I am a big Anthony Bourdain fan. Like a case of nausea, my fervor for him comes in sharp waves. I’m riding a high one now, a result no doubt, of the Travel Channel’s unrelenting pre-season sell-in of “No Reservations”, during which past episodes are drudged out so we can all reacquaint ourselves with Tony’s penchant for culinary delights involving testicles, stomach lining, brains, eyeballs, tail, intestines and of course, his favorite gastronomical delight, the ever-popular warm, crackling pig skin (and don’t forget the cheek).
Come this Monday, January 11, we can catch up with Tony again as “No Reservations” launches season 7. The premier episode, sure to appeal to grilling enthusiasts everywhere, takes us to Panama where Tony shows us how to carefully sear six tons of cocaine. That crazy chef! His blog comments on this escapade are characteristically dead-pan,
“My shoes alone are caked with enough (cocaine) to keep an aging supermodel happy for weeks.”
Whether he’s taking a psychedelic Ayahuasca treatment (or not) in Peru, rapping with a Rastafarian poet and icon over an ital meal in Jamaica, descending ass-over-teakettle down a sand dune in New Zealand, with his ATV doing flips over and onto him, discussing the complexities of Tahitian culture and night-life with a trio of magnificent Polynesian boy-girls, called Rae-Raes (who knew?), wacking a ball through his legs backwards with a couple of Aussie twilight-aged athletes, or feigning enthusiasm as he asks for seconds of feces-infested, ash-covered wart hog in an effort to show gratitude and respect to the small group of tribesman in Namibia, watching Tony eat (and eat and eat) and snark his way around the world is always amusing.
Like a modern-day Kerouac, Tony Bourdain is a poet, enigmatic, misunderstood and often, I suspect, off-putting, with French roots, a penchant for moody watering holes and a finger firmly planted on the pulse of popular culture. He is a commanding presence, tall and slightly gangly, with a shock of grey hair and slightly goofy smile. But it is his jagged vernacular, cool, colorful narrative, slightly sardonic humor and singular spin on life, somewhere between bemused matter-of-fact and I don’t give a crap that holds special appeal for me. I look forward to my travels with him this season, though will customarily turn my head when the intestines come out.