Irreverent, engaging, and inspiring to the masses, Bourdian was the blueprint to an extent. Although he generally despised “vegan shit” (and the garlic press), his insane intelligence and no bullshit nature and penchant for storytelling has massively inspired how I build my career as a chef.
Although my mother is the first person that doesn’t want to hear this, I had some serious suicidal thoughts about 10 years ago. But perhaps the fact that Anthony Bourdain inspired me to live even more should also make her happy…because she thought he was cool.
Stick with me…
It was the spring of 2010, partly cloudy in Chicago. I’d borrowed my best friends car to tend to a craigslist gig that vaguely needed a photographer.
I was depressed, questioning my existence and wondering if I’d made the right decision by beginning to drastically change my life.
So I thought about a do-over. For life. See that’s the thing with the mind, once it finds a piece of logic to support it cause, it’s hard not to consider it. I figured since I believed in the concept of reincarnation, I was good to go.
As with anything, there’s levels and I’d only gotten that far in that thought when I got the most valuable photo gig of my life (which was great because the pay was poop).
Within a week or so of contemplation (and as a prime example of the power of manifestation) I landed a job shooting a funeral. Of a young woman of my age. Of color. Who had committed suicide.
When all I wanted was some quick cash I ended up seeing exactly what I was considering, not to mention documenting it. Although I still think it’s kind of odd that they hired a photographer for the funeral in the first place (is that common?). Nevertheless, it came as a lesson on the value of life which led me to think…
…clearly I need to stick around.
Enter Anthony Bourdain. I don’t remember what came to me first, his book or his show, but his book Kitchen Confidential was a reminder of everything I didn’t want in a culinary career and his travel show No Reservations was the spark that put me down my personal path to chef hood.
Around the same time, through a series of unrelated events, I ended up with a copy of another book called The Artist’s Way where one of their exercises led me to a list of alternate career paths which included a chef. Over the years living in NYC, I’d already worked in a ton of restaurants to support myself as an artist, so food was the logical choice.
The only difference was I wanted to focus on plants.
Although Bourdain hated the concept of Veganism, I believe had we met, he undoubtedly would’ve appreciated the approach of Superfood School.
Because he’s right, when it comes down to it, the idea of veganism is a luxury most people can’t afford. It’s through that same candid style that I seek to teach the masses to finding simple solutions for it all.
Although I will never have the type of culinary career that he had, the message remains the same. Being a chef is more about the execution and the experience than just a tasty recipe.
But even more important than that, when it comes to matters of the soul, often times the cook is the last to eat.
To all my hospitality folks out there from the Dishwasher to the Sommelier, take care of yourselves.