Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here I Am!


I'm Sharon, and I used to work in downtown Manhattan, where I wrote about the film industry. During that stint, I had business lunches at Les Halles downtown, completely ignorant as to who Anthony Bourdain was, only caring that the French Dip was stellar and the accompanying pommes frittes were hands down the best I had tasted. When it came time to preview the Fall T.V. lineup for our film magazine, I took home the pilot episode of Fox’s Kitchen Confidential. I liked it, and told my editor so the following day. “Kitchen Confidential?” he asked, curiosity piqued. “Is that based on Anthony Bourdain’s book?” He knew from my blank expression that 1.) I was a bum hire, 2.) I lived in a hole, and 3.) It probably was based on his book. The following day, he brought in a paperback copy of Kitchen Confidential, informed me that my favorite business lunch was served by Sir Anthony Bourdain himself, and proceeded to whip my still-relatively-fresh-out-of-college butt into shape.

I can’t even begin to explain how much Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential (coupled with his show, the Travel Channel’s No Reservations which I discovered soon after---the opening shot shows Bourdain exiting downtown Les Halles and getting ready for his excursions through the world) inspired me to pursue my passions, namely travel, writing, food, and photography. There was something about his lust for life coupled with his “Here I am – take me or leave me, no apologies”- attitude that I really dug. Dude was real, and he had stories.

Throughout my career, I continued to read Bourdain. His books, along with Bravo’s Top Chef, made the culinary world come alive. I graduated to Michael Ruhlman’s series of books on chefs, and realized there were true players in the field, people who took food and the dining experience to a new level. Chefs were rock stars. I began an Excel spreadsheet of restaurants I wanted to try, as well as a piggy bank devoted to the mecca of all meals, a $500+ exodus to Masa Takayama’s Masa (still haven’t been). But Bourdain continues to hold the softest spot in my heart, as he is the one who introduced me to it all.

I hope you enjoy my entries and that they inspire you to eat well and enjoy life. Thank you to Anthony Bourdain, Michael Ruhlman, Tom Colicchio and Top Chef, my mentor Bryant Frazer, and my mom, as they are all continual sources of inspiration to me.