Right from his debut book, Kitchen Confidential — which notes that the playing of Billy Joel is a firing offense in his kitchen — Anthony Bourdain established himself as a man with an appetite for badass rock. So with his Guts and Glory speaking tour coming to Symphony Hall on Friday, we asked WFNX executive producer (and chef-in-training) Kurt St. Thomas to grill Bourdain on the intersections between music and cuisine. Here's a taste; for the rest, tune into WFNX.com on Thursday at noon and hear the pair spin tunes from Bourdain faves like Richard Hell and Queens of the Stone Age. (Click here for full details on Bourdain's Friday show.)
It's obvious from watching your show that you're a great fan of music. And it seems like you're a fan of New York punk bands from the late '70s? Yeah, basically. I love that New York punk period. But I love pre-disco, funk. If I could come back as a musician, Bootsy Collins would have been a good choice, I think.
When you were starting out as a chef and living in New York, were you going down to CBGB and seeing the Ramones? All of us in the kitchen at the time, we had sort of the same hours as a lot of musicians, and none of them had any money. Punk at the time was not a commercial enterprise to say the least. No one was buying any records. They weren't getting any radio airtime. So we'd feed them and they'd give us free passes to their shows, so it was a very symbiotic relationship.
When you were in culinary school, did you ever think this was the path it would lead to? Absolutely not. At age 44, when I was still standing next to a deep fryer, if I was sure of anything, it was that I would never get to fulfill my childhood dream of seeing Vietnam or even Rome. I pretty much thought that was it for me.
What is your new CNN show? Is it drastically different thanNo Reservations andThe Layover? It's the same camera people, editors, production team, and production company I've been working with all along. . . . [CNN] has an infrastructure on the ground that will allow us an experience in a lot of these countries. We never would have been able to get into places like the Congo or Libya or Myanmar with the Travel Channel, so this kind of opens up the world for us in whole new ways.
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