THE MAN WHO KNEW NO RESER­VA­TIONS

He was done with shock­ing peo­ple, Chef An­thony Bour­dain told us once. He clearly didn’t mean it…

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Shara Ashraf shara.ashraf@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Imag­ine a 5am tele­phonic in­ter­view with a glob­ally cel­e­brated man known to be blunt, grumpy, sar­cas­tic. You wake up much be­fore time, pore over your notes, and pray that your phone net­work doesn’t be­tray you. And the mo­ment you say “hello”, Chef An­thony Bour­dain tells you that he has been chill­ing in his ho­tel room, af­ter a hec­tic shoot­ing sched­ule, and en­quires about the weather in In­dia. Your ap­pre­hen­sions are shelved, you open up and what hap­pens next is an en­gag­ing, funny, en­rich­ing con­ver­sa­tion that one would al­ways re­mem­ber. Chef Bour­dain spoke about his pas­sion for ex­plor­ing new places, fam­ily, be­ing set up on a blind date, and the spicy fish head curry that he had in Ker­ala once.

It was 2013, and Bour­dain was talk­ing to us from Singapore, where he was busy shoot­ing for the sec­ond sea­son of his TV show for CNN, Parts Un­known. He told us, he was done with shock­ing peo­ple, us­ing swear words, and eat­ing bizarre stuff. “I am just not into shock­ing peo­ple any­more. I am done with that,” Bour­dain said. I asked if his daugh­ter Ari­ane had mel­lowed him? “Noth­ing ever re­mains the same when you be­come a fa­ther of a lit­tle girl,” he said. Car­toons had long re­placed co­caine in his life. He had spo­ken of bat­tling ad­dic­tion. In an­other in­ter­view, two years later, he told us how he fell in love with Pun­jab. While shoot­ing, he ate at road­side dhabas and tried out the lan­gar (com­mu­nity lunch) at the Golden Tem­ple, Am­rit­sar. “You find such cap­ti­vat­ing im­ages, stun­ning colours, and de­li­cious food. I ate very, very, very well in Pun­jab. We did our best to find the or­di­nary, ev­ery­day food that Pun­jabis like and ap­pre­ci­ate,” he said. And not once did he fall sick. “Peo­ple in Amer­ica of­ten ask me if I don’t get sick. The truth is that I’ve nev had any prob­lems in Ind I’ve al­ways eaten spec­tac­u­larly well in the dhabas,” he shared ex­cit­edly, and we didn’t doubt that a bit. He died on June 8, but his con­ta­gious en­thu­si­asm will con­tinue to in­spire ev­ery­one who knew him.

PHOTO: IN­STA­GRAM/ANTHONYBOURDAIN

Very at ease in the great out­doors, Chef An­thony Bour­dain with his catch, a huge cod, in New­found­land

In in­ter­views with HT City, t con­ver­sa­tions flowed freely, and the chef spoke of his good time in Pun­jab

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