Some of his speech I'd heard before, when he spoke at the Commonwealth Club (they have a pretty cool podcast) but much of it was new. He refrained from dissing Rachel Ray because they have a bit of a truce going now. Honestly, Rachel Ray annoys me a bit, but she seems like a good sport about all the flak she's taken over the years from Bourdain, so kudos to her for not getting into a knot over it.
He spoke about Sandra Lee *shudder* who creeps me right the fuck out - the story was very funny and very self-deprecating. He thinks Guy Fieri is a douche (true) and Adam Richman, of Man vs. Food, isn't getting paid enough for what he has to eat (also true).
What stuck with me the most was what he had to say about being a traveler and how awful most Americans are at it. I agreed with all of it - that you should avoid the restaurants where the tourists are, that you should try the local food; when in Jakarta, don't order gumbo. Eat what the locals are eating. Eat the street food. Try things you haven't tried before, go places that are off the beaten path and really experience the place. Stay away from tour groups.
He took a ton of questions from the audience. Most were predictable - what would your final meal be? (Bone marrow on toast.) What's the best restaurant to go to in city X, Y or Z? (Local places and street food.) But the audience was weird. People were yelling things out, random words and hollers came from every side of the auditorium throughout his speech. And several people tried to shill products to him, including, god help us all, a dessert hummus. (His answer? "Do I look like the kind of guy who eats hummus?") It was really odd.
Overall it was a good talk. Not mind-blowing or anything, but funny and entertaining and a nice way to spend a Saturday night, even if it was in Lowell.
And sadly, aside from a few people who rushed the stage, he didn't do autographs. My