Chewing the fat with Tony Bourdain
I'll be honest. Our interview this month with famous TV chef and world traveler Anthony Bourdain was fraught with peril. He's a celebrity known for his coarse language and stories of debauchery.
Bourdain has carefully cultivated the public image of a "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" chef. The amalgam of 'bad boy' and 'silver fox' personalities certainly works well for him.
Who else uses "emetic" and "frottage" on the same pages - and in a book about cooking? I found out later that "emetic" is a euphemism for something that incites vomiting, and "frottage" is a fancy word for clothed, amorous relations. My junior high school self would be proud to learn those vocabulary words.
At one point, I took a break from reading his new book "Medium Raw" at the chapter titled "Alan Richman is a [expletive]." Is Bourdain a literary master? No. But is he entertaining? Yes.
If the rough language of the interview offends you, we here at PRIME apologize on behalf of the celebrity chef. Perhaps its best to stop reading now. Bourdain freely drops f-bombs (and other four-letter words). It's endemic to the crew of any kitchen, according to him. He says that chefs commonly use the f-word, the way the rest of us would use a comma. That may be true.
While writing this month's feature article, I guzzled Starbucks coffee and stale, grocery-store donuts. All I could think was how Tony would disapprove of the elitist coffee selection. While eating the donuts, Bourdain's voice popped into my head: "Diabetes!"
As I shoveled a few scoops of Rachael Ray dog food at my puppies, it also drove his message home. I'm sure my dogs found the food "delish" or "nutrish" or whatever catch phrase the package promises. But in the end, the image of a celebrity chef was all the convincing I needed to buy the product.
There's so much that didn't make the final cut of this month's PRIME article, topics that simply wouldn't fit. Bourdain happily bounces from one narrative thread to another: A secret and highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs in New York, which he compares to a Mafia summit; Bourdain's sordid tales of trysts on St. Barths.
But fear not, fair PRIME reader. No reason to assume that what's happening right now, or recently has been, always will be. We featured Herbie Hancock on the cover last month and Anthony Bourdain this month. PRIME, however, has not gone Hollywood. Well, at least not permanently.
This month's story may be for gourmets, but we're not putting out a food magazine. And, God willing, we'll try to clean up our language by the time the September edition rolls around. I promise.