Monday, June 11, 2018

Fort Kochi Native Recalls His Participation In Anthony Bourdain's Food Show

By Shevlin Sebastian 

Photos: Anthony Bourdain; Adrian 'Jackie' D'Cruz

When the news began to filter online that famed chef Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide at the age of 61, on June 8, one man who was profoundly shocked was Fort Kochi native Adrian 'Jackie' D'Cruz. That's because Jackie took part in Anthony's food show, 'No Reservations' at Kochi in 2010. 

The people at Travel and Living Channel, which used to run Anthony's show got in touch with me through a New York family connection,” says Jackie. Somebody had given them the idea of doing a show regarding dosas. But when Jackie spoke to the production manager he told him that it won't be too exciting sitting down and eating a dosa. “So I suggested a meal at a thattukada,” says Jackie. 

The producer agreed. Soon the crew flew down to Kochi. And Jackie met Anthony just before the shoot. “I have been watching Anthony's show for many years,” says Jackie. “So I felt a bit nervous. But within a minute we became the best of friends.” 

They sauntered down and sat on plastic chairs at a thattukada just opposite the Medical Trust Hospital. Soon, Anthony tasted everything: parathas, peas curry, beef fry, sardines, quails and mackerels. 

The highlight, for Jackie, was when Anthony ate the mackerel and said, “Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and that's how fish should be done.” 

Then Anthony inquired about Jackie's Portuguese origin. Jackie then explained how the Portuguese curry sauce and tapioca had now become a permanent part of Kerala's cuisine. 

Asked about his personality, Jackie says, “At 6'5” he was larger than life. He was a down-to-earth person despite his fame. Anthony had a natural charm, and simplicity. He was also very outgoing and positive-minded.” 

So, for Jackie, Anthony was the last person in the world who would have committed suicide. “But then we never know what happens in the psyche of a human being.”

Jackie paused and said, “Rest in Peace Anthony.” 

(The New Indian Express, Kerala editions)

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