Anthony Bourdain (Bore-Dane) was once this hot-shot chef who worked in some of the best restaurants in the world. To him, I’m sure that feels like several lifetimes ago. Today and for the better part of the last two decades, Bourdain has had what I think is one of the best jobs on the planet. That job? Traveling that planet in ways that are beyond what any adventure-seeker or foodie would dare dream of.
He has ping-ponged between cable networks and countries over the years with an array of different shows but always revolving around food. Currently his show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is in its fifth season on CNN. You can find the first four seasons, along with several seasons and episodes of his previous shows (No Reservations, Layover, and Mind Of A Chef, which he narrates) on Netflix. In addition, the award-winning cinematography in all of these shows give a visual interpretation of that part of the world, the food, and the culture for all its beauty and uniqueness.
Bourdain is able to immerse himself and adapt within any culture almost immediately. He shows all of us what it’s like to be there from the eyes of a local. He shows you the restaurants and foods that only they (the locals) frequent and eat. Whether he’s seated at a formal dining table, in line at a food truck, or at a farmer’s market, he always shares a meal with the local youth, historians, academics, and even rebels talking about the history and current events of that locale. Bourdain’s New York City bravado, insightfulness, fearlessness, & hilarious and often vulgar manner of speaking somehow puts all of these people at ease.
Sadly, there have been cases where some of the people he’s spoken to end up in prison arguably because the messages of hope they share for a better life for themselves and their countrymen go against that government’s oppressive regime.
Bourdain has undeniably proven that food is so much more than something necessary for basic survival. Food IS a universal language that breaks through social, economical, cultural, and political barriers. He has traveled to places most of us would probably be too scared to visit; much less document for the world to see given their history. Places like Russia, Iran, Cuba, and Central Africa. He has also visited many of the major cities in the USA that have an array of unique cuisine with a rich history and/or obvious international influence. Places like New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, and (of course) Miami.
Anthony Bourdain is almost like the Big Bird for adults. He teaches you about the different people, cultures, and food from around the world in the most honest and unapologetic way. He is also an accomplished author having written several books about his life experiences, travels, and culinary training that definitely deserve your attention.