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.”