Monday, June 7, 2010
I’ve been reading Anthony Bourdain’s new book “Medium Raw” to review it for the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a lot of fun, and especially if you have negative feelings about Alain Ducasse, Rocco DiSpirito and Wolfgang Puck, among many others. They all get a lashing from Mr B.
Among the many provocative statements in the book is this one: “The care and feeding of the Fourth Estate – and their bastard offspring, food bloggers – has become an important skill set for any chef looking to hit the Big Time ... ‘turning’ a journo is usually a pretty simple matter. Just feed them for free. You’ll never have to remind them about it later. Believe me. They’ll remember. It’s like giving a bent cop a Christmas turkey.”
Now, I'm an odd kind of journalist, an especially odd kind of food journalist, though I think my bastardly blogging credentials are real enough. Even so, nobody has ever tried to ‘turn’ me. The nearest I came was having a chat (rather than an interview) with Fergus Henderson, when I was writing about his restaurant St John for Bon Appetit magazine. (The piece got spiked, but I got paid – a triumph). Fergus insisted that he never gave free meals to journalists, and I certainly wasn’t asking for one, but he did give me a glass of Poire William liqueur to go with my espresso.
For what it’s worth, St John is my favorite restaurant in the world, and I think I can look into my heart and safely say that it wasn’t a single glass of Poire William that made me feel that way. It takes more than a single shot of liqueur to corrupt me. How much more, I don’t know. Perhaps somebody would like to try a few experiments.