Anthony Bourdain – A Cook’s Tour

Anthony Bourdain
Kepler’s Books
Menlo Park, CA
January 15, 2002, 7:30pm

cover cover

The room filled quickly, Mr. Bourdain being a FoodTV celebrity now, I’m sure word spreads quickly that he’ll be in town. The Bay Area folk are different though, I get the feeling that most of these people knew of “Tony” before A Cook’s Tour showed up on Channel 35. Us Northern Californians like our food!

So the star comes strolling in to the bookstore at about 7:15 or so, walks right through the crowd like there aren’t enormous, life-sized posters of him plastered all over the place. No matter though, no one says a word to him, just a few smiles.

The reading and discussion begins with Tony talking about why he wrote the book: “…because it was the thinnest pretext to bounce around the world satisfying my every whim.” I like this guy already, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that for years! He went on to read two excerpts from A Cook’s Tour, “Reasons you don’t want to be on TV: Part one in a series” and Chapter xxx, “The West Coast.” He chose that because you can’t smoke in California…he didn’t get much sympathy from most of the crowd but ended up getting a few suggestions of what bars he could smoke in around the area.

Then it was time for the questions.

  • Question 1: “I’m a vegan. (the crowd erupts in laughter.) Why don’t you like us?”What a brilliant way to start the evening! He says vegetarianism and veganism to him is like painting with 2 colors, there are so many things you’re missing. And not to mention that non-dairy substitute products all taste like spackle. Then a classic Bourdain moment, “I’ve done everything possible to piss you people off and you’re still so nice to me…I’m just guessing you don’t get enough animal protein to get angry.” I really love this man…even though I was vegetarian for years and still don’t eat red meat…I love this man.


  • “What’s your favorite meal in Manhattan?”- “Pastrami Sandwiches, Barney Greengrass, sucking out bone marrow at Prune, 2nd Ave Deli and sometimes just a big Ball Park Frank”
    …what a New Yorker!


  • “Where did you eat out here?”Breakfast at Swan Oyster Depot, “A damn near religious experience.” I do believe there needs to be a FoodPorn visit for some ocean slime…mmmmm.


  • “What’s your favorite food movie?”Food movie: Tampopo (did I mention the love?) Restaurant movie: The Big Night


  • “Should I go to the CIA or get an apprenticeship?”Dishwashing is just as valuable as Culinary school. It let’s you answer the question, “Do I really want to be in the restaurant business?”


  • “What did you think of the French Laundry?”It was the most “goddamned impressive meal I have ever had in my life.” And he has “boundless admiration” for Thomas Keller. Keller has a unique ability to combine not only culinary ability but ambience and happier, earlier times from childhood, all in the dishes he serves. He is “amazing,” a “force of nature,” “WOW.” He goes into much more detail about this in his book.

This was a very fun evening. After the reading and Q&A session, we got our books signed and I gave Mr. Bourdain a request for an interview for this section of the site, let’s hope that happens!! He’s a great, straight-forward, no-boundaries, New Yorker… you gotta love it!

Get a copy of A Cook’s Tour and Kitchen Confidential, you’ll love them!