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The Hot Press Newsdesk, 03 Jul 2012
From the makers of Movies Monday and Free Music Friday comes Tasty Tuesday, a food column with attitude and, we have to admit, a dull throbbing behind the temples after last night’s artisan beer tasting session, more of which anon.
TT was in Budapest last week – expect some goulash-y tales soon! – so was unable to renew acquaintances with Anthony Bourdain as he returned to Dublin with a Discovery Channel No Reservations camera crew in tow.
At various times during his career our fave tough talkin’ Noo Yawk chef-cum-TV presenter has inadvertently fronted a mafia restaurant; let a male kitchenmate know his arse-groping wasn’t appreciated by sticking him with a meat-fork; told Madonna where she can stick her egg-free omelettes and generally behaved in a thoroughly un-Nevin Maguire-esque fashion. Well, unless there’s something about Mr. Maguire we don’t know!
“The most overtly mob-controlled place I worked in was a take-out joint, which was given to a guy who'd done jail time on their behalf,” Anthony says of his former crime associates. “Come opening night, we were so busy that all these 60 and 70-year-old Mafia bosses were pitching in and delivering chicken to apartments in the West Village. Needless to say, there weren't any complaints about the food!
“Even I was shocked at the level of debauchery and criminality. On my first day in Gino's, I found that the extremely well-paid head of prep could not so much as peel an onion – when he deigned to show up at work at all. When I inquired, I was informed by the General Manager that he was the boss' coke dealer. If half the cooks were on the line when they were supposed to be – as opposed to selling guns, or hiding in the stairwell smoking weed, or cooking up freebase in a bathroom – it was a good thing. It was the '80s, the stockmarket was going nuts and everybody thought they were invincible. Me included, I guess.”
For more tales of culinary derring-do read the archive interviews with Tony that reside at http://www.hotpress.com/archive/1348603.html