BY CARY ASPINWALL World Scene Writer
Thursday, June 10, 2010
6/10/10 at 4:35 AM
The thing that Anthony Bourdain gushes about these days is not the latest hotspot for haute cuisine or a recent globe-hopping adventure; it's his 3-year-old daughter.
"It's pretty hard to be angry at the world with you have this beautiful little girl dancing in a tutu in front of you," he said in a recent phone interview.
This from the bad boy chef who wrote "Kitchen Confidential," a best-selling memoir of drugs and debauchery behind the scenes of the restaurant world?
These days, Bourdain's life is more Nick Jr., less "Easy Rider."
When not filming his Travel Channel show "No Reservations," his off-camera adventures involve trips to see his wife's family in Sardinia, Italy, or a beach hotel in Miami, Fla., where his daughter likes to swim in the pool.
"It's all about my daughter; it's all about what she likes," he said.
He's still the go-to guy when The New York Times wants a quote about how "everybody smokes dope after work" in the restaurant world, or when cheeseball Food Network hosts need a verbal dressing down.
Fans will get the full-on, uncensored Bourdain when his "No Reservations: An Evening With Anthony Bourdain" comes to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center's Chapman Music Hall on Saturday. His tour coincides with the release of his newest book, "Medium Raw."
"It's about what's happened to me in the 10 years since 'Kitchen Confidential' was published and how the restaurant business has changed since then," he said.
He wanted to acknowledge how the world of cooking and restaurants has changed in the past decade. Though he might have softened his stance on certain celebrity chefs and trends through the years, he's still not afraid to be blunt.
Or as Bourdain told TV Guide a few years ago: "I'm on TV on the strength of a fairly obnoxious, over-testosteroned, salty book. So nobody expected me to morph into Tyler Florence overnight."
In that vein, "Medium Raw" features a chapter titled "Alan Richman Is a Douchebag." There's also a chapter where he argues in his head with legendary "Chez Panisse" founder and passionate organic/local food advocate Alice Waters.
"Even though I respect her a great deal and agree with almost everything she says, I just hate how she says it," he said. "It irritates me."
He thinks Waters' quest for organics sometimes misses an obvious point: Many poor Americans can't afford organic milk or meat. Perhaps he's softened a bit because of age or fatherhood because he buried the hatchet a while back with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
"Earlier in my career," Bourdain said, "I used to make really savage fun of Jamie Oliver — I feel bad about that now, especially since he's trying to do such great things (with his show 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' on ABC)."
He's taken plenty of swipes at Food Network star Guy Fieri, saying things like "(he) looks like he's been designed by committee," but he let Fieri get his revenge by judging a cooking contest Bourdain was in recently, he said.
"If you can't make fun of Guy Fieri, then what is the point of life? Some people just irritate me," he said. "I'm never going to be able to watch Sandra Lee without my head wanting to explode."
He realizes the paradox, that he's part of the problem: a bonafide celebrity chef with his own TV show. But he's not traveling with an entourage or a long list of demands (his contract rider: Throat Coat tea for his voice, Red Bull to stay awake and rock music before he goes on stage so the audience isn't lulled to sleep by some smooth jazz monstrosity).
He doesn't Tweet, he doesn't have his own Facebook page, and he's not trying to market his own line of cookware or grilling sauces.
"I do what I do and hopefully people like it," he said. "I don't want to pander to an audience. I got here by not giving a s--t. I would like to continue with that business model."
This will be Bourdain's first trip to Oklahoma, but it's for one night only — no time for side trips for bison roundups, Meersburgers, Nelson's chicken fried steak or fry bread (all of which would surely rank better than his least favorite food adventure: fermented shark in Iceland).
That doesn't mean there will never be a "No Reservations: Oklahoma" episode.
"If I've learned anything, I'm almost always wrong, so I try to go into it with a clean slate and an open mind," he said. "Anything is possible."
Getting to know Tony
Anthony Bourdain made a splash with his 2000 book, “Kitchen
Before becoming an author and TV star, he was the chef of New
York City’s Brasserie Les Halles.
His newest book, “Medium Raw,” was released Tuesday.
A few of his other titles worth checking out: “The Nasty Bits: Collected
Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones,” “A Cook’s Tour:
Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines,” and “Anthony Bourdain’s
Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic
You can also catch reruns of the most recent season of his show,
“No Reservations,” on the Travel Channel (cable 59) weekdays at
noon and 1 p.m.
NO RESERVATIONS: AN EVENING WITH ANTHONY BOURDAIN
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Chapman Music Hall,
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $35.50-$45.50, tulsaworld.com/pac
Cary Aspinwall 581-8477
Anthony Bourdain travels to locations such as Machu Picchu for his show “No Reservations.” Courtesy / The Travel Channel