Anthony Bourdain

It takes a very charismatic person to make book-writing, French cooking, and hosting a world travel show look bad-ass, not pretentious. And while the Travel Channel and the Food Network may attempt to up their cool factor with edgy hosts and guitar-laden soundtracks, other shows pale in comparison simply by lacking a host with Bourdain's laid-back charm and wit. We have to give him credit in more than a few ways: When Kitchen Confidential came out it managed to attract an audience outside of foodie circles. When the No Reservations crew found themselves trapped in Beirut during the Hezbollah/Israel conflict, Bourdain's show didn't shy away from covering their experience, and the show has since woven politics, food, and culture in ways rarely seen on food and travel programs. But don't forget the bad-ass rock 'n' roll factor: Last seasons' premiere episode featured a segment in Panama where Bourdain helped burn six tons of cocaine, a drug the chef once had quite an affinity for. At this lecture, the prolific Renaissance man will discuss his work as a writer, a television host, and advocate of good food. (Photo courtesy the Travel Channel)
Fri., April 23, 8 p.m., 2010

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