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.
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.
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.
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.