Of the many people that have influenced me, my attitude towards life, Anthony Bourdain, I would say, was at the top of the list. I got introduced to Anthony through one of the episodes of No Reservation on the NatGeo channel, and I instantly developed a liking towards his approach to food as a subject of his show.
While most food cum travels shows had a chef visiting a place, trying the local delicacies, then setting up kitchen in a picturesque location to cook what they call their twist to the local dish, Anthony, never ever corrupted the local cuisine with his twist. Instead, food was an excuse, more of a ruse to connect to the people of the place, know them, know their culture and what makes them.
He never shied away from taking a stand, never worried to be politically correct and use apt superlatives and expletives to describe situations at times when they did deserve. His travelogue indulged in knowing the people of the places he was visiting. His approach was not about showing I can cook better or this is how you cook the authentic stuff, it was about experiencing the local food – as it is. His impromptu stops at local joints to fill his stomach, his absolute courage to try anything without thinking twice about the consequences always impressed me.
As he said once, if you don’t try the bad ones you never get to the good ones. He was given the freedom and he used it responsibly to create shows that were true to his nature and appealed to the audience he was making it for.
It is a tragedy that he decided to take his life, but wherever he is, I pray his soul rest in peace.