Around the Hub bids farewell to Anthony Bourdain


Is the Temptations’ song “Ball of Confusion” overused in movie soundtracks?

I would say yes. But that’s me.

On the other hand, “Whatcha see, is Whatcha get” by the Dramatics says a lot more lyrically.

And it also describes how I felt about Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef who took his own life on June 8 in Strasbourg, France.

I think his defense of Grand Forks, North Dakota newspaper columnist Marilyn Hagerty shows the kind of person that Bourdain was deep inside.

In 2012 when Hagerty wrote a glowing review of an Olive Garden Restaurant in Grand Forks, where she ate Chicken Alfredo and a Raspberry Lemonade, it had the makings of a five-star Yelp! critique.

“All in all, it is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks,” hagerty worte. “It attracts visitors from out of town as well as people who live here.”

Following publication of the piece, Hagerty was pilloried on social media for not being hip enough to understand that newspaper restaurant reviews are the purview of the Jon Golds of the world and too lofty a territory for an 80-something grandmother in flyover country.

Then, Bourdain came to her defense.

“You can’t be a great food writer and a snob about food and just want fancy, expensive ingredients,” he said. “You have to appreciate the qualities of a properly greasy fast-food burger.”

See what I mean about Bourdain?

One of the most likable characteristics of Bourdain’s personality was his daring and his love of authenticity. The skinny and tattooed Bourdain admired Asian street food to the point where he considered putting together a Singapore-style street market in the heart of Manhattan. And, he was always smiling.

In recent years I’ve been around the food service and restaurant business and would say that the combination of ingredients that makes a cuisine or a food special — or authentic — is hard to pin down.

Deep down, Bourdain knew what made something — or someone — special. And he was able to articulate it better than most.

What you saw was truly what you got. For sure, his passing left his fans with a ball of confusion.

#RIP Mr. Bourdain. I hope there’s a great meal awaiting you in the great beyond.


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