Saturday, May 21, 2011
SYDNEY WRITERS FESTIVAL - MEDIUM RAW
The full house sign was up for Anthony Bourdain's session and the audience response to him when he walked on stage could only be described as rapturous. Chairing this panel was another famous foodie, Jill Dupleix, and I have to confess that for me she was the main attraction of the afternoon! Freelance food writer, based in London and Sydney, she has some 14 cookbooks to her credit, and I have been a huge fan for many years.
Her chairing of the session was perfect, she skilfully led the guest of honour with searching, thoughtful questions through his life of food, food writing and food television and his performance in turn was dazzling.
His new book, which I bought at the Festival bookstore (Glee Books) before going in to the theatre, is some thing of a sequel to his first book Kitchen Confidential, the book that made him a household name some 11 years ago. He confessed that when he wrote his first book he was frightened, angry and pretty desperate but today he is a happy man with the best job in the world and he is a very proud Dad of a little girl with whom he is clearly besotted.
In the wide ranging and always entertaining hour, during which for the most part he was serious and thoughtful, he talked about customers from hell, chefs from hell,restaurant critics, his "previous" life,his daughter (again), Marcus Piere White, E Bulli, Hunter Thompson, the expanding Asian influence on world cuisine, (which he welcomes), he recommended a number of countries with exciting cuisines - Turkey, Singapore, Brazil & Columbia, his marriage into a Sardinian family where he has learned much about the marriage of food and wine and their emphasis on good company, music and being laid regularly (!), the shame that Australian cheese makers are not allowed to make cheeses from unpasteurised milk, and right near the end he had a real swipe at the practice he observed at the Sydney fish market of oysters being rinsed after they were shucked. He said it was a sin and a malpractice.
This was a truly wonderful hour with two great foodies on the stage. I loved it.