Yesterday, friends, was a very special day for yours truly. You always remember milestones in your life. My first job (this one), my first press trip (Dusseldorf), and the first time you meet your hero. Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet Anthony Bourdain, and while I won’t pretend that we had a deep, meaningful moment together, I did shake the man’s hand and babble incoherently about being some kind of big fan. Happy Valentine’s Day to me, indeed!
So the good stuff. Why was I meeting Anthony Bourdain? The Singapore Tourism Board hosted a luncheon yesterday for select members of the media at New York’s Michelin-starred Laut restaurant for a private meet and greet with the man himself.
Bourdain tantalized us with tales about his travels throughout Singapore, along with some personal anecdotes about his daughter, and of course, a cutting comment or two about the Kardashians. (Would you expect anything less?)
The chefs at Laut served up a specially-created menu with favorite dishes hand-picked by the Singapore Tourism Board and Tony, including Singapore laksa and Hainanese chicken rice. Bourdain described the food of Singapore as only you could imagine he would – going off into some of the most evocative prose about boiled chicken and rice. Tears to my eyes! (No, but seriously, it was impressive.)
I did manage to learn some intimate details about Tony, including why he does not weight 350 pounds. “I eat and drink for a living,” he tells an audience that is stuffing its faces with beef rendang (a tender coconut-based beef stew) and kuih dada (a crepe flavored with pandan juice and stuffed with grated coconut). “Everything you see on camera I eat. I often go back for seconds. But when I’m off camera, I’m not really eating.”
When it came time to break and I had not yet told Tony that I had made reservations for the two of us at this quaint little Italian restaurant on Valentine’s Day, I realized that I needed to make a break for it.
“Mr. Bourdain?,” I heard myself say.
The man, all 6’4 of him, turned around and smiled at me and shook my hand. I tried to play it cool, remembering that on each of his episodes of No Reservations or The Layover he likes to tell his audience about the indigenous beverage of each destination.
So I asked him, “What is the indigenous beverage of Singapore?” (Ignore the fact that I was so nervous that I mucked up the word indigenous.)
“Beer,” he said, without elaboration.
Well, there you have it folks. Beer is the indigenous beverage of Singapore.
I can die happy now. Happy Valentine’s Day, all! May yours be as good as mine is today! (Oh and we decided to just stay friends.)