Last night I met Anthony Bourdain at UCLA, a special event called “A night with Anthony Bourdain.” 


OK, so the picture of me is blurry, and it looks like I photo shopped my face onto someone else’s body, but I met him and it was a thrill!

There is a reason Tony is on TV.  He has a great command of the English language, never fishing for words, always describing everything in great detail…but in an amusing way.  He has strong opinions and he is not afraid to voice them.  He knows his topic inside and out- Food and travel. 

I really expected the evening to be pretty boring, I mean what could this guy talk about for 90 minutes?  As it turns out…he was entertaining, funny, interesting, and right on target with the pulse of Food TV.  I learned a lot last night.  The main thing I think I learned is not to be afraid to be yourself!  Nobody likes a phony put-on personality, but everyone loves a genuine personalty. Everyone loves a guy who is passionate about what he does, but does not take himself too seriously.  I learned that if I want to make it in this business, I am going to have to find my voice…and shout it out at the top of my lungs.   I can not imitate Tony, I have to be myself. 

Of course he bashed Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, an Paula Dean…He seemed to feel sorry for Emeril…he had high praises for Ina Garten and Giada…and voiced the highest respect for Mario Batali.  He talked about all the other food shows, and gave them a thumbs up or down.

Top Chef – Thumbs Up

Hells Kitchen – Thumbs down

Kitchen Nightmares (The BBC version) Thumbs Up

Throw Down- He poked fun at it, but praised Bobby

I have to agree with him with all of the above (except for Giada, I can’t stand her), but just like me…it sounds like he watches all of the food shows regardless of thumbs up or down.  The shows with good food, ie, good chefs, he watches out of respect and admiration, the others he watches to make fun of! 

He talked about street food, and tried to put it into perspective for the faint of heart. He asked the question; “If you are in a foreign country, and you are staying at that fancy hotel where they serve that giant breakfast buffet…Who do you think is going to care more about what they are serving, the guy in that stupid tall white chefs hat, or the guy on the street feeding all of his neighbors?”  The guy in the hat doesn’t give a shit about you, the guy feeding his neighbors has to look these people in the face day after day…and they line up in droves day after day! 

He said that Los Angeles is cool with all of ours taco trucks, but didn’t know much else about L.A.  I took that opportunity later at the book signing to ask him if he knew about the sub-culture of street food in L.A.- The food carts, specifically the non-permitted ones, or “Street Food Outlaws”.   When he replied “No” I whipped out a copy of StreetFood Uncovered and handed it to him.  He said, and I quote; ” I will definitely watch it.”  I thanked him for a great night and he signed my book.  Will I ever hear from him about it? Probably not…but I am glad that I got to meet him.

So to sum it up, it was a fantastic night, even my wife enjoyed it and she is vegetarian…and we all know how much Tony hates vegetarians, and how much vegetarians hate him!