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Anthony Bourdain dispels the apparent myth that cooking is a macho profession

Anthony Bourdain dispels the apparent myth that cooking is a macho profession

CNN’s “Parts Unknown” host Anthony Bourdain appeared on Inside MMA to promote a book he is publishing: “Pain Don’t Hurt,” the story of kickboxer Mark “Fightshark” Miller’s return after heart surgery. He first heard about Miller through the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York, where Bourdain’s wife Ottavia “pretty much lives.” Miller failed a Florida Athletic Commission medical test in 2006 when he tested positive for an enlarged heart. He returned to competition in 2011, knocking out his first opponent in nine seconds.

The book is somewhat unconventional, less a story about fighting and more a story about the suffering that occurs inside the fighter. Bourdain says it is about “how to absorb pain, how to deal with pain, how to move beyond pain and adversity.”

“The experience of being punched is something Mark does really well,” he continued. But now the important question. Is there any correlation between being a chef and fighting?

Bourdain says it is “nonsense” that cooking is a macho profession.

“I spent most of my life wearing an apron, clogs and doing what my mom did.”

That’s an interesting confession from a man the Gothamist called a “culinary bad boy.” 

Of course, Hell’s Kitchen’s Chef Gordon Ramsay and his dozen edgy prime time cooking shows can be credited with injecting mainstream machismo into a historically elegant profession. Thanks to Ramsay, our culture’s culinary reference point moved from a bizarre sing-talking Julia Child, to competitors threatening to beat each other down with omelet pans on Top Chef.

But Bourdain is dispelling the myth. It’s all camera work and editing. Behind the scenes, we all wear women’s clothing. Might I interest you in a spritzer?

Silliness aside, Bourdain is a member of a “Jiu-Jitsu family” now, and he is a welcome presence in the sports of Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. The 57-year-old even received a stripe on his white belt from Renzo, and his wife Ottavia “maintains a highly active schedule on the [Jiu-Jitsu] competition circuit,” and she has a thing for triangle chokes

Now Boudain is “hooked” on the Brazilian art. And while being a chef might not be macho at all, he occasionally replaces his apron with a kimono. That is certainly a step in the right direction.

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