Bourdain Sightings Here and There

By Karen

On September 25, Anthony Bourdain was at the Louisville, Kentucky, IdeaFestival and sold out the house, according to the Courier-Journal. He also seemed to have some fresh material. At least, I’ve never heard him deliver this line:

“The filet mignon is the Paris Hilton of meat — lean and completely without personality. This is not the way to a chef’s heart.”

And here’s a photo.

An anecdote about Bourdain visiting Vancouver called “Light My Fire” that’s a few years old has surfaced, but it’s still worth reading.

It appears we’re in for another New York episode of No Reservations. Bourdain recently spent 5 days in the Hudson Valley. Fortunately, he brought along his pal, Michael Ruhlman, who always livens things up.

For the Love of Food met Bourdain and Ruhlman when they dropped in on Bourdain’s alma mater, the CIA, during their road trip. (That’s the Culinary Institute of America, not the spy agency, if you’re a new Bourdainiac.).

Ruhlman blogged about the trip, which sounded strange, to put it mildly. And he says Bourdain talked a lot about his cat, which his readers seemed to fixate on. Bourdain even weighed in with a comment in defense of the cat.

What I found most jarring was the report of Bourdain selling No Res T-shirts to CIA students from the trunk of his 1965-vintage rental convertible, as noted by the local Times Herald-Record.

Signing books is one thing, but…


20 Responses to Bourdain Sightings Here and There

  1. Cindy says:

    I think the T shirts had something on them in reference to Skyline Chili in Cleveland. This place was a running joke throughout that show and Tony was giving Ruhlman some grief.

  2. catsworking says:

    Cindy, I have no doubt you’re right. Since Bourdain has avoided shilling for anyone so assiduously in the past, I just can’t see him going around hawking T-shirts unless there’s a joke in it. Especially after the Emmy win.

    I think Ruhlman gave Tony some grief in his blog post about the adventure as well. Even though Bourdain will be close to home, it should be an interesting episode because Ruhlman is always good for mixing things up a bit.

  3. Fanfromfaraway says:

    Haha, your blog is more interesting than Tonys 😀 I read every single entry from here and many comments too… it took many hours but was worth of all fun. Your meeting with Tony was absolutely hilarious!

    I think maybe you are doing a favour to Tony, revealing some “secrets” we all “need” to know, but not being nasty or anything like that. Some other, who did not like Tony could be, but now “they” do not have anything new to tell 😀

    Keep up the good work!

  4. boscodagama says:

    Am reading a food travelogue by a Brit named Simon Majumdar called EAT MY GLOBE. Bourdain does a blurb on the back and is mentioned in the text.. see:

    Yesterday, on my last day in Hong Kong (more about this to appear soon on EAT MY GLOBE) I decided to head down to Lan Kwai Fon, the area of buzzy hills adjacent to the truly crazy area of Central, and find some interesting places to eat.

    With full “where no man has gone before” hat on, I wandered into a shabby looking roast meat shop and sat down at a communal table and started sipping on the watery tea in the grimy cup they gave me with self satisfied thoughts of what a brave pioneering traveller I was. Even more smug did I become when I made myself understood and ordered an excellent plate of roast pork and goose on top of some piping hot rice.

    HK$27(about £1.90 at current rates) later, I wandered out feeling pleasingly full and equally pleased with myself as I stood across the road to take a picture of the shop front to show you good folks, only to see the familiar lengthy fizog of Mr A Bourdain gurning at me from a newspaper article in the front of the restaurant. Apparently, Dragon Roast Meats (for that was its name) was a particular favourite of this cook on his tour.

    So, pioneering gourmand credibility shot down and smashed to a million shards, I went off in search of some other backstreet joint and was drawn by the sight of angry looking men making noodles and fish balls in another tiny restaurant. After a long queue, I was seated at a table with four other hungry lunchers and ordered some “chutney pork with chewy noodles” Again, smug mode was engaged until one of the other diners moved his newspaper to reveal, under the glass of the table top, a copy of the same article declaring that this noodle place was another of AB’s favourites.

    Well, he has excellent taste as both Dragon Roast Meats and Mac’s Noodle Shop were highlights of my trip, but I can’t hide a slight disappointment that my attempts to portray myself as a culinary Dr Livingstone lay shattered alongside my dreams to win the world heavyweight championship (it could happen) and to play Nankee- Poo in a West End version of The Mikado.

    To make me feel better, my amazingly generous hosts, Francine and David, invited me to have dinner with them somewhere rather swish at the restaurant of one of HK’s most prestigious member’s clubs.

    So, after a couple of cocktails at The Mandarin Oriental, we headed to The Derby Restaurant where we enjoyed a rather splendid tasting menu with accompanying wines. Highlights included a ravioli injected with egg yolk which poached in a pork knuckle broth, a lobster tail cooked sous vide and a “linguini” of squid.

    At the end of the meal, I was feeling much better and went to have a chat with the chef, Donavan Cooke. He hails from Hull and it tells in his liberal hilarious use of rather fruity language. He worked at The Savoy, Harvey’s (where he took over from one Mr Ramsay as sous chef) and MPW at The Oriental as well as running numerous restaurants in Melbourne.

    So, at last I had chance to tell folks about something new and someone of whom they may not otherwise have heard.

    That is until I explained to him about EAT MY GLOBE and why I was in HK to which he replied “ oh, like my mate Anthony Bourdain”

    My heart sank like a two year old’s first attempt at a soufflé as my dreams of a career as a food loving Magellan dwindled. He further stuck his 10 inch Global knife in by saying “ oh yeah, he was here not so long ago and I think I am mentioned in his new book”

    So, as I said, its official, the epithet “ Bourdain Ate Here” is now to be produced on stickers and left anywhere the man licks a plate clean.

  5. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Fanfromfaraway! Thank you for the kind words about our work here, and thank you for taking the time to read the whole story and accepting it in the spirit we intended, which is not to be mean (well, not too mean). 😉

    I agree with you that I may be doing Bourdain a favor by providing some of the details of his life that his fans are curious about, without digging in his trash for information I shouldn’t have. Everything here is from the public domain or personal experience (except for some of the comments, which I can’t verify).

    The week the Sardinia episode aired, which starred Ottavia, this blog reached an all-time high with about 12,000 hits over 2 days, proving the curiosity is there.

    For other readers, may I just infer from your e-mail address that you are in Finland? I only ask to let Bourdain know that he’s got a Cats Working fan there, in case he or Ottavia are reading. Our paws have a long reach!

    If I am lucky, I will be crossing paths with Bourdain again on November 11 in Washington, DC. At least, I know we will be in the same room. If I do get to speak to him, rest assured I will duly report the event here.

  6. catsworking says:

    Bosco, that is hilarious!

    If Simon Majumdar wants to find a place untouched by Bourdain, he should come to Richmond, VA. I can’t name a place where he’d find memorable food (except for maybe Q, a great BBQ place), but nobody would be claiming any Tony sightings. I don’t think he’s ever even done a book-signing here.

  7. boscodagama says:

    EAT MY GLOBE is pretty pathetic now that I’m halfway through with it. He’s more a “competition eater” than someone with a palate. And he’s more than a bit rude. Dissapointing.

  8. Fanfromfaraway says:

    Yep, Cats working (and Tony) have lots of fans also here in Finland 😀

    8.10.2009 starts a new season here, so we come a little bit late, but reading these stories help me to focus on the right issues…

    BTW Tony should come to visit our country because it is far more interesting than our neighbouring country Sweden where he has been. And bring along his beautiful and sweet wife too, because Italys primeminister Silvio Berlusconi has said that finnish food is something like the worst in the whole wide world. Tony could prove him being wrong (or not :/ )

    Maybe we do not know what prosciutto is but who cares when have mämmi 😉

    Looking forvard to your (and Tonys) adventures 😀

  9. catsworking says:

    Faraway, I guess you will be getting the second half of Season 5, which just finished in the U.S. It was pretty tame stuff, but the Sardinia episode with Ottavia and her family made for a nice finish.

    I would also love to see Tony travel move through the Scandinavian countries. I have a particular weakness for Norway, although I have never been there. I hope to take a voyage on the Hurtigruten some day, up the west coast.

    Maybe Tony hasn’t been back because he didn’t have good food in Iceland either. I think that’s where he ate fermented shark. But mammi looks like it might be something for Tony. When I first saw the picture in your link, I thought it had blood in it. If so, then he’d DEFINITELY want some!

  10. Cindy says:

    Wall Street Journal has a good article about the personal attendance events of “rock star chefs”.

  11. catsworking says:

    Wow, thanks for the link, Cindy. 40 appearances next year. Sounds like moving to Vietnam isn’t on Bourdain’s dance card for 2010 either.

  12. Fanfromfaraway says:

    No blood in Mämmi, but still interesting 😀

    Tony should visit Lapland and the Sami people through Norway, Finland and Russia (and not include Sweden…) reindeer and salmon etc.

    Or Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia including Finland…

    It is the season 5, already saw an advertisement 😀

  13. catsworking says:

    Faraway, I think if we went back and counted all the episodes, we would find that Bourdain spends far more of his time in warm climates than in cold ones. He’s particularly fond of all things Asian and has spent a lot of personal time in the Caribbean in the past.

    I think your suggestions would make for an interesting episode or two. Let’s hope he sees this and considers it.

    And while speaking of cold climates, if Bob from Winnipeg checks in, I just watched a movie with Renee Zellweger called New in Town that was filmed in Winnipeg (which stood in for Minnesota), and they did a big special feature on how COLD and difficult a shoot it was, with temps 50 below zero.

  14. Wendy says:

    Love your blog!!
    Not sure if anyone else has shared a picture of Tony on the set of Yo Gabba Gabba, which I found today ( My kids love the show and I love Tony, so I’m hoping he’s going to make an appearance.

  15. Bob says:

    Yes New in Town was filmed here, actually a friend of mine had one of her sons in it!!

    Now every production that comes here in the Winter always plays up how cold it is. I can’t honestly remember it being -50 here for any of it. Well MAYBE if you include Windchill Factor.

    Actually a lot of movies besides “My Winnipeg” get shot here, we were used in Brad Pitt’s Western the other year, and we stood in for Chicago in “Shall We Dance”

    There are normally two or three BIG Movies that come through here every year, “Capote” is another one that comes to mind. As was Robin Williams’ “The Big White.” They were going to use fake snow for that one… Till they got dumped on TEE HEE.

    Yea it’s cold here in the winter but its supposed to be, it is Canada after all. If you dress for it properly it’s no problem. If you happen to get a bit of frostbite or lose a finger or two there is always someone willing to share a drink or stoke the fire for ya, EH.

    Actually one thing about Bourdain that irks me is his puffy black parka, suck it up man half the time when he wears it, it’s not even cold.

    Just Sayin..

    Take me somewhere Warm

  16. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Wendy! Unfortunately, the link you provided gave me a “page not found” message. Was Tony there with Ariane? He has said in the past that Yo Gabba Gabba was her favorite show (don’t know if that’s still true, since she seems to watch a lot of shows now, according to his blog).

    I must confess that I tried watching an episode once and couldn’t sit through the whole thing without being tempted to gouge out my eyes with scissors. But I don’t have a toddler.

    UPDATE: Eureka! I found the photo! Readers, click this link and scroll down to Sept. 18. Tony, but no Ariane.

  17. Wendy says:

    The blog is (Yo Blogga Blogga!) and it’s under photo of the day on September 18. Unfortunately, he was not with Ariane in the photo and there is no other information about it.

    I have to admit that I wasn’t a fan of the show, but it definitely grows on you!

  18. catsworking says:

    Then I’ve seen more of Winnipeg than I realized, because I’ve seen several of the movies you mentioned, Bob.

    You should rent New in Town and watch the special feature on the weather. You’re describing a different place than the frigid wasteland they were in.

    Bourdain may whip out the heavy coat prematurely sometimes, but there are others when he’s woefullly underdressed for the cold. That little bit in his opening sequence where he skids on ice comes to mind. Can’t remember where that came from. Iceland maybe?

  19. Bob says:

    Another movie that Supposedly slags our weather here is “Whiteout” with Kate Beckensdale apparently she was given a Guide to the Elements about dealing with our weather… I saw an interview with her in which she said the book told them not to face a west wind and breathe lest their lungs freeze, not to go out after drinking alcohol or you will die…yadda yadda.

    Actually that last one makes sense I once went to a party at a Dorm here dressed lightly and heavily intoxicated my gf had to come rescue me after the guys at the party called her cause I was determined to walk home. It was about -30 or so. So the chances of me making it home without passing out in a snow bank were pretty slim.

  20. MorganLF says:

    You Canandians kill me! Heavily intoxicated LOL! I once was on a cruise and there were a bunch of Canadian guys on board. Funny as shit and ALWAYS hammered, but very generous to me and a girlfriend; always picking up the check.

    One day while sitting around the pool sipping on Pina Coladas one of the guys told me his roomate had woken up screaming in the middle of the night about his pending VISA bill. We drank a lot on that trip.

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