Anthony Bourdain Had Thoughts On The Perfect Main Dish For Any Party

Anthony Bourdain spent a fair amount of time dining in other people's restaurants onscreen, but the late food celebrity was an accomplished chef in his own right, with the professional kitchen experience to prove it. His first memoir, "Kitchen Confidential" (which came after the publication of two chef-y novels, including one about a guy who gets caught up with the mob after taking a job at his cousin's Italian restaurant) is a gritty account of restaurant life that Bourdain once billed as "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine." With so many years in the industry, it's no surprise that the man was filled with culinary wisdom.

Thanks to his sage advice, he's the unknowing recipient of our chef's kiss whenever we sear meat in small batches, crack an egg on a flat surface, and buy a fish on a Monday. He also had a helpful tip for feeding party guests without much day-of effort.

Beef bourguignon for a crowd

Slow-cooked stew might not be your idea of a party food, but Anthony Bourdain thought boeuf bourguignon was an ideal way to serve a crowd of imbibers. By all accounts, Julia Child would likely have agreed. When made ahead, the classic French dish, which stars beef simmered in red wine for hours until it's impossibly tender and rich, eliminates pretty much all cooking responsibilities on the day of a party. 

"This dish is much better the second day," Bourdain wrote in his "Les Halles Cookbook," which features recipes from his New York French bistro of the same name. He suggested cooling the stew down in an ice bath or on your countertop ("The Health Department is unlikely to raid your kitchen") and letting it rest in the fridge overnight. 

When your guests arrive the next day, all that's left to do is heat and serve. In the recipe, Bourdain suggests serving it alongside a "Cote de Nuit Villages Pommard," but we imagine any full-bodied red wine — or cocktail — will do just fine.

Bourdain's party primer

Between his industry prowess and his friendships with the likes of José Andrés and Alice Cooper, it's safe to assume that Anthony Bourdain threw a lot of parties. He shared some of them in a 2017 interview with The Globe and Mail, starting with the basics. 

For starters, he suggested making a detailed list of everything you'll need for the party. Come cooking time, he advocated for setting up a mis en place station with all your ingredients laid out in pre-measured dishes (if you can't already tell, his advice is similar to the kind you'd get from any professional chef). He outlined the process in "Kitchen Confidential," noting that "the universe is in order when your station is set up the way you like it."

Our most important advice from Bourdain's party-planning primer is to go easy on yourself if things aren't going right. "Have reasonable expectations for yourself," he says. If you're making a dish like boeuf bourguignon for the first time, it's no big deal if it isn't perfect.