6 Lessons From "Guts and Glory": Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi on Paula Deen, The Taste + Authentic Food
Anthony Bourdain greeted a packed house at the Pantages last night. The Los Angeles installment of Bourdain's "Guts and Glory" tour took place in the opulent 1930 theatre with a crowd that was more academic than hip, and fiercely local as demonstrated by any reference to L.A. -- and especially during the introduction of Bourdain's co-host, Roy Choi.
Erika Bolden Anthony Bourdain + Roy Choi on the Guts and Glory Tour
The chefs opened with questions for each other, standing for a verbal tennis match, then sat and cracked beers for a more fluid dialogue, finally ending with questions from the audience. Bourdain was ruthless as ever, even mocking the audience for spending hard earned money on the tickets. But his charisma and tendency toward self-deprecation won the crowd over -- and made it clear why he's such a compelling player on the food world stage.
Bourdain made clear his abhorrence of the fois gras ban as "an embarrassment to California," and he noted that the birds aren't being asked to do "anything an adult film star doesn't do twice a day." More impromptu editorializing came when the audience asked questions, particularly one about Red Medicine's recent twitter tantrums. Bourdain said that the restaurant had gone too far in calling out patrons who never showed for their reservations; Choi that they hadn't gone far enough.
6. Bourdain is the first to admit his own hypocrisy:
Bourdain maintains the fun of tearing down snobbish green lifestylers, but admits that he wants his daughter to eat organic. On the topic of his role on The Taste, he says taking the gig was not only hypocritical but "a bit douchey," though after spending a month at Chateau Marmont hanging out with people he liked and ensuring that his daughter "would not be going to community college" meant he'd had fun and would do it again.
5. No one can agree on serving the homeless:
Here the chefs were divided, Bourdain assuring us that he'd refuse service to a homeless person who was prepared to pay at his restaurant, and that the "harsh, honest reality" is that most other restaurants would deny them as well. Choi was passionate on this point, saying that he proudly serves anyone "whose money is green."
Choi went on to propose that large food festivals could bypass difficult health regulations, which often prevent restaurants from donating food, by providing a booth at events where leftover food could be given to homeless shelters. This way, the food would "end up in hungry stomachs, not the trash."
4. Rachael Ray has a great sense of humor:
Bourdain has always given Rachael Ray and her show 30 Minute Meals a hard time, but he has warmed to her after learning what a great sense of humor she has. Not only did Ray send him a fruit basket after he publicly chastened her, but at a roast she joked about Mario Batali lending someone a scrunchy when getting a blow job. That Ray is a fan of the New York Dolls, one of Bourdain's most beloved bands, also helped.