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Good Enough to Eat: A Writer’s Cook

By Stitch on 28 October, 2008

Good Enough to Eat: A Writer's Cook

Tony Bourdain
signed my book.

I must admit, he’s an acquired taste. I first heard of him, as did a lot of people, through his first press junkets promoting Kitchen Confidential, his memoir. Unfairly enough, all I remember from those shows and interviews is that he somehow made kitchens seem like dirty, dangerous places. “Don’t order fish on Sunday”, or something like that. He was a whistle blower, a tattle-tale, a snitch. He made no impression on me then.

It was my aunt who gave me a copy of Kitchen Confidential (the same one he signed). It was amazing, and it was amazing without me even noticing the whole section about the fish. (I honestly still cannot remember where it is in the book.) The book opened the doors of the actual professional kitchen, in all its grimy, foul-mouthed, sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll glory. More importantly, the book showed me that the snitch could write. Seriously. The same cook who looked so smarmy (sorry, Tony) in those TV shows had serious writing chops. The prose was direct and lucid, while being both descriptive and thankfully economical with his words.

He was also honest, perhaps to a fault, since the picture he painted of himself was definitely less than flattering. But that snide sense of humor, the visceral descriptions, and the sheer grittiness of the book got me. I was hooked. I bought A Cook’s Tour, which detailed his adventures during his first TV stint. It was hilarious and touching and, at times, horrifying. I still can’t forget the chapter entitled The Burn. I’ll not spoil it for you, but the book is worth it just for that chapter.

He does look shifty, though. Slouchy, reed thin, earring, short, curly hair. He doesn’t look like any chef I had in mind. Which was why I believe him. He isn’t trying to hide anything; no one would want to look like he does if he were trying to put on an image. He is a real chef, and he had the guts to actually bare himself, flaws and all.

It could have gone South. He could have ended up a pariah in New York, with a bomb of a book. The book could have ruined him. And, maybe if he were any less of a writer, it could very well have.

His success shows me that I can also succeed. I’m no chef, but I can write.

He signed my book. I feel great.

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  • OCTOBER 28, 2008 3:39 AM

    Didi said...

    Did you get to see him? LUCKY YOU!!!

  • OCTOBER 28, 2008 4:02 AM

    mtan said...

    So cool Franco! His charm lies in his ability to make gritty urban rhythms come out of his pen, yet evoke flavor when talking about foods. Like a younger Charles Bukowski of the kitchen set.

  • OCTOBER 28, 2008 5:14 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Mila, Sadly, it wasn't my book that got signed and I didn't write this short but sweet post. :)

  • OCTOBER 28, 2008 9:10 AM

    Katrina said...

    I want to hear the story of how it happened and what he was like! Sorry, but frustrated fangirl me needs the vicarious thrill. ;-)

  • OCTOBER 30, 2008 11:05 AM

    mrslavendula said...

    you really got to meet him?! ive been trying to spy where he was staying but found out too late! you are so lucky!

  • OCTOBER 31, 2008 12:41 AM

    mtan said...

    Whoops! Sorry Stich, I mistook you for Franco.

  • OCTOBER 31, 2008 2:30 AM

    Stich said...

    Hey all, no, I resisted the urge to stalk him. Franco pulled the miracle off, to him I offer my deepest, heartfelt thanks.

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