Anthony Bourdain visits Houston for a special project

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Chef, television star, and author Anthony Bourdain paid a visit to the Bayou City last week for the Balvenie Rare Craft Collection Tour.

The event is a multi-city exposition of sorts that showcases live demonstrations from the nation's most talented craftspeople, handpicked by Bourdain. Guests in Houston had the opportunity to view and visit with a metal smith, a letter press, a sculptor, a watchmaker, and a cooper. Bourdain has partnered with The Balvenie, the world's most handcrafted single-malt scotch, as curator of the collection.

I had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the man, himself.

KW: Welcome to Houston! What made you want to do this project and bring these talented people with you?
AB: I guess I value people who are out there doing the difficult thing for little reward, who are taking the extra step to do things the way they feel they should be done, regardless of whether or not the market requires it. It's like making good barbecue, will they notice if you did it right? To some people it just doesn't matter they can't help but do it the right way.

KW: Why come to Houston?

AB: Houston is one of the cities on the tour, a place that apparently has been very friendly to the company before, and increasingly a center of good food, and I of course see a lot of overlap between what we are doing with The Rare Craft Collection and good cooking. It's the same kind of mentality of waking up every day and working hard and being the best that you can.

KW: We are so glad you are in Houston. Do you have a favorite place to go? Or something you've noticed about Houston that you like, in particular?
AB: One of the first things I noticed about Houston when I came here in 2001, quite a while ago was a very strong, vibrant Vietnamese Community with some really great Vietnamese restaurants, and by really great I mean they were way out front in front of the rest of the country, as far as how authentic, how uncompromising, and delicious.

KW: What do you want people to know about the craftspeople here today?
AB: These are people who aspire to excellence, to do something extraordinary, unnecessarily well, and I think whenever possible, we should reward that.

KW: I've watched just about every episode you've ever created, and I recently watched the episode on Lyon discussing the Master Craftsmen of France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France), was that an inspiration for this project?
AB: In a lot of ways, I am an old-school guy, I respect the time that people took to put in the work to figure out how to do things the old school way... but I like when people pay respect to the classics, and I'm always going to be sentimental about that.
KW: No short cuts?
AB: No short cuts!

KW: Any plans for any episodes while you are here in Houston?
AB: We are planning to do an episode of Parts Unknown here in Houston imminently... as soon as next season.
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