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Questions for Anthony Bourdain. February 3, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. For a fan of Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations,” author and chef, surely a dream come true would be the news that Mr. Bourdain was turning up in your vicinity, or at least reasonably close. Such was my good luck when I heard that Tony would be appearing at the State Theatre in Easton, a mere hour from here, on February 11.

Better still, our local paper, the Allentown, PA Morning Call, was sponsoring a contest for free tickets to see Tony at the State Theatre. The contest winner would get two front-row tickets plus dinner at an Easton restaurant of note, and the runner-up would receive two tickets to the show. Not being one to sign up for contests in general, I went online and signed up for this one. And, I have to assume, now that February has arrived, my usual luck attended me and I didn’t win.

Well, heartaches, nothin’ but heartaches, in the immortal words of my friend Edith. (Though I suspect our friend Ben is probably still wiping his brow in relief.) But then, yesterday, Morning Call food editor Diane Stoneback interviewed the famous chef prior to his visit in an article called “Chef’s tongue can be sharp as a knife” (head to www.themorningcall.com to read it). OFB, perhaps to make amends for his ill-disguised delight that we wouldn’t be going to the actual talk, brought me the section of the paper specially.

The part of the article that really caught my attention (besides, of course, the giant photo of the very easy-on-the-eyes chef himself) was that Tony will apparently be taking questions from the audience at the end of his talk. He’s asked that people please not ask him “What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?” or how he stays so thin. (I’m convinced it’s because he eats one appreciative bite of each dish for the camera, then lets the crew finish the dish. But maybe he just has a fast metabolism.)

Instead, Tony told Diane, “I’d much rather be surprised by difficult, awkward or embarrassing questions than keep answering those questions again and again.” What an irresistible challenge! For those lucky folks who have $39.50 to $49.50 to pony up per ticket, live close enough to get to the State Theatre in Easton (www.statetheatre.com, 610-252-3132), and are free at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 11, it’s time to start making your list.

But not going isn’t about to stop me from making up my own list of questions! I don’t know if they’d be awkward or embarrassing—hopefully not!—but they’d certainly be difficult if Tony took them seriously. Here goes:

* What’s the deal with you and vegetarians?! I get that you feel a great chef must be prepared to sample every food the world offers, without prejudgement,  in order to prepare the finest food. I don’t have a problem with that outlook, I just wish you’d extend it to vegetarian food. Come eat a meal at my house before you issue another blanket condemnation!

* If you had reached the final episode of “No Reservations,” where would you go to shoot it? I myself would like to see you at home in your own kitchen, shopping for and preparing a meal for family and friends, including some of the folks you’d gone adventuring with on earlier episodes.

* What chefs do you respect most? I know you think highly of Mario Batali and his family, but who else? If you had to go back to school, who would you want as the ideal set of chef-teachers?

* Who do you consider the greatest chef of all time, and why?

* If you had it to do all over again, would you still become a chef? And if not, what?

* What’s your idea of the perfect meal?

* Is there a dish you absolutely love that you’ve never been able to make or make well?

* If you had to eat one regional cuisine for the rest of your life, drawn from anywhere in the world, what would it be?

* If you could go back to one place in the world and live there, where would it be?

* What do you see yourself doing with the rest of your life?

Gee, I guess that’s about enough to ask anyone! Maybe I’ll go back over them and consider my own answers to at least a few of the questions. The answers might give me some ideas! And on February 11, I hope the audience asks Tony some great, provocative questions when they get the chance. And I hope Diane Stoneback is in the audience to share his answers with us!

          ‘Til next time,




1. Lynne - February 3, 2011

Good questions, Silence, and really the type of questions that each one of us should be asking ourselves about the rest of our lives.

Thanks, Lynne!

2. Helen at Toronto Gardens - February 4, 2011

I agree. Great questions. My wish for you is that you could ask them in person. (I must be the only person in the world who doesn’t know Anthony Bourdain… though I do recognize his name sufficiently to know I don’t know him, which I suppose is the first step.)

Thanks, Helen! I wonder what questions he’ll actually get from the audience. It would be fun to know!

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