In the late summer of 2000, one author published a book that would turn the culinary world on its head. He ripped apart the showmanship of the “celebrity chef” and gave those who truly ran the kitchen a voice. They were the outcasts, immigrants, addicts, and even felons. It was the first time the public had learned what truly goes on behind your favorite restaurants and what kept the culinary world turning. The author was an Executive Chef at Les Halles in New York. His name was Anthony Bourdain, and this would not be the last we would hear of him.
In 2010, my mom had been fighting cancer for the last two years. There were times when I chose to stay home with my mom instead of going to school or work. We would go to her favorite food spots around Cerritos, California. My mom, being a picky eater, it was always either Thai or Filipino food, but I had no complaints. One day after picking up lunch for her, I came home to her laughing with the television volume a little higher than normal. I sat beside her and tried to see what she was watching. Usually, at this point of the day, she would have TFC (The Filipino Channel) on, and it was always a good soap opera or one of the many, many game shows they would air. This day was different.
She decided to watch The Travel Channel—particularly some show about some guy who was a bit of a cynic and held nothing back when it came to about pretty much anything. It was the first time in awhile that I saw my mom laughing, even through the struggles of chemotherapy. I will never forget how much he did for my mom that day and the rest of her days before her passing. It gave my mom and I some time to spend together and to just not even think about the cancer. I never got to actually thank him for that.
To Anthony, Tony, Mr. Bourdain, Chef:
I’m just one of the millions of people who would like to say thank you. Thank you for giving the helpless a voice. Thank you for sticking to your guns and giving us your “cranky old man” opinions (most, if not all, are my favorite to read). Thank you for opening the world to those couldn’t afford to travel and opened our eyes to the humans of the world and not the stereotypes of them. Thank you for encouraging us to show compassion, respect, and love to our brothers and sisters.
Thank you for giving me a few great moments with my mother before she passed. You showed me to look deeper into my culture. To love the now and live in the moment. I will carry that with me forever and carry your legacy.
Thank you, Chef.