Meeting This Chef Made Anthony Bourdain's Dreams Come True

As told to Bloody Elbow in 2014, Anthony Bourdain reflected on the moment in which he met his culinary hero. "I was practically in tears. I was totally intimidated. I never thought in a million years I would ever eat at his restaurant, much less with him. I mean, I knew that history was happening in front of me. It was a once in a lifetime thing, a dream come true. It's once in a lifetime for very, very few people," Bourdain gushed about his time spent with French chef Paul Bocuse of Lyon. "[He] was the mountain top for me." 

In Parts Unknown, Bourdain enjoyed Bocuse's famous black truffle soup at Bocuse's restaurant and ate sea bass presented in a pastry crust, French beef stew, and roasted hare. But it wasn't just the restaurant Bordain experienced. Later, Bordain, Bocuse, and his friends (which included chef Daniel Boulud) all feasted on duck and pheasant at Bocuse's private hunting lodge.

A legend in French culinary history

Bourdain wasn't the only one enamored with Bocuse's renowned work. Daniel Boulud has also generously praised Bocuse's historic restaurant, insisting that the culinary institution is worth planning an overseas trip around. Since the 1600s, the Bocuse family has been churning out dishes with local ingredients, and Bocuse has largely been credited with developing and establishing nouvelle cuisine a way of artfully plating dishes, lightening sauces, and letting the natural flavors of fresh ingredients speak for themselves.

Bourdain revealed to CNN that he never imagined himself sitting across from Bocuse, and he likened the legend of Bocuse to boxing superstar Muhammed Ali — two notable personalities who were able to transcend their professions and careers. Even celebrities like Bourdain can feel starstruck and in awe; by making some of Bourdain's wildest culinary dreams a reality, Bocuse created an unforgettable experience for the late chef.