If you love good food, you probably know Anthony Bourdain...even if you've never seen him or seen his exceptional culinary acumen and extremes in personality.
On TV and in his literature, Chef Bourdain is one of the most outspoken individuals in culinary history. Very open with disdain for competing personalities, while equally so with his love for others. He has, at times, been profane and used sexual references liberally.
But in his uniqueness, I respect the guy...
Overall, this "chef-at-large" personality is also a great marketer. He's not all things to everyone, nor does he try to be. He stands for what he believes in. And his stance will never change, be it personal or professional.
I was visiting New Orleans over the weekend, and a chef friend of mine told me an interesting story about Mr. Bourdain. A fact that thanks to good PR on behalf of Travel Channel, many probably do not know.
"Tony" is known for many things. Among them is No Reservations, an ongoing show where he travels overseas, to cities worldwide, and places within the United States, where hosts treat him to local culture and cuisine. As one can expect, he critiques the dining experience of each host. And he does it bluntly.
But when he visited Tuscany, Bourdain treated his hosting friends to "a little taste of home." What he didn't realize when preparing his take on the two Tuscan dishes were two very important things to note:
1. He served them his version of each dish...
Not what his audience was hoping to be presented. While New York and Jersey Italians share the same descent, they each had different tastes. Different opinions.
2. His version, to the audience, tried too hard.
The presentation and taste was "disgusting" to the Tuscan guests. To quote a young Tuscan diner: "You need real talent to screw up caponata."
There were several negative faces and comments about the food (in Italian, with captions) that were anything but positive. In fact, Tony's Amico film guy took him for a walk to talk about the show, telling the guests "You owe me one."