Anthony Bourdain — chef, author, TV star — is bringing his stage show to town this week (Friday, December 16, at the Midland ), and part of the night's entertainment is the candid, spontaneous question-and-answer session with the audience. Sometimes, it's the best part of the performance.
"The questions I get are never pre-screened," Bourdain says. "I mean, I like weird, confrontational, drunk or psychotic questions from my audience. This is a show, not a press conference. I’m not running for office. I like it that you never know how it’s going to go on any given night."
"Oh my God, it's a regular event," Bourdain says. "I dd a show in a Las Vegas casino, and everyone in the audience was drunk — 2,000 drunks.
"I’ll talk about anything. And if I don’t, I’ll tell the audience I don’t want to fucking talk about that. It doesn’t all have to be about food. If someone wants to ask about obscure rock albums of the 1970s, I’ll talk about that."
And then there's the weirdest question that Bourdain has been asked so far. The normally unflappable Bourdain was even taken aback when he was asked about the size of his penis.
"That wasn't during one of my shows; it was a press conference," Bourdain says. "A female Japanese journalist asked me how large my penis was. I was thrown by the question, but I answered it. That was the first and last time I’ve been asked that question."
Bourdain is back in Kansas City to promote the softcover version of his newest book, Medium Raw, and to shoot footage for his popular No Reservations TV show. Medium Raw, Bourdain says, is an update of his life since his first best-seller, Kitchen Confidential, was released. "I thought I was a kinder, gentler person in it, but I’ve been told it ends up being pretty nasty."
Bourdain has been in Kansas City before and admits to being a "huge fan" of Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue. And he refused to accept the varying perceptions of Midwestern cuisine.
"Anytime I make assumptions about the food in the Midwest," Bourdain says, "I’m surprised and discover quirky, interesting twists on regional classics or something completely new. Anything is possible.
"I once thought that Midwestern cuisine was defined by good value — you know, that Olive Garden mentality. But that attitude has clearly changed. The food scene is a lot more exciting and creative. I have my favorite places in Kansas City, but I’m looking forward to doing more investigation on this trip."