Chef of the week: ANTHONY BOURDAIN

     “My whole life, cooking has been about control. Traveling and eating are about letting things happen.”

     Anthony Michael “Tony” Bourdain (born June 25, 1956) is an American chef, author and television personality. He is well known for his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and is the host of Travel Channel’s culinary and cultural adventure programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover.

In Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain describes how his love of food was kindled in France when he tried his first oyster on an oyster fisherman’s boat as a youth while on a family vacation. Later, while attending Vassar College, he worked in the seafood restaurants of Provincetown, Massachusetts, which sparked his decision to pursue cooking as a career. Bourdain graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978, and went on to run various restaurant kitchens in New York City – including the Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue, and Sullivan’s – culminating in the position of executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles beginning in 1998. Brasserie Les Halles is based in Manhattan, with additional locations in Miami and, at the time of Bourdain’s tenure, Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, Japan.


Bourdain gained immediate popularity from his 2000  book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, an outgrowth of his now-famous article in The New Yorker called “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”. The book is a witty and rambunctious exposé of the hidden and darker side of the culinary world, and is a memoir of Bourdain’s professional life as well.

     He subsequently wrote two more New York Times bestselling nonfiction books: A Cook’s Tour (2001), an exotic account of his food and travel exploits across the world, written in conjunction with his first television series; and The Nasty Bits (2006), another collection of exotic, provocative, and humorous anecdotes and essays mainly centered on food.

     Bourdain’s additional books include Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook; the culinary mysteries Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo; a hypothetical historical investigation, Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical; and No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach. His latest book, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, the sequel to Kitchen Confidential, was published in 2010.

Bourdain’s articles and essays have appeared many places, including in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Times,… Esquire(UK), Scotland on SundayThe Face, Food ArtsLimb by LimbBlackBookThe IndependentBest Life, the Financial Times, and Town & Country. On the Internet, Bourdain’s blog for Season 3 of Top Chef was nominated for a Webby Award for best Blog – Cultural/Personal in 2008.

In 2012, Bourdain co-wrote the original graphic novel Get Jiro! for DC Comics/ Vertigo along with Joel Rose with art by Langdon Foss.


The acclaim surrounding Bourdain’s racy memoir, Kitchen Confidential, led to an offer to host his own food and world-travel show, A Cook’s Tour, which premiered in January 2002. In July 2005, he premiered a new television series, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. As a further result of the immense popularity of Kitchen Confidential, the Fox sitcom Kitchen Confidential aired in 2005, in which the character “Jack Bourdain” is based loosely on the biography and persona of Anthony Bourdain.

     Bourdain has appeared five times as guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef reality cooking competition program. He wrote weekly blog commentaries for many of the Season 3 episodes, filling in as a guest blogger while Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio was busy opening a new restaurant. Bourdain is also one of the main judges on the Top Chef All-Stars Season 8.

Bourdain appeared in an episode of TLC’s reality show Miami Ink which aired August 28, 2006. Artist Chris Garver tattooed a skull on Bourdain’s right shoulder. Bourdain, who noted it was his fourth tattoo, said that one reason for the skull was that he wished to balance the ouroboros tattoo he had done on his opposite shoulder in Malaysia while filming Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

He made a guest appearance on the August 6, 2007 New York City episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern; Zimmern appeared as a guest on the New York City episode of Bourdain’s No Reservations airing the same day. On October 20, 2008 Bourdain hosted a special, At the Table with Anthony Bourdain, on the Travel Channel. He also has a brief cameo appearance in the 2008 movie Far Cry.

Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern

In 2010, Bourdain appeared on Nick, Jr.‘s Yo Gabba Gabba! as Dr. Tony. He is currently consulting and writing for the HBO series, Treme.

Travel Channel announced in July 2011 that it would be adding a second one-hour ten-episode Bourdain show to be titled The Layover, premiering November 21, 2011. The show’s concept is that each episode features an exploration of a city that can be undertaken within an air travel layover of 24 to 48 hours.

Also in 2011, Bourdain voiced himself in a cameo on an episode of The Simpsons entitled “The Food Wife” in which Marge, Lisa, and Bart start a food blog called “The Three Mouthkateers” and Homer winds up in a meth lab.

In May 2012, Bourdain announced that he would be leaving the Travel Channel to host a show for CNN focusing on other cuisines and cultures.


Ecco Press, a division of HarperCollins, announced in September 2011 that Bourdain would have his own publishing line, which would include acquiring three to five titles per year that “reflect his remarkably eclectic tastes”. The first books that the imprint will publish, to be released in 2013, will include Spaghetti Junction: Riding Shotgun with an L.A. Chef by Roy Choi, Prophets of Smoked Meat by Daniel Vaughn, and Fight Shark by Mark Miller. Bourdain has also announced plans to publish a book by Marilyn Hagerty.

In describing the line, Bourdain said, “This will be a line of books for people with strong voices who are good at something – who speak with authority. Discern nothing from this initial list – other than a general affection for people who cook food and like food. The ability to kick people in the head is just as compelling to us – as long as that’s coupled with an ability to vividly describe the experience. We are just as intent on crossing genres as we are enthusiastic about our first three authors. It only gets weirder from here.”


Bourdain was named Food Writer of the Year in 2001 by Bon Appétit magazine for Kitchen Confidential.

A Cook’s Tour was named Food Book of the Year in 2002 by the British Guild of Food Writers.

The Beirut episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, which documented the experiences of Bourdain and his crew during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Programming in 2007.

Bourdain’s blog for the reality competition show Top Chef was nominated for a Webby Award for Best Blog – Culture / Personal in 2008.

In 2008, Bourdain was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.

In 2009 and 2011, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming.

In 2010, Anthony Bourdain was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy for non-fiction writing.

In 2010, Anthony Bourdain was awarded an Honorary CLIO Awards, which is given to individuals who are changing the world by encouraging people to think differently.

In 2012, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations won the Critics’ Choice Best Reality Series award.

Source: Wikipedia,, Google



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