It began as a blog post idea after the suicide of Anthony Bourdain in the summer of 2018, developed into an essay that floundered unfinished for years, and then was completed during the pandemic of 2020, where it morphed into a monograph in length, or perhaps like a double record with b-sides, or a tasting menu with themes and accords presented in rhythm and sequence across a long, leisurely evening.
The piece was written primarily for restaurant industry workers, but also for people who love restaurants and bars, to deepen their perspective, understanding and compassion for restaurant industry workers, and for mental health providers to understand an industry and culture that may be a part of some of their patients’ lives, as well as to consider offering sliding scale services (or barter) to restaurant industry workers, or find other creative ways to support and care for the people that feed us in our communities.
Photos by Mark Adams
1. The counter at Wasabi, chef-owner Takako Imaki’s 10-seat, a one Michelin star, “tasty deep-fried skewers” restaurant in Osaka, Japan, after a beautiful and delicious chef’s choice Kushiage course on a rainy evening in November 2016
2. Flower and Books Still Life on Diner Table
1. Curried Chicken and Rotti, my mom and my voice in the kitchen of my childhood home, September 14, 2014
2. Ann Kim’s acceptance speech for the James Beard Best Chef Midwest award, 2019
3. The Replacements, “Here Comes a Regular,” Tim, 2008 Remaster
4. NNAMDI, “It’s OK,” BRAT, 2020
— James Beard Foundation (@beardfoundation) May 7, 2019