During his career, Anthony Bourdain visited St. Louis three times, the last two times at the Fox in 2010 and 2016. His first visit, which took place in a much smaller location, was significantly more memorable. On tour for his best-selling book Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain gave a reading and autographed copies at Left Bank Books in 2002. He then proceeded across the street to Duff’s, where an unofficial potluck erupted. Chefs and restaurant employees congregated. What might have been a quick meet-and-greet evolved into an evening of friendship and story-telling that lasted well beyond closing time.
It was one of those rare occasions in St. Louis restaurant history when something unexpected happened, like an undiscovered comet streaking through the night sky, leaving those who witnessed it wondering both how beautiful it was and what the heck it was. In some ways, the occasion encompasses Bourdain’s whole existence. And now, with the release of a new documentary about Bourdain, restaurateurs are reflecting on how swiftly that comet came and gone. The explosive, shimmering, pepper-studded liquid of a Szechuan hotpot was once accurately characterized by Bourdain as “hell broth.” He compared the flavor of roasted iguana to what might be scraped off the interior of a neglected aquarium’s glass. IMDB