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Anthony Bourdain On Food, Art, And His Favorite Place To Eat In The Bayou City

The chef known as the “bad boy” of the culinary world paid a visit to Houston Wednesday.


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Amy Bishop | Houston Public Media
Bourdain visited Silver Street Studios for an event to promote his new partnership with Balvenie Whisky.

When Anthony Bourdain thinks of Houston's food scene, it's not barbecue or burgers.

"The first great meal and most memorable great meal I had in Houston was Vietnamese," he says, referring to Mai’s Restaurant in Midtown. "And so for me, that will always be the taste of Houston. The first really authentic, ‘just-like-Saigon' Vietnamese I'd had in America."

You may know Bourdain as the outspoken, outgoing chef and culinary adventurist on the Travel Channel and CNN. He's traveled the globe, experiencing food in different cultures, from third world to world class. So, does he think there's a symbiotic relationship between a vibrant arts and culture community — think Houston — and a thriving restaurant scene?

"I think they can exist without one another, but it is more likely that they go together," he says.

Bourdain explains that there are plenty of cultures that can't afford to have a rich art scene. But many of them are still passionate about food.

He also has opinions pertaining to perceptions of food as an art form. He doesn't call chefs artists; he sees them more as proud craftspeople and artisans.

Bourdain was in town as part of a tour to promote his new curatorial role for Balvenie Whisky before heading off to the Caribbean.

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