As promised, Anthony Bourdain hit Reddit today for one of the site’s Ask Me Anythings. He’s got a lot of projects in the works, so there was plenty to talk about, and to his credit, he took on all Taste-related sell-out questions head-on. To spare you having to deal with Reddit’s UI, we’ve culled the best responses, straight ahead.
The thing he never wants to taste again: "Methadone."
His favorite No Reservations episode: "I’m proudest of Rome. Because everybody said it was the stupidest idea ever — to make food porn in black and white."
What he misses most about working in a professional kitchen: "The first beer after a busy shift."
On the effectiveness of No Reservations condoms, which apparently exist: "They were defective!"
On his move to CNN: "CNN is letting me and my crew make smarter TV in places that Travel never would have allowed. Also — the new regime at Travel were a pretty unpleasant, uninspiring bunch. I saw the writing on the wall."
Why he got involved with The Taste: "I liked the idea that it was the most unlikley thing I could do. That it was scary and probably foolhardy to try. And I’m good friends with Nigella and Ludo so I knew it would be fun. I had a LOT of fun doing it and would do it again in a hot second. It’s like being asked to fly a fighter jet. I dont know how, never have before — and its probably a bad idea … But who wouldn’t if given the chance?"
Weirdest part of having Kitchen Confidential turned into a sitcom: "Bradley Cooper as me? It was strange. I thought — this guy’s going nowhere. How wrong can you be. Also, I thought he was brilliant in Silver Linings Playbook. So about as wrong as a man can be."
Trippiest drug experience: "I once hallucinated concentric circles of scotty dogs in the sky. Not good."
On being a former addict who doesn’t abstain from alcohol: "I am a VERY unusual case. You are correct. Most people who kick heroin and cocaine have to give up on everything. Maybe ‘cause my experiences were so awful in the end, I’ve never been tempted to relapse."
On his Taste makeup: "A real change for me — as I’ve never had to wear it. It’s freaky. And the longer you shoot, the more layers they pile on to counteract the sweat. I’m told that on network lighting, that without make-up, everybody looks like Andy Rooney. In my defense? That fucking tan is all mine — and honestly acquired! But point taken. We all look so smooth!"
On loving southern food and loathing Paula Deen: "The South is where the greatest American traditional food comes from. It’s the cradle of American gastronomy. I reject the notion that what Paula was selling is traditional Southern food. Cheeseburger on a Krispie Kreme bun? Nobody’s Grandma I ever heard of EVER made that shit."
To yet another question asking him, "The Taste? Seriously? Ten years ago you would have been mocking the crap out of yourself": "This bus makes many stops. I have no expectation that you will like all of them."
Which is harder, cooking professionally or writing professionally: "Cooking professionally is hard work. Writing is a privilege and a luxury. Anybody who whines about writer’s block should be forced to clean squid all day."
What Tony Bourdain was like in his twenties: "I was a complete asshole. Selfish, larcenous, druggy, loud, stupid, insensitive and someone you would not want to have known. I would have robbed your medecine cabinet had I been invited to your house."
Does he feel like a sell-out for doing The Taste?: "’Sell out’? Like Scripps (Food Net owners and owners of Travel) are some kind of an indie label? I sold out the first time I ever agreed to work a brunch shift. The question for me is always — was it fun? Answer. Yes."