From being the “bad boy of cuisine”, this 54-year-old, father of a three and a half year old “raw oyster-loving” toddler appears warm, fuzzy, almost downright blissed-out until he opens his mouth!
He still maintains his wicked charm, he still has the ability to make a puritan gasp with his trademark expletives, and yes, the man can talk. All of the little less than two hours that I spent the evening with an auditorium-full of people at Massey Hall last night, my jaws were aching. I was constantly grinning, smiling, chuckling and the rest of the times laughing out loud at whatever Anthony Bourdain said. His stories about sex, drugs, crazy food, travel and dining culture make you lust for more.
But what did make multiple entries during the last night of No Reservations: An Evening with Anthony Bourdain was his unpretentiousness, his humility and his greatness. I had the fleeting urge to get up from my balcony seat and go sit by his feet, just to hear him talk from closer.
Bourdain just makes everything sound irresistible. Even a pig’s uncooked gut. Four minutes into the evening and Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, Gordan “Hell” Ramsay and his other Food Network peers, along with food bloggers and critics came under Bourdain’s chopping board, but just out of humor and not hubris. But even before he did that, he slings at himself first. Making pot shots at the way he is hypocritical about organic food. And calls himself a calls himself a “jaded, overprivileged foodie”.
When I left home, I took sheaves of paper and a pen stuffed in my handbag, with my camera of course. The aching wannabe journalist in me was crying out loud for an opportunity like tonight’s. But who was I kidding? The papers remained inside my handbag, I remained glued to the chair with no elbow room, for I was too mesmerized by this solitary man. He walked on stage on time, with a bottle of beer in his hand. His crop of peppered hair slickly brushed back, his dark, charcoal denims snugly fit on his lean bod which assumedly so had travelled, worked out and ate well. Giving him the right balance to understand cultures and kitchens around the world.
He seemed at ease with the expecting crowd around him and more importantly with himself. Each time he opened his mouth, which was pretty much all the one hour forty minutes of the evening, I felt I needed to log on to Wikipedia or dictionary.com to see what the word he just created meant. All hopes of course of taking notes had evaporated as soon as he had appeared on stage. No one can keep pace with this man. Not even his own shadow.
The un-constrained evening of hysterical culinary-literature ended too soon. He took questions from some people who chose the occasion to hobnob with him for the 10-seconds of time that they were blessed with. I, of course had no such luck. So I did what I could do best, down a stiff vodka with OJ with my husband and replayed the memories of the very sexy, very seductive Mister Anothony Bourdain.
(Poor quality of the stage photos should to be blamed on the no-photography rule @ Massey Hall. These are sneak shots by a very smitten woman whose husband was not too pleased with her breaking the rules.)