Thursday, November 4, 2021

the last book I ever read (Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography, excerpt two)

from Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography by Laurie Woolever:

JAMES GRAHAM: I put a lot of faith in mentors like Tony and Sam, who were really not qualified for mentorship. But [at Nikki & Kelly] Tony gave me license to run a kitchen staff of fifteen, and he couldn’t be happier, because that meant he didn’t have to cook.

He didn’t mind if I fucked things up; he was so elastic. If things went bad, he would just patch that over right away with a smile and charm.

One day, everything had gone to hell in a handbasket. Tony had disappeared to go tanning. That was a thing; his nickname at the time was Zonker, after the character from the Doonesbury cartoon strip, Zonker Harris, who was a professional tanner. He would tan, I think, largely to hide the pallor of heroin. He would play hooky, to go to the beach with Lenny, and tan aggressively. He looked like a Versace bag.

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