October 1, 2010
Bourdain/Ripert Recap

In trying to come up with a review of last nights event with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert I came up with this list of highlights:

1) Anthony and Eric are hilarious when they get together
2) Watching two men with decades of kitchen experience and memories to share grill each other in a mock trial format makes even the worst cook feel included in that world at least for a while
3) The mixture of fun, joking conversation with serious discussion of food sustainability and responsibility made the serious topics approachable for every person in the audience
4) They opened themselves up to public ridicule as well as praise, which to me demands respect even from the people who may disagree with their particular views on the tough subjects that were brought up… and there were many
5) They drank local beer while up on stage. Awesome!
6) These two men stayed on stage about an hour longer than they were asked to. They also remained in their seats signing autograph after autograph for their loving masses longer than they had to while making a personal connection with each person and never forgetting to give them a sincere smile and “thank you” for being their fan. These guys are genuinely nice.

There were many other amazing details about this event that made it a perfect platform to bring attention to the importance of discussing food and paying attention to its sources and meaning within the professional kitchen as well and the personal home kitchen. The substance of their discussions was educational and intriguing.  And these two didn’t disappoint when it came to hilarious entertainment value either.

My only disappointment for the night came when I realized that my fantasy that these two would recognize passion for food and culture and absolutely demand that I immediately become their personal apprentice did not come to fruition. Darn! At least I came away with fond memories of the time I went to listen to two famous and well-informed chefs discuss the state of endangered ingredients, the culture within the kitchen, and their personal opinions about any cooks responsibility to treat ingredients with respect.

Thank you the Indiana Humanities Council, Spirit & Place and Clowes for providing us with this opportunity and thank you to the chefs for proving that they are just regular people like all of us and that we can all have an impact by making informed decisions every day about our food choices.

This post was written by Council friend Stephanie McDaniel, a lifelong Hoosier who cooks for her dayjob, and for fun.
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