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A Cook's Tour
by Anthony Bourdain
cookbook reviewsa cook's tour by anthony bourdain
A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain
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Reviewed by Nicola Harmer


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Review

Having read a review in the London Times of Anthony Bourdain’s - A Cook’s Tour in search of the perfect meal, I was inspired to read what he had to say about my fellow countrymen, between Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay it could be true that they have reputations even more notorious than his...

To me the word tour would suggest a continuous journey around the globe eating at gourmet restaurants in search for that perfect meal, but just as I was getting comfortable with Tony in Vietnam, and enjoying his dining account of some unmentionable item I found myself back in San Sebastien without even turning a page.

However, that aside this book is a great read for chefs and travelers alike. Before embarking on his quest for food, Bourdain sets the scene for each destination - and sets the scene well. It becomes obvious early on of his real love for Vietnam; the place, the people and the food.

As ever his style of writing is candid and honest yet respectful to those who create the dishes that he samples. Bourdain is one of a few who can write in the same way that he talks. The initial chapters contain several graphic, shocking accounts which subside as one progresses through the book. I am not sure if this is because he had the good fortune to witness less as time went on, or because he decided to change his literary focus. It is safe to say that Bourdain’s humor is well weaved into his writing - that is until you get to the piece on vegetarians. Vegetarians are an easy target for ridicule, in this part of the book the non meat eaters are shown no mercy - it is splendid!

As for his account of the British cooking scene. This section is a little thin, with so much going on in my homeland and so many volatile characters to write about, I thought he would have cleaned up. It was somewhat disappointing with the exception of his piece on Fergus Henderson. Henderson is a chef who cooks what Bourdain describes as “un-apologetically English food” and a man who does battle against “the Health Nazis, Vegetarian Taliban” (read the book to get the full scoop).

To summarize I would say that the book is well worth reading, it is light, fun and culinary descriptive. Tony’s humor shines through and you will never think of a vegetarian the same way again...

Read an Except on Portugal...


March 2002

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