As part of the MFDF, those canny guys got a sex drugs and rock ‘n’ roll chef to kick off the pre-festival with a book signing by Anthony Bourdain at The Lowry Hotel. With an audience of paying members of the public and assorted chefs, we settled into the ‘An interview with’ with great hopes of a live version of his witty and unique view on food, chefs, restaurants and the art of politely eating in strangers houses around the world.
With a rather wobbly start by MFDF organiser Phil Jones who couldn’t quite get Anthony Bourdain’s name correct, Interviewer Mark Garner from Manchester Confidential decided four strikes and you are out by taking the reins. The first half was, to be honest, a bit ploddy and whilst there were really great nuggets from the speaker, Anthony never really got into his stride. Fergus Henderson from St Johns joined the lads on stage for a debate on nose to tail cooking and for a while it was if there was no one else in the room.
Order and interest was restored when the audience was finally allowed to ask the questions they really wanted answers and no it wasn’t how Mark Garner has been passing himself off as a Lord for several years in New York.
So what were the burning questions?
Well a collective sigh of disappointment met the answer to the first – sorry girls he is now married with a three years old child.
He ate raw seal because he was a guest in the Inuit Indian’s house and it was a family occasion he was very much privileged to be a part of, even though the scene resembled something from a horror movie. Day 1 it tasted of sushi…..
He has refused to eat live monkey brain on the basis that anything so cruel would outweigh the pleasure. He has managed to avoid cats and dogs, but if forced in the spirit of being a good guest, he would.
He still doesn’t understand vegetarians and asked of the questioner, ‘if your life depended on it, would you eat meat?’ she answered yes. His response was merely to point out that people communicate through food in the most primal way and urged the audience to look again at bacon as a lifestyle choice.
Once in his stride Anthony Bourdain was funny, honest and had a deep respect for people and their customs through food and this was why the audience loved him. So the final question?
What are the worst three questions you are asked?
1. Worst thing ever eaten?
2. Ever get sick on the show?
3. Missionary or doggy?
And I think he wasn’t talking food anymore