Cheers, Mr. Bourdain!

Today is chef, journalist and television star, Anthony Bourdain’s 56th birthday.

Since the beginning of his show, No Reservations, back in 2005, I have been absolutely hooked; tuned in and turned onto the weird cultural traditions and custom cuisine our big world has to offer. The show centers around Bourdain, an NYC native and chef, as he travels around the world in spite of uncovering the gritty yet beautiful side of culture, food and to expose the overall thrill of adventure as a traveler, not a tourist.

Anthony Bourdain is the single most influential person I know of;  in real life, on television, in books and is, in every sense of the word influential, a huge role model.

I was fortunate to have met him last October, in which he took a photograph with myself and signed my copy of his wonderful book Nasty Bits, a tale of his time in the culinary world.

His opinions mean more to me than anyone else’s, and I admire his bravery and will to try anything.

Happy 56th, Tony! Keep on making television, inspiring and teaching me and millions of others the beauty of the lesser known.

Bourdain (left), myself (middle) and girl friend Diana at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury, CT

“I’m not afraid to look like an idiot.”

Birthday Blues: Another Year Older

I have had a really hard time putting this post together, but I knew I had to. I wanted to do this for myself, and maybe to the few others out there who are not doing so well handling an upcoming birthday, a milestone, another day older and all the responsibilities and faded memories that come along with it. 

I wanted to put up some baby pictures of myself in spite of my birthday, which is today, and sure enough, as I had expected it to be, the process of digging through 20 plus year-old photos was entirely too overwhelming.

My family has managed to keep just about every photograph they ever took of our family, which is a lot. Between the sappy music I should have avoided playing and the crushing nostalgia of my childhood, I just about broke down.

I am 25 years-old today. And like you, like everyone and everything on this planet, I am only getting older. All of those memories seem entirely too far away- almost like they never happened- perhaps, just a very long movie of which I can only remember bits and pieces. 

I really do not know how I got here, and how I got here so damn quick. I guess I should know how to act like a 25 year-old because I had years to practice and prepare, but I feel the same as I always have; constantly searching for joy, looking for adventures, and digging for new emotions, which could be considered more childlike than anything.

Happy birthday to anyone who shares my birthday with me! Let us do our best today to stay happy and look toward the future with as much optimism as we had in our teens. I guess that is all we can really wish for ourselves.

“The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.”

-Oscar Wilde

Well, birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we’ve grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake, we know it’s not to be, that for the rest of our sad, wretched pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably, irrevocably; happy birthday? No such thing.

-Jerry Seinfeld

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”

-Lucille Ball