Fans of Anthony Bourdain are a unique breed and I count myself among them. We absolutely adore the man and in our eyes he can do no wrong. Period.
Our favorite chef/writer was in town this week for a sold out presentation at the Pantages in Hollywood, where he shared the stage with our very own LA homeboy and the man behind the Kogi taco trucks, Roy Choi. (Gracias a la Karlita B. and Alejandra for the invite and to Lucia for coming with.)
“Guts and Glory” was the theme and it was a fascinating two hour conversation, interview style, con cada quien haciéndose preguntas from their own list. The main topic was food, of course, but it went far beyond that and turned into a great analysis of what’s going on today in our lifestyle, our culture, our worship of all things food related, business practices, good versus evil, celebrity chefs, and even racism in restaurants. De todo un poco!
Both guys are passionate about their stuff. Tony Bourdain was his usual, badass self when talking about McDonald’s and the other fast food chains, and how much he despises the fact that KFC now offers “boneless chicken wings” just to make it easier for the younger generations to eat the wings. “What does this say about us as a nation?!” The man is not shy about sharing his opinion, and when asked about his nemesis, la Paula Dean, he did not back off from his earlier controversial statements about her being the “worst person in America.” Yep, it’s pretty clear he still can’t stand her. As for Rachel Ray, he said they’ve made their peace and told everyone why he “can not dislike this woman.” (Se lo ganó la Rachel con un roast en donde ella le hizo unos comentarios un poco crudos that I can’t repeat here.)
But for me the real surprise was how close Bourdain and Roy Choi have become, even saying about Roy “he’s my brother from another mother.” Tony mentioned he was publishing Roy’s upcoming book and was extremely concerned when Roy became a vegetarian last year. “Are you OK?” he emailed him. Roy was charming, humble, honest and seems to be a really good person, concerned with the way his waiters and cooks are treated and even suggesting that homeless people be served at restaurants. (“Never gonna happen,” said Bourdain. “It’s still has to be a business.”) Me dio la impresión que el Roy es ‘paisa,’ ya saben como… buena onda, chistoso y muy chambeador.
When it was turn for the audience’s Q&A, most questions for Tony were related to his new show, to his travels and to what he eats. When asked what his favorite restaurants in LA were, he mentioned a few, but remember him listing Son of a Gun, Mozza (from his buddy Mario Batali) and of course, In N Out Burger. You can’t go wrong with that. For his last meal, he’s changed it from the tuétano-bone marrow he loves to Jiro’s Sushi in Japan (I recently saw the documentary and it is wonderful!)
As for “Parts Unknown,” his new show on CNN, he says he has a new list of places he wants to visit and has the green light from the network to go anywhere he wants. If things work out and the production is secured, one of the places he’ll visit is Iran, since he wants to go eat the rice there, which he says is amazing. Roy then added that he now wanted to tag along. (Nomás que tengan mucho cuidado.)
Of course they also plugged this Sunday’s show where Bourdain comes to LA again, but now it’s to Koreatown, or the hidden part of LA as he calls it. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting show since both guys have a good dynamic and Korean food is delish.
One of my favorite moments from the night was when someone asked Bourdain why anyone should travel and see the world. His answer was very simple and very heartfelt. “It just makes you a better person, to see the world, walk in someone else’s shoes. I can’t recommend it enough.”
Come back to visit us soon Tony Bourdain! We love you.