You know, I am not a chef stalker, but there are certain chefs/food tv show personalities that I can't get enough of (No, I'm really not a chef stalker). Among those people, the host of Travel Channel TV show "No Reservation", the author of Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour, and the executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles - Anthony (Tony) Bourdain, is my favorite. Like many other food lovers, I admire Tony's indulgence in food and culture, and his respect and appreciation for different cuisine, be it Asian or Western, fine dining or street food, foie gras or coagulated duck blood. Tony is willing to try everything and his sense of adventure is quite rare in this part of the world. A progressive figure in the food business. A true food libertarian. My hero.
Gan and I actually loved Tony's Spain episode of No Reservation so much that we planned our trip to Spain (especially San Sebastian) back in February based on the places he visited. We went to the famous Asador Etxebarri, Arzak, Mugaritz in the Basque country and absolutely loved it.
So you can imagine how I felt when my friend Chee Ping walked into Txikito (we were having txoko that night) announcing that Anthony Bourdain and a bunch of other celebrity chefs were all in Co. Pizza three stores away. All I can remember was I ran out of Txikito immediately, armed with my Canon digital SLR like a professional paparazzi and headed towards Co. Pizza. When I saw Tony Bourdain by the window, I almost had a heart attack. I started taking pictures of him, occasionally stopping to get his attention because he just won't look at me!
After our dinner at Txikito, I went back to Co to try my luck again. This time, Mario Batali was sitting next to Tony and he actually helped get Tony to pose for me. Mario Batali, you are the man! Also upon chatting with some nice folks outside of Co, we found out that the event in Co was actually a cocktail fundraiser for Cowgirl Cure Foundation, hosted by Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Co's owner Jim Lahey.
Just wished I had a way to tell Tony about the Malaysia Yaokui trip a group of us are doing end of this year. We thought the Malaysia episode of No Reservation did not showcase enough of good (amazing) food in Malaysia and we yaokuis can definitely do a better job than Chef Wan and show Tony around "our hood". So Tony/No Reservation producer, if you are interested, we'll be eating from Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh to Penang this December, and you are welcome to join us!
Shoot #1 - Can't believe how shy Tony Bourdain is. He totally avoided eye contact with me, even though I was obviously the ONLY crazy person standing outside of the restaurant holding a big ass camera.
Shoot #2 - I sneaked out of Txikito after our final course to see if I can take more pictures. Tony was still avoiding eye contact, but this time, Mario Batali was sitting next to him. Mario immediately noticed me (and my camera), and to my surprise, he grabbed Tony to pose for me!