Last week I went to the movies and Anthony Bourdain sat in front of me.
It was hard not to reach out and rustle his mostly salt and pepper hair.
The lanky 6’3 rebel chef took the tiny university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia by storm when he opened Devour! The Food Film Fest last week.
Devour! is the biggest food film fest in the world, showcasing over 50 films interspersed with food truck rallies, industry workshops, and a lot of great food. Chef collaborations every night of the five-day festival, dozens of cocktails and glasses of local wine, and cool people hanging out to talk about my favourite thing: food.
Eating food, shooting food, watching food, it’s orgasmic.
It wasn’t hard to tell that everyone in Wolfville was excited for Bourdain to arrive, signs all over town welcomed him with open arms and gaping mouths. The local bookstore’s windows were adorned with copies of his books: Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw, and The Nasty Bits.
Dressed all in black with white laceless converse, Anthony Bourdain entered the inaugural screening of the 4th annual festival to a standing ovation in Acadia’s Festival Theatre and humbly introduced one of his favourites: Ang Lee’s 1994 film Eat Drink Man Woman. A huge film buff, (evident in his sometimes catastrophic attempts at various film techniques on No Reservations), Bourdain talked animatedly about the opening cooking sequence of the film, proclaiming it to be one of the best food scenes in cinematic history.
Then he sat down in front of me in the theatre and watched the movie.
He was right in front of me, and he was right about the film. I forgot he was even there (after the first few minutes of staring at him) and was whisked off to a Taiwanese kitchen. If you haven’t seen Eat Drink Man Woman, you should. Lee’s cinematography in the cooking scenes is amazing, and all the food looks so freaking delicious, the 90s wardrobe and subtitles are worth it.
Once the film ended, Tony (I can call him that now, we’re practically best friends) got up on stage for a little Q&A with the audience.
He was genuine, he swore a lot, and he was everything I thought he would be. He answered every single question the audience threw at him, spending at least 45 minutes talking to us about his digestive tract, his final meal, and just how awesome (and hard) it is to film CNN’s Parts Unknown all over the world.
Bearing witness to Tony talk about making his favourite meal to make at home was amazing, I had a foodie boner the whole time. Claiming he feels shortchanged to be not born an Italian-American, he described in perfect eloquent detail the preparation of a simple pasta in tomato sauce in such an ethereal manner I nearly slid off the chair. (He has French roots in fact, and personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.)
Tony Bourdain is someone I really look up to. He’s a great writer, he says what he means in a frank and no-nonsense manner that I really appreciate. He has the best job in the world. To be able to travel the world, to eat, to experience other cultures the way Bourdain does is to live the dream.
Bourdain forking rocked Devour!