Anthony Bourdain gets grilled in this month’s Observer Food Monthly. The top US ‘sleb chef previously muttered that he’d be keen to relocate to Vietnam. He still seems to feel a strong connection to the land that fuels 95% of this blog,
His own personal life began to fall apart not long ago. You could blame the success of the book only in part: it was because of one physical place that success got him, and that was Vietnam.
‘I’d read Greene. Conrad. Maugham. And Vietnam was just like the books, just like the movies, only better. The guileless generosity of strangers, waking up smelling those smells, seeing those sights. And having, once, one perfect meal, a confluence of everything good, a source of perfect happiness; I was almost ready to believe in God.
‘But there was quite a big downside to all of that.’ His eyes are intently on me now, the background chatter receding. ‘I knew that my whole previous life was doomed. It was no longer going to be normal. I had seen that … colour … and I knew that that had changed me, altered the way I would look at things. And the first time I went back to America, I found I was right. Everything was flat. Everything.’ He doesn’t go into too many details, but his marriage to Nancy broke up shortly afterwards. ‘She was the love of my life. But everything changed.’
He has a point you know. My first night back in London and I took a stroll through the streets of my old stomping ground, Richmond. Lovely spot. Leafy, grand and posh in a slutty, available kinda way, but stone freakin’ dead. Empty streets, zero smiles, stagnating boozers. Good to be back here an’ all. GREAT to be back actually, but…. BLOODY WAKE UP England… Yawnsville. Interview by Euan Ferguson in The Observer. Worth a butchers.
UPDATE: It appears he won’t be hitting Vietnam any time soon, according to ChubbyHubby.. "I haven’t got around to living in Hoi An yet. That comes after the TV career is over.