I have many personal heroes. When I was young, I appreciated Houdini because he was the world’s greatest magician. As I grew older, I appreciated him because of his ability to shape modern magic as he performed his escapes up close and personal. Then he became quite the salesman, and would show up in a new town frequently to put on a free public daredevil act, then let everyone know he’d be selling tickets to his show.
Magic did pay the bills, but he had other passions. He loved his wife Bess, and together they took on all of the psychics and spiritualist frauds during the day.
I would recommend “The Secret Life of Houdini” for further reading.
… but I digress.
I’m inducting Anthony Bourdain into my list of personal heroes. According to his life story so far:
- Interested in cooking, but got his butt kicked at a real restarant, and fell in love with the lifestyle
- Went to CIA (Culinary Institute of America)
- Got back into a restaurant … then catering …. then bigger / better restaurants …. then eventually he became the head chef at Les Halles in Manhattan
That life path is difficult enough to do. But then he took it further. He wrote an article for a newspaper. And it went well. So he wrote a book. And it was a sensation and instantly legitimized him as a culinary insider, not just a poseur.
From there, he’s written a more books and become a world traveller on “No Reservations.” He was never on vacation, but struggled to make sure his trips were varied and interesting. Frequently, he would engage a host family to feed him or tell him stories. He cooked infrequently, but often explained why the food was so good using his frank descriptions and engaging imagery.
And all of this …. and I don’t have any “Tony Bourdain” products in my kitchen. The man has kept his soul intact.
I will miss “No Reservations.” I look forward to what Tony has coming up next.