I am sorry to hear he took his own life, I understand he was exhausted from traveling the world, eating culinary masterworks, drinking the finest wines and making ass piles of money. It was a grind. In his 40 year career, he’d battled depression, alcohol and drug abuse, Low-T and 176 different kinds of intestinal parasites leading to incessant, explosive diarrhea, dysentery and other digestive maladies. Close friends estimate that he spent around 5-6 hours of every day shitting. They say he rarely made it to a restroom. The toxins from a Somalian Camel Fetus Pizza he consumed in 2011 nearly killed him. The hump was so humiliating, he withdrew and avoided the public. So I understand his pain and I sincerely hope he rests in peace.
This is actually a very gracious gesture on my part, because the guy totally ruined my culinary career, even though I think he meant well. See, I used to run a roadhouse type restaurant back in the day. We served the usual fare – steaks, chicken, catfish, burgers. We even had a veggie burger on the menu. One of our customers ordered it frequently. We called it Earl’s and it soon became the premier dining spot in the whole county. The Baptist Church bulletin awarded us 5 stars for our Creamed Corn. We were rocking.
It was a few years later when the world famous chef and author, Anthony Bourdain walked in with his TV crew. They’d heard of us and wanted to do a feature on Earl’s for his show. We were so thrilled and figured this would be our Golden Ticket to the big time.
But Mr Bourdain was unimpressed with our menu. We had no fois gras, no duck eggs, no goat cheese, truffle oil, squid ink…none of the foodstuffs popular in the best restaurants. He was particularly displeased with our complete lack of knowledge concerning flavor-infused foams. This left us all feeling pretty embarrassed and uncool, so we pleaded with the Chef to help elevate our bill of fare. He happily agreed to prepare a new, signature dish that would lift our ratings into Michelin territory. He asked us to provide a wild Boar’s Head and a turnip, then he went out back and gathered a few other resources.
He disappeared into the kitchen, shooed all our staff away and went to work. He travels with all his own cutlery, pots, pans, EVOO and secret herbal ingredients he reveals to no one. 3 hours later he emerged with his new creation, the epitome of Haute Cuisine – Earl’s House Special Hog Snout Tartare. WOW.
The kitchen staff was stunned and amazed by this masterpiece and fell to kiss his feet. He suggested we price the meal at $60.00 in consideration of our uncultured clientele who might not go for it otherwise. We put it on our menu as a full color spread, named it in French (that let us add $15 right there) and waited for the accolades to roll in.
But nobody liked it. Most of our regular customers wouldn’t even order it, saying it looked like “barf” and they already know what barf tastes like. The local paper called it a “dog’s lunch” – but even the dog wouldn’t touch it. One of our internationally-sourced busboys tried it rolled up in a flour tortilla. We think he self-deported, not sure but we never saw him again.
We held out, insisting this was culture and virtue-enhancing food that all the best people eat. We dropped steaks and burgers from the menu completely and replaced them with Saffron Risottos and Shad Roe and Seaweeds and Mushroom Dust…elite foods targeted at elite palates was our new mantra. The unwashed masses could get their Frito Pie and Chili Cheese Fries somewhere else. We were determined to maintain our new status as a progressive and culturally sensitive epicurean destination, with hip new tableware and indecipherable ingredients that taste like sweaty socks. Like it or not, we had evolved.
Again, nobody liked it. Any of it. Turned out, we had no sophisticated palettes to serve. Only “normal” people who like “normal” food. Incurious food cowards with no desire to explore the rancid fermented flavors of other cultures. Closed minded provincials who’ve never crapped a scorpion in their lives. People who like corn dogs and pork n beans but won’t touch pancreas. Backwoods dregs who eat to get “full”.
All because of Anthony Bourdain and that damn hog head. Foodies suck.