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Traveling chef Anthony Bourdain to appear at the Genesee
By Deborah Pankey | Daily Herald Staff

Chef Anthony Bourdain can be seen on the Travel channel, usually roaming the streets of a foreign hamlet.


Courtesy of Travel Channel

Chef Anthony Bourdain holds his daughter Ariane in Miami Beach in November.


Associated Press file

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Published: 10/28/2009 12:04 PM

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No Reservations, an Evening with Anthony Bourdain

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6

Where: Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan

Tickets: $39.50, $49.50, $75 (includes post-show meeting). Available at box office, Ticketmaster outlets, (800) 982-2787 or

When you see him on cable TV's Travel channel, chef Anthony Bourdain is usually roaming the streets of a foreign hamlet noshing on something that resembles noodles in spicy sauce, sleeping in a desert while locals cook game in an underground pit or saddling up to the bar to sip local hooch. (Who am I kidding, Bourdain doesn't sip.)

When he comes to Waukegan on Nov. 6, you'll get to see another side of this hard-living, hardworking chef and culinary adventurer.

Bourdain takes the stage at the Genesee Theatre for an evening that draws its name from the Emmy award-winning show "No Reservations." There's no multimedia presentation, no fiery cooking demonstration, no samples of Malaysian dishes passed around the theater. Just Bourdain, a mic and the audience.

"I never really know what the show is going to be like, I just wing it," said Bourdain via phone from his New York home. "A lot of it counts on who's in the audience; how drunk, how rowdy, how crazy the crowd is. Is it line cooks on a day off of work, or a more refined crowd?"

His hour-or-so monologue, or diatribe as it may be, will touch on his world travels, his kitchen trials (as chronicled in his best-selling books) and his views on the organic food movement (there's the diatribe part). After, he'll open the floor to questions.

Here are some questions I put to him in advance of his appearance.

Q. Halloween's coming up. Any fond memories?

A. For me Halloween was memorable mostly for the opportunity for juvenile delinquency. For two days, vandalizing, creeping around neighbors houses was accepted.

Q. What are your plans for this Halloween?

A. Halloween is a big deal; we'll dress her (2-year-old daughter Ariane) up as a fairy princess. When she's old enough to go trick-or-treating you can bet I'll be there, probably in a pirate costume.

Q. How do you approach mealtime with Ariane?

A. There's no convincing a 21/2-year-old to eat something she doesn't want to eat. She's traveled around with me and been exposed to stuff, but I'm not going to arm-twist her into trying things. If she wants to eat a grilled cheese sandwich, I'll make her a grilled cheese sandwich. I just want her to be happy and healthy.

Q. What was the last meal you cooked at home?

A. Boeuf bourguignon. I like one-pot cooking; I like to keep it simple at home; at the restaurant I had a cleanup crew.

Q. Did the movie "Julie and Julia" inspire you to cook that French dish?

A. Julia Child was frankly an influence even before I ever thought of being a cook. My mother cooked from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Julia set the standard; she changed the world for the better.

Q. On "No Reservations" you also expose your audience to a new world of flavors.

A. I would never, ever dream of comparing me to Julia. On my show, it's me trying to have fun; it's a very personal, first-person essay. I'm not an educator or an advocate; I'm just a guy traveling around the world.

Q. Where do you stand on the organic movement?

A. I'm for organic and sustainable food, but I'm deeply suspicious of people who believe all of us should eat that way.

Q. Where do you like to eat when you're in Chicago?

A. I'm a huge fan of Paul Kahan, Blackbird, avec, The Publican. I like him, he's good for the world. And Laurent Gras at L2O, that's one of the most exciting fine dining restaurants in the country right now. And I'm a fan of Hot Doug's. The fries come out of the (duck fat) oil, right onto your plate.