Once you start talking about food, people always seem to ask you, "Who's your favorite food network star?" Mine always differs. Used to be Bobby, at one time it was Tyler. And I always love me some Ina. Right now I'm in LOVE with Alex Guarnaschelli. Love her love her love her. But for those of you who only gape at food stars on the Food Network, I beg you to venture on over to the Travel Channel and hang out with Anthony Bourdain for a bit.
My husband got me in to Bourdain, I won't lie. At first I was only interested in watching episodes of "No Reservations" that took place in locales I might actually visit someday. I mean, though I'm fascinated by all things travel-food-related, there isn't exactly a great chance I'm going to be visiting some remote location in Panama anytime soon. But as we DVR'd the show, and as I watched more and more, I fell in love with him. I love his style, I love his "F it all" sense. I love the fact that most often he openly discusses how much he doesn't understand anyone who won't eat pork. He drinks, he smokes, he talks about drinking and smoking dope all the time. I just LIKE him. I do. I can't help it.
I have favorite episodes of No Reservations, the Christmas episode of 2007 ranking high up there. (If you haven't seen it, hulu it. It's amazing.) "Kitchen Confidential" is on my must-read-when I have time list. But last night, J and I watched the newest episode, Brittany, France. It was amazing. And I have no idea why. Something about his undying NEED to eat and experience the "Tower of Shellfish" and the incredible way he dove into it with such gusto. Maybe it was the introductory segment where he discussed how a glass of wine would make it more "Frenchy." It made J and I really want to investigate GOING to Brittany, just to eat the only-found-there variety of jarred (standing up, of course) sardines.
Anthony Bourdain reminds me of an old-school, kind of mafia type of chef. He makes no apologies for what he likes, or doesn't like. And while I'm not running out to eat organs with the kind of zest and zeal that he does, I will say that he has made me appreciate food in a whole different way. He makes me want to TRY anything, at least once. Even if that something contains tongue, heart, or brains.