we’re not afraid to use them!

  25. Bob says:

    Geeze you Cats always with your Claws…..

    Thats why we have this little slice of Heaven.

    Away from the eye of the storm but firmly planted in the grip of the “Stuff”

    Morgan check your facebook left you message.


  26. Health day says:

    Nice post! Keep it real.I have looked over your blog a few times and I love it.

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