Anthony Bourdain’s Doing Fame the Hard Way

By Karen

Rachael Ray’s fruit basket caper got me thinking about the relativity of fame. When Cats Working first rattled the blogosphere with several Bourdain posts, the reaction from almost everyone I told was, “Anthony Who?”

Nobody would have drawn a blank on Rachael Ray.

Bourdain may be king of the Travel Channel but, let’s face it, it’s cable. Ray’s on network AND cable AND a gazillion cookbooks AND products (including dog food). AND she knows Oprah.

Bourdain doesn’t come close to such recognition, and he readily admits it.

But I do think Tony has more fun because he’s himself most of the time. I could never see him standing in some stage kitchen, whipping up glop while chit-chatting with guests who bore him.

As a novelist in the ’90s, Bourdain started conquering fame one reader at a time — until Kitchen Confidential put him on the map.

That led to TV, which spawned the demand for personal appearances, a time-consuming, arduous pursuit of fame that now keeps him away from home and family a lot.

It’s moot to ask if Bourdain could ever be as big as Rachael Ray because I don’t think he wants to be. In his special niche of food and travel, he hasn’t resorted to shilling for products he doesn’t use or believe in, although he probably could. You won’t see Anthony Bourdain cookware stacked beside Emeril’s at Bed, Bath & Beyond, or his face smirking from jars of his secret spice blends on grocery shelves.

That’s just not his style.

Bourdain’s main attractions — his persona and his thoughts — can’t be so easily packaged. But thank God he writes, so we’ll always have his books.

Latest Tidbits:

The Knoxville News Sentinel uncovered in an interview that Tony graduated from high school a year early and he takes a hard line toward addiction, saying:

“I see it as a character flaw, not an illness.”

At The Question Club, Bourdain beat Gordon Ramsay in a recent popularity contest.

Noodlepie has video of Tony talking about Vietnam, but what really got my attention was this fan e-mail from Bourdain, calling Noodlepie his “go-to” blogger on Vietnam.

Tony was in Tennessee on April 4, and Geography 2.0 had an interesting take on that.

Play Groups Are No Place For Children was there, too — and she got pictures.

OhNoTheyDidnt also had a recent up-close-and-personal Tony encounter when he visited her unspecified college campus.

So far I haven’t seen his reaction to Michelle Obama digging up part of the White House lawn for a vegetable and herb garden as if she’s working on orders from Alice Waters, but Alice was certainly pleased.

And finally, Cats Working reader Joanna provided a photo that appears to be Ottavia with the famous Bourdain knife on her right shoulder. Now we know why she had no problem with Tony getting that skull tattoo.


(Photo - Josh Ozersky - Grub Street: NY Mag)

And here’s a writeup and more photos of Tony and friends (including Rachael Ray) at the event in South Beach last year where this pic was captured.


14 Responses to Anthony Bourdain’s Doing Fame the Hard Way

  1. Bob says:

    Finally More Tony, enough Obama Mania .. I kid cause I care…. More on this later …


  2. catsworking says:

    Bob, we let Adele hog the blog last week because she was obsessed with Michelle’s fashion choices and we wanted her to get it out of her system. After France, her interest waned and we were able to pry the keyboard out of her paws.

  3. Bob says:

    Great post there Karen…

    Loaded with tidbits….

    Sounds like he has been busy with the Kid and his book tours.

  4. Adele says:

    Looking at Play Groups Are No Place For Children’s photo started me to wondering how many photos exist with Tony and a female fan, who exhibits a fair amount of cleavage. I’ll bet the number is legion and would make a great photo montage.

  5. Bob says:

    Funny I was thinking the same thing myself. 🙂
    Have to start looking for those on line!!!

  6. catsworking says:

    You people are sick!!!

    That’s why I love you. 😉

  7. Bob says:

    Did some digging re.. Well Boobs. Didn’t find them but I did find some Bourdain Gold.

    Check these out
    Young Bourdain hes damm near an infant here…
    Not a speck of grey

    35 pictures in total, some good ones alas no boobies

    We love you to Karen

  8. catsworking says:

    Bob, that was a great of pure Bourdain. Some of my favorite images of him. And it’s true. He has grayed quite a bit in a relatively short time. But like most men, it only improves his looks, damn him.

  9. Just for the record, I don’t typically allow my boobs out to play, especially not for celebrities! My husband didn’t bother telling me that my shirt kept coming open, probably because he was enjoying the view! Next time I wear that shirt, I’ll remember to bring a safety pin (or to drink less so that I’m more aware.)

    Fun blog you have here, I’ve really enjoyed catching up on your Anthony Bourdain posts and learning more about him.

  10. catsworking says:

    Hi, Jennifer! Your picture wasn’t that bad. I didn’t realize it myself at the time, but my left boob probably TOUCHED Bourdain’s chest when we had a picture taken together in Durham. I’m STILL embarrassed about that.

  11. MorganLF says:

    Gals, gals it’s no use were on to you. Who y’all fooling? Unintended breast contact with Bourdain? No such thing!

  12. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I swear to God, I had no idea we were making contact. I was so conscious of having his FACE right next to mine, the rest of my body was forgotten. I was also aware that the famous thumb ring I’ve seen a hundred times on TV was on my shoulder.

    Weird what we think about in a heightened moment, isn’t it?

  13. MorganLF says:

    RUB IT IN! thumb ring..shoulder..swoon

  14. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I know. Every time I see that thumb ring now, I think, “It touched my shoulder!” In fact, I’ve got 2 just like it (have had them since about 1997), but I don’t wear them on my thumb.

    Just imagine what Ottavia must be thinking every time she sees him on TV…

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