MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Anthony Bourdain attends the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village during the 2011 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 27, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
Food - Drink
A French Brasserie Changed Anthony Bourdain's Life
Anthony Bourdain was known for his love of unpretentious, hole-in-the-wall dining. Fittingly, one of his earliest and most transformative food memories was at a crowded brasserie.
Developed from the crowded breweries that took hold in France during the 19th century, brasseries are about as informal a dining experience as you can get.
In a 2012 essay for Bon Appétit, Bourdain shared that during one of many family vacations to France, the Bourdains would stop at a brasserie called Quick Elysee.
Bourdain wrote that eating a “thin slice of humble rumsteak with curiously blond frites” at France’s Quick Elysee, while on a family vacation, was “a treasured taste memory.”
However, what had the most influence over Bourdain’s burgeoning food philosophy was his dining partner at Quick Elysee: his father, Pierre Bourdain.
Observing his father's complete love of all types of food, regardless of where or who it came from, gave Bourdain a food-based philosophy that would propel him to stardom.
Bourdain wrote, “[An] important life lesson he [gave me] was: Don't be a snob [...] [which got] me to travel this world and eat all it has to offer without fear or prejudice.”
Bourdain's worldview makes it easy to see the throughline between memories of eating at an unpretentious brasserie to dining with President Obama at a noodle shack in Vietnam.