Anthony Bourdain has huevos. That’s for sure.
The erudite New York City chef and – self confessed – former drug addict is now arguably the food and travel multimedia powerhouse of our time.
The fearless provocateur peppers acerbic musings throughout his TV series, books and columns with enviable ease. Maxims to make me slap my thigh with gleeful approval; “Vegetarians and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans … are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit” or “as a chef I’m not your dietitian or your ethicist, I’m in the pleasure business” and my favourite, “your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”
And he won’t pause after such quips and stare down the camera – for effect – daring you to respond. He moves on. He doesn’t really care what you think.
It takes courage to be that cool.
Anthony Bourdain is also an insightul social commentator. Just read this superb post on Mexico.
Under The Volcano – Anthony Bourdain May 2014
Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal and Mexican beer every year. We love Mexican people—as we sure employ a lot of them. Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, look after our children. As any chef will tell you, our entire service economy—the restaurant business as we know it—in most American cities, would collapse overnight without Mexican workers. Some, of course, like to claim that Mexicans are “stealing American jobs”. But in two decades as a chef and employer, I never had ONE American kid walk in my door and apply for a dishwashing job, a porter’s position—or even a job as prep cook. Mexicans do much of the work in this country that Americans, provably, simply won’t do.
We love Mexican drugs. Maybe not you personally, but “we”, as a nation, certainly consume titanic amounts of them—and go to extraordinary lengths and expense to acquire them. We love Mexican music, Mexican beaches, Mexican architecture, interior design, Mexican films.
So, why don’t we love Mexico? … READ MORE… (It’s definitely worth it)
A brilliant piece don’t you think?
Of further interest to me is that Bourdain omits a glaring parallel; that Mexico could be rather like Bourdain himself. The once seemingly corruptible drug addict, searching for global salvation as a preeminent food and travel icon?
Does that not also describe Mexico in many ways too?
Put simply, Bourdain’s redemption and his elevation to American – phoenix like – hero is just the sort of development strategy Mexico could implement to guarantee its renewal and perhaps a new position in the modern world. A cleanse and purge rehab then to emerge as a world class – safe and eco friendly – travel destination, sans the cartels.
I can’t think of anywhere more exciting to look for a weekend home.
Cancun is on the eastern side of Mexico and considered a gateway to the Caribbean. It may not be the edgiest destination in Mexico – towns like Cabo San Lucas on Baja are just too expensive – but it has everything we need for a weekend home. An international airport, historical sites, art and culture, beaches, heat and to die for food. And it’s entirely, overwhelmingly beautiful.
This two bedroom delight is but blocks from the beach. Can you believe it?
For the character-full ceiling alone, I’ll take it.
Yes I know. Bourdain wouldn’t go for this beach front condo because it’s too cookie cutter. But he’s lugged his small daughter around New York enough to know that if the children are happy, the parents are happy. My three year old would live in the water slide playground below if I let him.
And since this condo is only one bedroom, I may have to let him.
I think Bourdain would understand if I go with the condo with a dedicated children’s area.
OK, that’s a long shot.
I’ll take it nonetheless.
See Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations in Mexico here.