Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meeting Anthony Bourdain

One of the things I love about A is that he loves his work. I mean, REALLY likes what he does. He's a chef (though he says he isn't technically, but whatever) and it's not a world I understand much. I'm a foodie, definitely, but let's be honest, I'm a ghaati foodie. I love toasted cheese sandwiches dipped in tomato sauce. I'll eat anything as long as it's spicy. I cannot appreciate subtle flavours. If the food doesn't make my throat burn and my eyes water, I don't like it. I am however adventurous with my meats, so that's something.

When A was here last month, eating out with him was an experience. Firstly, he pretty much monopolises the menu and the ordering. 'Hmmm, I think we should have....' and that was it. Then of course when the food came, our man had a comment for each dish. But he was generous with his 'brethren'. If he though people were paying less attention to the food, he would say, 'I think we should eat as as well as talk.' He tipped vigorously. And I watched, amused and fascinated by his bond to those who do what he does.
But the kitchen is not my room. I know nothing of the workings of pots and pans and flavours. I will probably learn someday because it's in my blood, but as of now, I am unashamedly the eater.
But I wanted a glimpse of A's world. Of what he does for 15-16 hours a day for six days a week. And why he loves it enough to ensure he shows up on time after three hours of sleep and with a hangover the size of a beer factory .
So, I did what I do best. I turned to a book. Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. I know nothing about the man except that this book changed A's life years ago.
I didn't expect anything from the book..I simply took it off the bookshelf and started reading. It might as well as have been A talking to me. I'm halfway through the book and I'm hooked. Bourdain doesn't give bullshit. He's not talking about how to cook or recipes or how a chef is really an artist. He loves food, loves his work, loves the lifestyle that goes with being a chef. It's a bawdy, bare-boned world where your work is all that matters. Nobody cares how you look, who you married or how many lines of coke you snorted last night. Unless they want to buy some off you.
I've never taken coke and I never will. But I wholly respect anyone who can be stoned out their brains, but never use that as an excuse for shoddy work.
I'm about halfway through the book, and I'm grinning at regular intervals, because...A's living this life man! The sweat and the burns and constantly smelling of the kitchen. All of it. When he was here, he brought up a rusty oven from his garage, cleaned off the dust, fixed the knobs and proceeded to make dinner. That's probably one of the many times I've fallen in love with him.
Back to Bourdain now!

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