Bite Me! Q&A, Bourdain

17 April 2010

Bite Me! Q&A, Bourdain

Fair enough. But you’ve observed that professional kitchen culture is often unfriendly to women. Do you think it will always be that way?
x x x

But [even as more women join kitchens], I’d like to think that the level of discourse will stay the same, and just as offensive, and just as crude. I think it’s great that kitchens are maybe the last meritocracy, the last workplace where men and women can speak to each other honestly, however offensively that might be, where your value is only in how well you do your job and how well you can talk shit back at somebody. I see that as an admirable quality. I don’t like the idea of tiptoeing around each other. I think that if you say something stupid and offensive, somebody should get right up in your face and say, “That was incredibly stupid and offensive, and fuck you too!” Once you enforce it, bring in the human resources department, everybody goes home to their own neighborhoods, and we never really talk.

x x x

Your bio always says, “He lives, and always will live, in New York City.” Is that still true?

[Long pause.] I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I can even stay still anymore; I start to fidget and freak after a couple of weeks in one place.

I was always reasonably comfortable in New York because I was always busy, always driven. I didn’t have the luxury of time to contemplate the big issues. Now I have plenty of time to think about things, and it’s not as comfortable.

Asia really ruined me. I went up to Indonesia for the first time a few weeks ago, and what absolutely devastated me was the call to prayer, the sound of bamboo wind chimes, people chanting in the fields, that kind of [singing] “bing bong bong bong.” What do you do after you’ve heard that?

I don’t know if there’s a place I can stay and be content and calm and happy. But I think, like love, it’s probably something that hits you upside the head. Like the perfect meal, it’s not something you go after or advertising for. It just sandbags you when you’re least prepared.

Anthony Bourdain, 2006


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