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Anthony Bourdain

    Food & Drink  --  North America Travel

    Being an Ambassador of Food

    And Remembering Anthony Bourdain

    Location: Gig Harbor WA USA

    I’ve decided I can be an Ambassador of food.  My new fabulous role.

    When we used to live in Gig Harbor (Washington USA) I started a cooking club of like-minded friends.  Usually I taught the class and it focused on teaching one of the cuisines I had learned while on a recent trip somewhere in the world.  We also met a few other times when other cooking club

    Ambassadors of Food

    The Gig Harbor Cooking Club

    members organized events such as wine tasting, and a class with a chef at a local restaurant.

    Our Cooking Club included 14 super fun people.  Our time together was always interesting and educational.  And always involved lots of food and

    Ambassador of food

    Enjoying cooking and eating

    wine.

    Since I left the USA the cooking club kind of fell apart.  But I returned determined to bring it back together, at least for one performance, while I was here in Gig Harbor.

    Yesterday eleven of our fourteen cooks gathered

    Ambassador of Food

    In the kitchen

    at the home of one of the members and I taught a class on Vietnamese and Thai cooking.  We had this on the calendar for several months.  But the suicide of my cooking, traveling, world ambassador mentor Anthony Bourdain weighed heavy on my mind – particularly since Vietnamese cuisine I knew was Anthony’s favorite.

    Ambassador of food

    Sharing

    I decided I wanted to talk to my cooking friends about how overwhelmingly sad I felt that Anthony Bourdain chose to take his life.  So that discussion is how we began our class.  Everyone felt the same lost and shocked feeling – all of us knowing it could have been prevented.  We talked a while about Tony and about suicide and about our country and its many troubles. And then to ease some of that heartache, we began to cook.

    It was fun, chaotic, delicious and exhausting.  I love to teach and this kind of event comes very naturally to  me, but it was tough cooking and teaching in someone else kitchen.  But we made it work, didn’t burn the house down, and had a great time. In Tony’s memory.

    Ambassador of food

    Combining the flavors

    I realize, through teaching new cuisines to open-minded cooks, that I am in my own small way, an ambassador like Anthony.  I’ve talked about this before – how I see my world travel as an ambassador role.  Showing people around the world what “real” Americans are like.  So it’s another way to open minds and hearts – I can bring cuisines back here to my friends, help them embrace new cultures and experiences and make the world a better place, one delicious mouthful at a time.

    It’s certainly not Parts Unknown.  But it makes me feel happy.

    I’m grateful to this group of cooks who enjoy the same things I enjoy and so I’ve given them a challenge – I promise to teach another class when I come back to the USA again next summer, but on one condition.  They must organize themselves and have at least one Cooking Club event while I am out of the country.

    Challenge on. Let’s make Tony proud.

    Fabulous.

    Inspire

    Why I Feel Such a Loss over Anthony Bourdain’s Suicide

    National Suicide Prevention Line Call 1-800-273-8255

    Why I feel such a loss over Anthony Bourdain’s Suicide.

    National Suicide Prevention Line Call 1-800-273-8255.

    I worshiped him.

    Hung on his words.

    Watched him mature.

    I was proud of his open admission to substance abuse and recovery.

    I loved his travel ethic. His clear understanding of how intricately linked food is to culture.

    He seemed sincere. Kind. Understood the power he wielded without ego or arrogance.

    You’d think we were best friends.  Of course we never met.  The closest I ever got to Anthony
    Bourdain was Row 50 of the Paramount Theatre in Seattle when he and Mario Batali entertained an audience of admirers.

    Why I feel such a loss of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide – I felt like I knew him personally.  I often half jokingly said Bourdain for President in 2020. Maybe I was more serious than joking.  In my eyes he was everything I wanted to be; a talented writer and storyteller, an incredible chef, a conscientious and thoughtful traveler, smart, witty, empathetic and unconcerned about what others thought of him.

    But was he all these things?  Or was it part of the act? What demons possessed him to take his own life, at the height of his career? With a beautiful little daughter?  Loved and respected by millions the world over?  Is keeping up appearances for celebrities just too hard in this age of non-stop media?

    I think he may have been conflicted about his celebrity – because essentially it goes against many of his beliefs.  Should chefs be like rock stars? Does promoting travel to remote places around the world cause too much stress on these places and change them? Did he feel guilty?  Did he think he wasn’t worthy of his unbridled success?

    Was it just all too much? Clearly it was. And it’s why I feel such a loss over Anthony Bourdain’s suicide.

    I am not a clinical psychiatrist, a mental health professional or a doctor of any kind.  I’m just a fan who feels stricken that for Anthony Bourdain there was a burden, whatever it was, he could no longer bear.

    Why?

    The United States has a crisis on its hands.  And although celebrity suicides bring this issue of suicide to light in the media, the real crazy thing is the number of suicides we never hear about.

    In 2016 (the last year that statistics are available) 45,000 people committed suicide in the United States.  That’s 124 PER DAY!  And thousands more, thankfully, attempted but failed to commit suicide.

    Washington State, where I am sitting writing this blog today, ranks 26th in the United States for suicides.  Montana is number one.

    I don’t have the answers.  I just have the questions.  And a heavy heart.  My hero is gone – and I feel the loss.

     

    New York Times Article about suicide in the USA

    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Suicide Statistics

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    Call 1-800-273-8255