Dodging minefields in Cambodia, diving into the icy waters outside a Russian bath, Chef Bourdain travels the world over in search of the ultimate meal. The only thing Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling, and A Cook's Tour is the shotgun marriage of his two greatest passions. Inspired by the question, 'What would be the perfect meal?', Anthon...
Dodging minefields in Cambodia, diving into the icy waters outside a Russian bath, Chef Bourdain travels the world over in search of the ultimate meal. The only thing Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling, and A Cook's Tour is the shotgun marriage of his two greatest passions. Inspired by the question, 'What would be the perfect meal?', Anthony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail. Our adventurous chef starts out in Japan, where he eats traditional Fugu, a poisonous blowfish which can be prepared only by specially licensed chefs. He then travels to Cambodia, up the mine-studded road to Pailin into autonomous Khmer Rouge territory and to Phnom Penh's Gun Club, where local fare is served up alongside a menu of available firearms. In Saigon, he's treated to a sustaining meal of live Cobra heart before moving on to savor a snack with the Viet Cong in the Mecong Delta. Further west, Kitchen Confidential fans will recognize the Gironde of Tony's youth, the first stop on his European itinerary. And from France, it's on to Portugal, where an entire village has been fattening a pig for months in anticipation of his arrival. And we're only halfway around the globe... A Cook's Tour recounts, in Bourdain's inimitable style, the adventures and misadventures of America's favorite chef. AUTHORBIO: Anthony Bourdain is the author of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which spent 14 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, and the Urban Historical Typhoid Mary. His mystery novels include Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo. He is the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York City.
A Cook's Tour is the written record of Anthony Bourdain's travels around the world in his search for the perfect meal. All too conscious of the state of his 44-year-old knees after a working life standing at restaurant stoves, but with the unlooked-for jackpot of Kitchen Confidential as collateral, Mr. Bourdain evidently concluded he needed a bit more wind under his wings.
The idea of "perfect meal" in this context is to be taken to mean not necessarily the most upscale, chi-chi, three-star dining experience, but the ideal combination of food, atmosphere, and company. This would take in fishing villages in Vietnam, bars in Cambodia, and Tuareg camps in Morocco (roasted sheep's testicle, as it happens); it would stretch to smoked fish and sauna in the frozen Russian countryside and the French Laundry in California's Napa Valley. It would mean exquisitely refined kaiseki rituals in Japan after yakitori with drunken salarymen. Deep-fried Mars Bars in Glasgow and Gordon Ramsay in London. The still-beating heart of a cobra in Saigon. Drink. Danger. Guns. All with a TV crew in tow for the accompanying series--22 episodes of video gold, we are assured, featuring many don't-try-this-at-home shots of the author in gastric distress or crawling into yet another storm drain at four in the morning.
You are unlikely to lay your hands on a more hectically, strenuously entertaining book for some time. Our hero eats and swashbuckles round the globe with perfect-pitch attitude and liberal use of judiciously placed profanities. Bourdain can write. His timing is great. He is very funny and is under no illusions whatsoever about himself or anyone else. But most of all, he is a chef who got himself out of his kitchen and found, all over the world, people who understand that eating well is the foundation of harmonious living.
From Publishers Weekly
In this paperback reprint, swashbuckling chef Anthony Bourdain, author of the bestselling Kitchen Confidential (which famously warned restaurant-goers against ordering fish on Mondays), travels where few foodies have thought to travel before in search of the perfect meal: the Sputnik-era kitchen of a "less-than-diminutive" St. Petersburg matron, the provincial farmhouse of a Portuguese pig-slaughterer and the middle of the Moroccan desert, where he dines on "crispy, veiny" lamb testicles. Searching for the "perfect meal," Bourdain writes with humor and intelligence, describing meals of boudin noir and Vietnamese hot vin lon ("essentially a soft-boiled duck embryo") and 'fessing up to a few nights of over-indulgence ("I felt like I'd awakened under a collapsed building," he writes of a night in San Sebastian hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar). Goat's head soup, lemongrass tripe, and pork-blood cake all make appearances, as does less exotic fare, such as French fries and Mars bars (deep fried, but still). In between meals, Bourdain lets his readers in on the surprises and fears of a well-fed American voyaging to far-off, frugal places, where every part of an animal that can be eaten must be eaten, and the need to preserve food has fueled culinary innovation for centuries. He also reminds his audience of the connections between food and land and human toil, which, in these sterilized days of pre-wrapped sausages, is all too easy to forget.
If anyone could sell you on the idea of drinking cobra bile, it's this flamboyant chef. His con gusto reading of his second book (the first was KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL) may alternately delight and dismay you. As he eats and drinks his way around the globe, Bourdain describes the slaughter of a pig in Portugal with almost the same enthusiasm as he has for the makings of near ideal repasts in Vietnam or the Napa Valley. Nothing about his reporting is half-baked; he bestows praise (upon Scotland's native foods) and disdain (upon vegans) with equal vigor. So much of his personality comes through that you can't imagine anyone else in the performing role. The abridged itinerary jumps from one continent to another--more pauses would help. Not for the faint of heart--or stomach. J.B.G.
From the Publisher
Anthony Bourdain, lifelong line cook and bestselling author of ‘Kitchen Confidential’, sets off to eat his way around the world. But being Anthony Bourdain, this was never going to be a conventional culinary tour…
Inspired by ‘Apocalypse Now’ Bourdain heads out to Saigon where he eats the still-beating heart of a live cobra (washed down with its blood), and then into Cambodia, the Heart of Darkness, where he travels deep into landminded Khmer Rouge territory to find the rumoured Wild West of Cambodia (Pailin). Other stops include dining with gangsters is Russia, a medieval pig slaughter and feast in northern Portugal, a Basque All Male Gastronomique Society in San Sebastian, eating whole roasted land with Tuareg tribesmen in the Northern Sahara, rural Mexico with his Mexican sous-chef, a pilgrimage to the French Laundry in the Napa Valley and a return to his roost in the tiny fishing village of La Teste, where he first ate an oyster as a child.
Written with the inimitable machismo and humour that have made Tony Bourdain such a sensation, ‘A Cook’s Tour’ is an adventure story to tantalise your taste buds