Imagine being blindfolded while judging food prepared by contestants of a reality show. New York-based celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain talks about his new challenge, why everybody cannot call themselves chefs, his love for Kerala cuisine and more…
He has a job many would die for — eat and travel for a living! New Yorker Anthony Bourdain is famous for turning the spotlight on the food that a city has to offer, besides its sights and sounds. Now we’ll get to see the traveller confined to a studio and judging food prepared by contestants of Fox Traveller’s new show The Taste that will go on air on October 18.
Taking the judge’s seat along with television chefs Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey, Anthony will have a tough job of judging by tasting just one spoonful of the food prepared by the contestants, and blindfolded at that!
In an e-mail interview, Anthony, known for his book Kitchen Confidential later made into a popular TV series, talks about why food is a political subject and why everybody cannot call themselves chefs.
You have an envious job. Is travelling and eating for a living really as simple as it looks?
It’s the best job in the world. But it’s demanding. A good work ethic is still required, and a lot of time away from my family. We’re looking not just at food, but at all the things that surround food. Food is as political a subject as it gets. So even without discussing politics per se, it’s about who eats, what they eat, and in what circumstances — these are important and revealing answers.
How can you judge a dish by having just a spoonful of it?
Food is subjective. That’s part of the challenge for the contestants; as with anybody cooking for others. You have to ask yourself: who am I cooking for? Ultimately, it’s about pleasure. Is this food making us happy? Is it delicious? Do I want more?
A lot of reality shows on television are making famous chefs out of amateurs. What do you think of the trend?
As long as they don’t call themselves ‘chefs’, I am okay with it. Anybody who cooks well, with pride, is doing a noble and good thing in my estimation. The word ‘chef’ means a cook who leads other cooks in a professional kitchen. You can be a good ‘chef’ and still be a lousy cook. It’s just a job description, not a measure of talent. If you don’t run a professional kitchen filled with other cooks, you are probably not a ‘chef’, no matter how brilliant a cook you might be.
You have tasted food from around the world. How has it impacted the food you cook in your kitchen?
I stick with what I know. Just because I love to eat sushi doesn’t mean I know how to make it anywhere near as well as someone who has dedicated years to it.
Your most memorable experience in India and a dish that you really enjoyed.
I love India and hope to film there again soon. I love the spicy food from Kerala in particular. And I hope there will be an Indian version of The Taste soon. I believe there will be.