It’s not fair. It’s just not fair. There should be some kind of system set up where you have to choose between the following:
- Be a chef at an incredible Manhattan restaurant
- Be an acclaimed author
- Host several TV shows and guest star on others
- Travel the world and eat some of the most delicious food in existence
- Be BFFs with Joel Robuchon
- Be hilarious
Because to have all of them simultaneously, or even at varying times in your life, seems just far too embarrassing for the rest of us. How is it that one man managed to go from doing hard drugs and washing dishes with his hair down to his butt cheeks to essentially being the Crown Prince of all things travel and food? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for him — but it just seems such an astronomical rise one wonders if he didn’t sign a flaming contract with the devil at some point along the road.
Everywhere he goes, he just has this amazing ease and wit about him that makes you feel like you’re right there next to him, eating fresh warthog rectum in Namibia. Granted, he doesn’t always get the most delicious welcomes wherever he goes, but even watching him suffer through a food you can tell he thinks is grotesque is somehow charming. He makes the most out of every situation, and brings a little humor and levity to it. Then he sits down with Eric Ripert and Joel Robuchon for a huge meal and several vineyards’ worth of wine and you’re just like, “Damn, bro. Damn.”
And it makes everything infinitely more wonderful when you realize just how humble, open, and appreciative he is of everything he does and all he is given. No one is more polite with their hosts, respectful of other cultures, or eager to learn and try new things. Is there anything we couldn’t learn from Lord Bourdain’s subtle, hilarious manner? I think not. And even if someone would dislike his rather acerbic delivery or brutal honesty, you must at least admit that the man is consistent and thoroughly himself — something about as rare on television as a plus-size celebrity receiving a compliment that doesn’t feel extracted with pliers.
He also seems, it must be said, firmly planted on the ground — something most of his equally famous counterparts can’t claim. When you see him in interviews, or on other shows, he always has an incredibly reasonable, honest way of answering questions and observing things. You get the feeling that he is an actual human being with feelings and opinions, which can be upsetting for someone who has more than one show on the Travel channel.
The point is, Anthony is getting to live the life that science and all objective reasoning want to convince us is impossible. He travels the world, gets drunk, eats incredible food, stays svelte, meets amazing people, and rides the occasional elephant. He is living the dream, in every sense of the word. And yes, sometimes, as the title states, I am tempted to vampire him and suck the life force out through his neck — it’s true. But, most of the time, I’m comfortable eating ice cream on my couch as I live vicariously through the salt-and-pepper haired cursing man on the television, enjoying the fact that, culturally speaking, there is at least one solid American nemesis to Rachel Ray.