Last night, I saw Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert speak as part of their Good Vs. Evil Tour at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. For those who don't know, Anthony Bourdain is an amazing travel host, writer and chef. Eric Ripert is the executive chef and owner of Le Bernardin in NYC. Here are the top 5 lessons I learned during the talk:
- Anthony Bourdain walks like a BOSS. Seriously. When he walked on stage, it was like a million little rocker angels were singing, "swag, swag, swag." He entered a room in a way that said he would be owning us b****es. I need to get a walk like that.
- Eric Ripert is hoooooooott. All the o's and two t's, chickadees. I haven't really worked much in the restaurant industry, so I didn't have a good question that would be specific to Eric. If I'd raised my hand during the Q&A, it would've gone something like this, "Where does someone even get a smile like that?" Immediately followed by me fainting.
- Be bold. Be first. Anthony Bourdain is my professional IDOL and I totally pussed out on my chance to ask him a question at the end of the show. I waited until a few other people had asked questions until I became bold enough to raise my own hand. The problem is that is exactly what most people did. By the end, most questions were being delivered by giant douchers, like the guy who started his question by insulting Tony's writing and ended it by asking him to solve world hunger...I'm not even joking. When Eric and Anthony delivered a well thought answer, it wasn't quite the soundbite this person was hoping to get and he shouted a repeat of the question across a crowded auditorium. The woman who scream/cried that she wanted to go to dinner with the guys after or the guy who delivered the final mic drop question which delved into Tony's relationship with Travel Channel...which did not end on good terms. This was only the first half of a two part question that was clearly going to be followed up with some sort of "let's work together" pitch. Annoyed by the first part of the question, Tony and Eric ended the Q&A and walked off the stage before the second part could be delivered. Dear audience, you should use this opportunity to learn from someone you admire and tap into their knowledge. It's not just about having a ten second moment in your life where you existed to a celebrity. This is the question I wanted to ask: "I'm a writer and my dream is to be a travel host. What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?" Wouldn't that have been interesting for everybody to hear? I'm pretty mad at myself for not asking that of the one guy who's advice in that area would matter to me more than anybody's.
- Ask the right questions of the right people. One of the audience members was a woman in the restaurant biz who was worried about the male-dominated culture. Anthony had a really awesome response. He pointed out that neither Eric or he are women. Their point of view is not that of a woman working in the restaurant industry. There is no way that he could answer that question that didn't involve man-bashing and that is not what he was going to do just to appease someone. He told her that there are plenty of women who are making it in the business and that she should approach them with questions like that. They would be able to give her better advice on that specific niche need. That's a brilliant piece of insight that can be applied to so many things. Find mentors and examples of people that can answer your very specific questions. If you ask the right questions of the right people, there are so many doors that will open up to you.
- Anthony did, however, follow up that question with the best piece of advice he could give from his perspective: Don't worry about being underestimated. That just puts you in a better postion to surprise people when they aren't looking. They don't even know you're a threat yet.
- People will be dicks to you if they think you are someone who "can take it." Chicago, that was not our best. I paid a weeks worth of groceries in November for that ticket and there were people heckling and shouting throughout the entire show. That doesn't include the total toolboxes asking questions during the Q&A. Anthony presents himself as a tough guy and an open book. His personality is rough around the edges and raw. For whatever reason, that makes people think that he'll like or even expect people to kinda verbally rough him up a bit. You guys, Eric Ripert is his best friend, because Eric Ripert is a ridiculously amazing chef. Any straight shooting delivered by this guy is taken on the chin, because Anthony respects this man. You do not know him on that level. STFU. I guess what you can take from this is to be honest, but don't shame yourself too hard either. It's almost like a parent that tries to be "best friends" with their teenage kids. They are going to walk all over you. Once you get to a certain level in your career, you want to make it clear that you came from the people, you have fought their fights and now you've attained the goal. That deserves respect. I guess, we all need to show enough respect for ourselves to demand respect from others.
Did you go last night? What did you think?