Anthony Bourdain is a poet. Praising the power of craftsmanship in typical Bourdain candor and eloquence (“I may not strike you as the most romantic guy in the world, but there are certain objects that inspire even a cold-blooded cynic [like] me into flights of romance”), the chef, author, and television personality recently attended the Rare Craft Fellowship Awards, presented in association with The Balvenie, and uninterruptedly lauded the art of slow, patient, and old-school artistry.
Here, we chat with Bourdain and learn a few very surprising things about him in the process (namely about his drinking habits...).
None of His Favorite Traveling Destinations are in America
The top three places he’s ever visited? “Japan, Vietnam, and Spain,” he says.
He’s a Major Proponent of Keeping Things Old School
“For 30 years, I was a chef and a cook, where you were almost sure to be punished for your best efforts. The best thing you made, you got slapped down for again and again,” he tells the audience. “The whole business, everything in society conspires to tell us that we should dumb things down. We should make things stupider, we should make things cheaper, we should make things faster, we should appeal to a wider demographic: this is the enemy of quality,” he explains while reiterating the importance of devotion to a craft.
He Drinks His Whiskey With an Ice Cube
When asked about the three Balvenie whiskeys offered at the event, Bourdain cites the The Balvenie Thirty as his favorite. “It’s hard to argue with the 30-year,” he says. “I’ve already made a lot of enemies here because I [slip] the occasional ice cube in my whiskey, but I wouldn’t be putting an ice cube in The Thirty.”
He Takes Cabs Over Subways… Most of the Time
Although he prefers to ride a taxi around New York City, Bourdain mentions the usefulness of subways, especially during rush hour. “They are safe these days and have been for ages,” he says.
He’s Constantly Surprised by the Art of Making Food
“No matter how many years you’ve worked with bread, there is something magical about it,” he tells the audience. “You know what happens when you put dough in the oven, but, [every time] it comes out, for me anyway, I can’t believe this happened. How did it happen? Something goes in raw and uninteresting and bland and it comes out divine. Something magical happened in there.”
His Ultimate Meal Would be in Tokyo
When asked where he would consume a meal if money was no object, Bourdain mentions Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. In NYC, he cites Time Warner Center's Masa.
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