When he comes to the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) this Sunday, November 21, expect his brutally honest positions regarding the Food Network, celebrity chef restaurants, factory gray hamburgers and ongoing distaste of Alain Ducasse – who, according to Bourdain, “almost singlehandedly brought down fine dining in America with his absurdly pretentious restaurant Alain Ducasse New York.... To use an egregiously overused expression, ADNY was where fine dining jumped the shark.” I would also expect a healthy debate between the featured performer and students/faculty from the Culinary Institute of America. At the esteemed culinary school, Bourdain is a hero, role model and villain all in one; there could be fireworks.
His now-classic Kitchen Confidential from 2000 is a must-read for aspiring chefs: a love letter to his chosen profession, with its punishing hours and searing surfaces and pace. Saturated with cocaine and alcohol, suspect cleanliness and terrifying managers, the memoir gave a glimpse into “the life,” as Bourdain called it. The success of Kitchen Confidential launched him into a lucrative career as an author, traveler and television personality. He is no longer a chef, but rather a “professional eater,” as The New York Times dubbed him in 2005, when he began hosting the travel/dining show No Reservations on the Travel Channel.
At UPAC, he will tell stories and show clips from his TV show, answer questions from the audience and sign copies of his newest book, Medium Raw, subtitled A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Tickets are available at the UPAC box office at 602 Broadway in Kingston, (845) 339-6088); the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072; and through TicketMaster, (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. Seats are $70 for Golden Circle seating, $55 general admission for the rear orchestra and loge, $50 for Bardavon members for the rear orchestra and loge, $45 general admission for the rear balcony and $40 for Bardavon members for the rear balcony. For more info visit www.bardavon.org.