"I became a chef for all the wrong reasons," Bourdain says. "To be part of something – a wild crew of pirates. To get girls, drink and eat for free."
Anthony Bourdain has seen and tasted just about everything (raw seal blubber, anyone?) on his Travel Channel show No Reservations
(Mondays at 10 p.m. ET). So, when we asked People.com readers if they had burning questions for the adventurist-chef and Kitchen Confidential
author, e-mails poured in from Brooklyn to Zurich asking about his favorite recipes, grossest meals and especially his time in Beirut, where he and his film crew were caught in the recent bombing. Bourdain, 50, responded via e-mail while traveling for the show.
Is there anything you won't eat?
– Katie Longinotti, Seattle
I won't eat rat. Or live monkey brains. One has to draw the line somewhere. That's my
Do you plan to return to Beirut to complete filming? My husband and I would definitely like to see you go back.
– Cheri Mouden, Dallas
I plan to return to Beirut and finish what I started at the earliest opportunity. It's a major bit of unfinished business in my life that I never got to do the show I wanted to do – show the world how tolerant and wonderful a city it was and could have been – and hopefully will be again. The food was amazing and the people very proud and open-hearted, and I hope to show that as soon as I can.
What are your top three cities for gastronomical satisfaction?
– Sandra Gee, Hong Kong
Singapore. Barcelona. Hong Kong.
How do you get yourself to eat something unappetizing without being rude?
– Shair Shah, Glendale, Calif.
I try to remind myself how lucky I am to be experiencing what I am experiencing. How privileged I am to be able to travel. How proud my hosts are. And I remind myself that one never will find the great meals of one's life if one is afraid of encountering the occasional bad one. After all ... how bad can it really be?
What does the thumb ring mean, why do you wear it and was it a gift?
– Sandra Koris, Dalton, Ga.
The thumb ring was a gift from my sous chef – back in the old days. All the cooks in my kitchen had them. Now, it's a trashy reminder of 30 years in a basically working-class profession.
What's your favorite wine to drink on its own?
– Jessica Exelbert, Brooklyn, N.Y.
A bottle of Petrus
is always a nice treat. What is the best way to make turkey?
– Veronica Blum, Zurich, Switzerland
Classic. Turkey does not lend itself to improvisation or creative tweaking. I like a plain roast turkey ... rubbed with salt and pepper and maybe stuffed with thyme and sage, basted in butter while roasting. I don't want any mango salsa with my turkey.
What would you have for your last meal on earth?
– Stephanie Garrison, Dallas
The roasted bone marrow at St. John
restaurant in London.If there is one place, one meal or ingredient I have to have before I die what would you recommend?
– Jaime Monika Beierle, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Every serious foodie should eat at the French Laundry
in Napa Valley before they die.