National Press Club

Fourth Estate dinner to commemorate, recreate 2004 Anthony Bourdain dinner, July 24

June 17, 2018 | By Susan Delbert | sdelbert@press.org

Anthony Bourdain, who died June 8, will be sadly missed, but not easily forgotten. On November 23, 2004, Bourdain launched the publication of the “Les Halles Cookbook”--named for the New York City bistro at which he had been the executive chef since 1998--at a cookbook/wine dinner in the Fourth Estate restaurant.

To honor his memory, the Fourth Estate is planning to re-create the six-course meal served in 2004--adding hors d’oeuvres--at a dinner July 24.

Tickets are available online. Hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:30 with dinner following from 7-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $80/single; $150/couple. Club members receive a 15 percent discount ($68/$128).

Proceeds from the dinner will be used to fund a program by the Club's Journalism Institute that will address a journalist’s responsibilities on the reporting of suicide and its prevention.

The 2004 menu for the Club dinner started with “Blood & Guts” as served at the Fourth Estate featuring veal cheeks, though in the cookbook, a stew of tripe and boudin noir.

The Les Halles salad followed, not so-named in the book, but the salad, “Frisée aux Lardons,” has the Bourdain comment following the listing for six ounces Roquefort, (“that’s real Roquefort, knucklehead!”).

Sea scallops, quail, pheasant, “Stinky Cheese” and a Charlotte with ladyfingers and chestnut puree completed that meal. Whenever possible, Kendall Jackson and other California wines will again accompany courses.

Bourdain was not only the celebrity travel guru of recent years, but a respected author.

“I am not a journalist,” he often intoned, but legions of readers and viewers might disagree. Former Club President Mark Hamrick, who was at the 2004 dinner, noted, “while he wasn't trained as a journalist, per se, he settled into the role with serendipitous success that would be impossible to duplicate or repeat.”

Bolstering his acclaim as an engaging writer, the “Les Halles” book shares some of the irreverence Bourdain made famous in his best seller, “Kitchen Confidential.”

In the introduction, Bourdain notes, “This is not a cookbook. Not really…..[these] are the official recipes of the best goddamn brasserie/bistro in the country.... I will take you by the hand…[as] I would a new recruit in my kitchen….[which] means that if, from time to time, I refer to you as a ‘useless screwhead,’ I will expect you to understand.”

Hamrick further remembered about Bourdain: “His stardom was on the rise...two years into his TV career...he emitted a rock star-style persona. Cool, yet connecting...ready with the sharp wit. Able to speak extemporaneously with apparent ease.”

Hamrick asked Bourdain to sign his cookbook, which included “an indication of his trademark sardonic humor: his depiction of a knife dripping with blood, presumably.”