Anthony Bourdain Charms Memphis Crowd with Stories and Funny One-Liners (And He Curses A Lot Too)

Photo courtesy of Travel Channel

Bad boy Anthony Bourdain bought his rock star celebrity to the Orpheum Friday evening with an expletive-studded stand-up on his feelings about Paula Deen, his worldwide travels and his upcoming move to CNN early next year.


Since 2005, the celebrity chef and bestselling author of “Kitchen Confidential” has hosted “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, earning accolades for his brave embrace of worldwide cuisines. No matter how weird, Bourdain will eat it.


We eat and drink what’s offered wherever we go,” he told the Orpheum crowd.


Every once in a while Bourdain gets sick, like the time he shared warhog rectum with tribesmen in Namibia. “I knew as soon as I bit into it, I’d be taking antibiotics,” he said.


Bourdain, who said he's contributing proceeds from his Guts and Glory show in Memphis to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts, promised fans that the move to CNN won’t alter his style or his show’s content.


I’ve had the same four-person crew for 10 years, and they are all coming with me,” he said. “I’ll be doing more or less the same thing on CNN that I’m doing on the Travel Channel. I won't get sophisticated.”


Admittedly, I’m a huge Bourdain fan because I think he is sexy, funny and irreverent, qualities displayed on stage Friday in a warm, self-effacing way.


Bourdain seemed like the real deal, describing the South as America's cradle of gastronomy and admitting that he has never eaten Memphis barbecue. But he promised to return to Memphis to film a show and had this endorsement for the city's much-loved swine: “We should all eat more pig tail; slow roasted, dredged in crumbs and fried to crisp it up.”


While it was difficult to scribble in the dark, I did manage to write down a few more things from Bourdain's show, which, by the way, ran more than two hours:

  • Bourdain has little patience for fast food, chain restaurants and (sorry to say) vegetarians: “Chicken Caesar Carbonara: What the fuck is that?”

  • He says all travelers should follow the “Grandmother Rule: Eat whatever Grandma puts on your plate.”

  • Russians drink. A lot. When filming his last show, Bourdain’s hosts drank two to three shots of vodka for breakfast, downed another seven to nine shots with lunch and finished the day with 14 to 19 more. “It’s true,” he said. “I clocked it.”

  • And finally, what would Bourdain request for his last meal? “A super high end, super fresh piece of nigiri.”

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