Bourdain goes back to the hot and stressful culinary grind
Anthony Bourdain has traveled all over our “hungry planet” to discover new and exotic cuisines, in order to elevate and spice up his shows’ viewers’ taste.
Recently, however, we caught a special program in which he went back to his roots and origins, not just as a chef, but as a workaday cook:
He spent an entire day slaving in the kitchen of a posh restaurant—three hours cooking for the lunch crowd, then almost five hours for the “dinner denizens,” all of whom were absolutely thrilled to belatedly learn that the famous chef was in charge of the kitchen!
Bourdain shared that he hadn’t cooked all day for around seven years, so it was both a nostalgic treat and physical shock for him to discover that he was too old for the daily grind!
The spirit was willing and even passionately eager but the flabby flesh, after years of relatively pampered celebrity was—weaker, to say the least!
In addition, Bourdain found himself surrounded by much younger assistants who were “subliminally” trying to show him up for the excessively celebrated and rewarded “star” chef some of them thought he has become.
Well, at the end of the long and grueling day (especially for an “old-timer” like him), he proved his younger colleagues wrong—by not quitting when he was behind, and feeling so exhausted and oppressed by the now unfamiliar heat and stress of the busy kitchen—that all he wanted to do was lie down!
But he stuck to his smoking, cooking guns—with the help of a similarly celebrated chef he had conscripted posthaste to help him out in his time of great need.
And the long ordeal finally ended on a triumphant note, with his young naysayers admitting that he had ultimately shown them up—Bourdain was glad that he had forced himself to try to reclaim his forgotten passion and vitality. But, just this once, OK?
We loved seeing the famous chef in a new, human and vulnerable light. Also plus points for us were the cooking “lessons” we picked up as we watched him and his cooking compadres trying to come up with perfect and perfectly memorable dishes, one after another—until, at the end of the long “experiment” and working day, they realized that they had repeated the same “miracle” scores of times—to their amazed patrons’ great joy!
Since Bourdain will probably not subject himself to such a rigorous test ever again, we hope that other famous TV chefs will follow his instructive examples and push themselves to the limit—just for old times’ sake!
How about it, Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray, Wolfgang Puck, Ming Tsai, Bobby Flay, Martin Yan, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Rocco DiSpirito—etc.?
And what about our Filipino culinary greats, like Glenda Barretto, Gene Gonzales, Rolando Laudico, Claude Tayag, Gaita Fores, Heny Sison, Boy Logro, etc.?
Can we persuade them to each do hands-on cooking in their signature restaurants’ hot, sweaty and smoky kitchens—unannounced—and give their hungry fans the culinary time of their lives—at popular prices? Looking forward to it!
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.