THE MAN WHO KNEW NO RESERVATIONS
He was done with shocking people, Chef Anthony Bourdain told us once. He clearly didn’t mean it…
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.
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