“If I have a single virtue it’s curiosity. It’s a big world. Far bigger than I’d ever imagined – even as a boy reading adventure stories about pirates and castaways. I don’t know where I’m going or when I’ll stop. But I know what I’ve seen. I saw this…”
Following the success of his kitchen expose Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain traded in his chef’s apron for a passport and microphone and hit the road with a new cast of characters and crew to 28 countries and five continents travelling in excess of over 200,000 miles. His book, No Reservations is a scrapbook of sorts to the show of the same name which aired on the Travel Network and is every bit as irreverent and full of surprises.
Not one to take the high road, Bourdain more or less lets the journey take him. His search for misadventure, authentic meals, people and experiences takes him to some pretty far out places and situations. Mostly unscripted and often unorthodox Bourdain lets the circumstances and the characters he meets tell the story and more or less goes along for the ride. The result, little glimpes of unique places and locals that while not offering a typical traveller’s overview of a destination do offer a more authentic and ultimately entertaining portrayal of a place. It is a book that celebrates the experiences, lessons learned and friends one makes when we venture out of the comfort of the familiar.
No Reservations is loosely organized by country and each country visited is given a capsule description about what Bourdain best loves about the place, and the highlights/low points of his experience there along with snapshots. While not a travel guide the photos do capture the essence of each place visited and they remind us what may make a country special, unique and at times perhaps, wisely one to avoid.
Closing sections include ‘Food Porn’ with snapshots of his most decadent, indulgent of meals; Indigenous Beverages, what one finds to drink on the road and the often disastrous after-effects and finishes fittingly with Bathrooms Around The World – worst to best.
Anthony Bourdain takes us on a journey of the strange and obscure, not for the faint of heart but certainly on for those with a thirst for adventure and like Bourdain, curiosity.
Categories - Celebrity Chef, Restaurant, Food Writing, Literary