Anthony Bourdain, Despite all the Perks, Is Never a Jerk

Today’s I read Anthony Bourdain’s newest book, “The Nasty Bits,” while I was on the exercise machine, and enjoyed his chapter about spending a week on board the ResidenceSea, a floating luxury condo that takes the very rich around the world and affords the utmost in luxury.

Bourdain has this way of describing the food he prepares on board in their cabin that makes you want to join him for the feast. He never fails to mention what a stoner he still is, nor how much he loves smoking cigarettes and constantly searches for alcoholic refreshment. I love this honesty so brutal and absolutely holding nothing back. Imagine Emeril being that honest, or knowing truly, what Rachael Ray really thinks.

When Bourdain talks about other chefs, I did a mental cringe. Oh God, wait til he starts talking about the Food Network Gods…he’ll eviscerate them. Yet he praises Emeril, since he’s a really good chef and did raise up through the ranks, starting in a Massachusetts bakery and thus deserves his bounty.  He compares Emeril to Rocco di Spirito, the doomed chef who starred in one of the first reality series “The Restaurant,” and wound up being sued by the financial backer of the restaurant and now does QVC commercials.

Clearly one is a show-off fraud and one deserves his kingly riches.  Mario Batali, too, gets a good rap, deserving his accolades because he can really, truly cook, and he’s turned America on to eating snout, feet and innards they’d never had considered before.

Page after page and Bourdain is still so real, so likeable, and never ever buckles to the pressure that would so easily make a conceited prick out of most of us. Having people around the world cook for you, having doors opened, and suites prepared, and the finest food anyone can imagine forked over for free, how does he not be a complete jerk?  So far he hasn’t. I love him for that.