Laurie Woolever talks Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography
Today, Melissa got to chat with writer, editor, and assistant to the legendary Anthony Bourdain Laurie Woolever about her new book, Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography. They chatted all about his life, her role as his assistant and co-author, and so much more.
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Ardus and Damn The Cow
Announcer: Nathaniel Perry
Laurie Woolever – Interview
Melissa: [00:00:00] This is our country and I’m Alyssa searcher. I’m beyond honored to chat with my next guest today. She is a writer, editor, and worked as an assistant and coauthor to the legendary chef and writer, Anthony Bordain here to talk about her new book ordain, the definitive biography, Laurie will ever welcome to the.
Lauire Woolever: Hi, thank you so much for having me. It’s really nice to be here. Thank you so
Melissa: much. How are you doing?
Lauire Woolever: I’m doing all right. It’s been a big week, you know, the book just came out and I’ve been talking to lots of people about it. And really just trying to you know, share Tony’s story, how he was such an interesting guy, such a much more complex person that I think was always apparent.
Just from seeing him on television. And so I’m, I’m really excited to finally have this book out in the world and for people to, to read about his entire life.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been reading through it. It’s absolutely amazing. So, congratulations on a book release for one that’s really important as well.
[00:01:00] And yeah, there is so much that I want to ask you. Well, let’s get into it. Yeah. So much going on. Well, first of all, I would love to hear, you know, I’ve, I’ve heard you been referred to as the Lieutenant which I love, I think that’s awesome. Tell us how you came to get that title. And then, you know, for our listeners who may not know, just describe a little bit of your role in that.
Lauire Woolever: Sure. So I started, I first met Tony in 2002. He had just gotten the contract for his first book, a cookbook, which was called Anthony Bourdain’s layout. Cookbook layout was the New York restaurant where he had been working and he’d already published kitchen confidential and. He needed somebody to help him with recipe editing and testing.
And that was something that I had done with Mario Batali and he recommended me to Tony. So Tony, based on the strength of the recommendation from Mario Tony hired me sight unseen. And then we started working together on this book. So that was my first interaction with him. And then a couple of years went [00:02:00] by.
I did other work. Tony went on to get a bigger and bigger. Notoriety as a television host, I was working at art culinary magazine and then wine spectator magazine. And then I had a baby and I wanted to find a different type of job that was a little more flexible. And I reached out to Tony and a bunch of other people and just said, I’m looking for a part-time job.
Here’s what I can do. And Tony offered me a job right away. His assistant was on her way out. And so he offered me the chance to take that job. And I really jumped on it. I knew that even though I was. I have maybe outgrown the the title of assistant. I knew that this would be a really a great opportunity and that he was someone I really wanted to work with.
So that was in 2009 and it was a job I did until up until the end of his life in 2018. Wow.
Melissa: probably life changing for you in so many ways. Yeah,
Lauire Woolever: absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, he was so. Generous with giving me opportunities to grow as a writer and an editor. Of course, my, you know, the main part of my job was [00:03:00] to assist him to make sure he had what he needed and when he needed it.
And they, he was getting where he needed to go and that I was kind of handling. The many, many questions and queries and all of the information that came in for him every day, so that he didn’t have to sort of be overwhelmed by that. But he also was very generous with helping me you know, further my own career as a writer and editor.
He had a book in print called Anthony Bordain books through echo. And I started helping ly and editing some of the books on that imprint. And then in 2016, we published a coauthored cookbook called appetites. So. It’s really like I said, he was really generous about giving me opportunities.
That’s amazing. What was your first impression of him when you met him for the first time and had you known much, you know, you said you had that connection through Mario Batali, but did you really know that much about him? Like what were your first initial thoughts?
Lauire Woolever: So I had, I think like everyone else in New York and in the country and the restaurant business, or not in the [00:04:00] restaurant business, I had read and loved kitchen confidential.
Had this idea of who he was in my mind based on that book. So I was expecting him to kind of swagger in and be very brash and very kind of loud and you know, sarcastic and maybe, you know, having a drink and smoking a cigarette at 11 in the morning. And in fact, Much quieter and a much smaller presence than I expected.
He was very professional and business like, and it was a very quick meeting, you know, it was clear he was in a hurry to get someplace else. And I was, I was quite surprised at how kind of low key and subdued he was. So, and you know, throughout the course of my time, knowing him, that was always the case where he was.
Often a little quieter and a little more subdued than, than you might expect. He still was hilarious and charming and, you know, he was able to kind of turn it on, on a dime, but he was. You know, he, wasn’t always kind of the swaggering, a Marlboro man that I think people saw and loved from television.[00:05:00]
Melissa: Yeah. You know, one of my favorite shows as obviously no, no reservations. And I felt like they did a good job of zeroing in, on some of those moments. I mean, there will be episodes where it would just be like, excuse me, stills of him, you know, kind of contemplating was that kind of intentional? Was it sort of just the, those candid moments that.
We’re captured and we’re deciding. You know, put into those episodes,
Lauire Woolever: you know, I, I can’t you know, I wasn’t part of the crew on those shows, but I think I can, I can speak with reasonable authority on it. Having interviewed a lot of those guys and been friends with them for years. I think that. You know, Tony really surrounded himself with some of the best of the best of, of these television, producers, directors, cinematographers editors.
And so I think the more that they all work together and really got to know each other, I think that, that his crew also saw that he was a much more complex and interesting person. Than just a guy that would eat the [00:06:00] weird thing or, you know, make the Dick joke or drink a couple of shots too many. I think they all were sensitive and smart enough to see that there was a real.
Complex nuanced guy there. So of course you can’t just make a television show with sort of a thoughtful, quiet moments, but I think they were careful to include those as a way to sort of acknowledge that he was Well-rounded person than than one might expect if they’re just kind of looking at the surface of his persona.
Melissa: Yeah, it definitely, I think drew the audience and more and made us feel like we knew him personally in a lot of ways. So I’d love, I want to talk about the book, you know, when was it first conceptualized and, and why, what, what inspired you to put this together?
Lauire Woolever: Sure. It’s so it came up pretty quickly after Tony’s death.
I would say within a couple of weeks of course, right after his death those of us who worked closely with him were kind of more or less constantly talking to each other, making sure that we were all [00:07:00] okay, asking each other questions, just kind of supporting each other and also trying to figure out what happens next for all of us.
A lot of projects that were in the works and various stages. And so working with Tony’s agent and his publisher and his television producing partners and his estate, just trying to figure out. What to do and how to best preserve his legacy. I had already been working on the book world travel in a reverent guide, and that was a, a travel guide that we hit the Tony and I had started working on together before he died.
So in addition to that, there was, this idea came up between myself and his agent who is now my agent and his publisher. About doing a biography of some form or another. There were, as, as I’m sure you can imagine. There were all kinds of people that came out of the woodwork right away. Just looking to get their piece of the story and looking to kind of cash in on this, on this worldwide phenomenon of.
People caring about him and people reacting to his death. And so it was really important to us that we [00:08:00] have a project that came from a place of real knowing a really, really knowing him and really having respect for his legacy. So, I think the idea of the. Oral biography format versus a straight biography just came from the idea that Tony was such a storyteller himself.
And as much as he could tell a great joke or tell a great anecdote, he also was a really good listener and really was very gifted at approaching a table or approaching a group of people. Asking some questions and then really sitting back and letting them tell their own stories. So we wanted to kind of honor that in this oral biography format and let people just tell their own stories in their own words, which I think makes for a very rich and nuanced reading experience.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. Now I noticed that some of the people that you interviewed and took the oral dictation from, you know, some have passed a while ago as well. How were those. You know, oral interviews [00:09:00] got, you know, how were, how were they received? Were they things that you had had received heres and years ago before they had passed?
Lauire Woolever: No, every single one of them. I did a live interview. Yeah, there were a few instances, unfortunately. Mother Gladys died in January of 2020. I was able to speak with her on the phone in, I think, September of 2018. So, this was you know, a long process of putting these interviews together. And then there was I’m blanking on his name at the moment, which is terrible, but oh, Sam Goldman, there was a, a dear friend of Tony’s from junior high all the way through the end of his life.
They, you know, were school classmates. They remained friends. And then they were both were chefs in New York and worked together at a number of places. And I spoke with Sam. Earlier this year and he unfortunately died just a few weeks ago. So I was very, very lucky. Thank you. Very lucky to, to be able to speak with him you know, before he passed.
So yeah, [00:10:00] it’s, you know, it’s just kind of, it’s one of those things, especially now I think with COVID we’re all kind of realizing more. Sort of fragility and the gift of every day and you know, not to not to wait too long to reach out to people because you just don’t know what might happen. So, yeah,
I think we’ve all kind of had to come to terms with that in the last couple of years. And it it’s it’s kind of interesting because you know, when I was reading the book it, it. You know, you, I can’t remember who it was. I think it was his brother. It said that he gotten you know, some of his grit and I’m totally not quoting this correctly, but some of his grit from his mom and, you know, that is like love and playfulness from his father, which I thought was so interesting that dichotomy, because I feel like you do see that those two different sides of him, or at least he showed that in a lot of his things.
Was that something that you were. Kind of keen to ahead of time when you first knew him and got to know him throughout the years and seeing those different sides of his personality.
Lauire Woolever: You know, I was aware that there was, I think that the quote was from his friend, Jeff [00:11:00] Formosa, and he said he got his sense of humor from his dad and he got his sneer from his mom.
Melissa: great, great line.
Lauire Woolever: So I, you know, I knew that he contained both of those things. I knew he could be. You know, obviously very funny and also gentle and, and really moved by simple things and really, you know, drawn to sort of, the beauty and the wonder in the world. And then I knew also that he could be quite cutting and quite sarcastic.
And, you know, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone who, who read anything that he wrote or watched him on television. You know, he could be. He didn’t suffer fools gladly. Right. So I knew those two sides of him. I’d never really thought about where they might’ve come from. I really, I didn’t know his family at all.
When he was alive, I never had a chance to meet his mother in person. And the same with his brother since Tony’s death. I’ve, I’ve gotten to know his brother who doesn’t live very far away and, and works in New York. So he, and he’s been. Such a tremendous help with this book and with the previous book.
And of course I didn’t get to meet his father who died in 1987. [00:12:00] So, you know, the public. Persona of Tony really kind of starts in, in the year, 2000 when he published kitchen confidential. And so a lot of the forces that shaped him to that point, don’t really make it into the story so much. It’s really about who he became once he crossed over the threshold and became famous.
So it really was. Very illuminating to go back and to speak with family members, to speak with his first wife, Nancy, who was very, very private person. And again, she was very, very forthcoming and lovely and gave me two very helpful interviews for this book.
Melissa: Yeah, no, I loved her parts as well. Enjoying reading, just.
You know, cause she has this glimpse of him before he was famous, you know, in college, high school. And it’s, it’s such a different thing when, you know, someone before a major life change like that. And the other thing I gathered was is that he did have this sort of need not need, but maybe just a [00:13:00] strong desire to become famous, to become something more.
Do you feel like at any point during that he regretted that at all, did, did he wish that maybe he had.
Lauire Woolever: Yeah, it’s I, it’s an interesting question. I mean, there’s definitely gets touched on in the book. This idea that he was, was deeply, deeply ambivalent about not so much the fame that came from being a writer, but the fame that came from being on television and being consumed, you know, having his image and his words and the way he moved and all of that kind of easily consumed by anyone in the world.
I think that’s a heavy thing for anyone and. The slightest bit ambivalent about it. I think it can be painful. You know, there, there is a lot in the book from his producing partners, Chris Collins and Lydia to Nelia who are a married couple. They were with him from the very beginning. It was their idea to try and see if he could be good on television.
And when they first met him, they were in the restaurant where he was in committed. Of the [00:14:00] situation he was working. He knew everybody. He was very comfortable and he was brilliant. And then they took him out into the field. Their first shoot was in Japan and he was intensely uncomfortable and very conflicted and didn’t necessarily understand that he had to speak to the camera that he had to perform.
And this felt very from what they say, it was a very odd and very uncomfortable time for him. So that to me was something that. I hadn’t considered because I met him maybe two years into his television experiment. So he already had some level of comfort with it. So, so I think there was a, you know, there was always a bit of ambivalence, I think when you lose your.
Anonymity and your ability to move freely around a city that you’ve lived in and loved most of your life. I think that he also sometimes struggled with just wanting to be with his family, you know, wanting to be on vacation and spend time with his daughter and not have to. You know, time and energy away from that to to greet people or to ask them to please not take pictures of his [00:15:00] daughter or, you know, all of those things.
I think he knew what he knew, the bargain he had made for himself. And I think he really wanted to protect his family from, from being sort of sucked into that same lack of privacy. Yeah,
Melissa: it’s so intrusive and it’s like the rest of the family didn’t sign up for it, but it’s kind of part of the package, unfortunately, with fame and being a celebrity.
When you were writing this book, did you have any challenges that you came across? You know, was it difficult at times as far as, you know, having to hear things that, you know, maybe brought up emotions and things like that, or was it very cathartic?
Lauire Woolever: It was definitely cathartic. You know, it was sort of concurrently writing this book and world travel in a Reverend guide now that when I had to be a little faster on, because it was due about a year ahead of the biography, but I really was working on them side by side.
And, and this book, what was really lovely about it is, is it was What could have been a very, very lonely time in the wake of this death and, and, you know, no longer [00:16:00] having the job working for Tony writing this book, this biography really gave me an opportunity to spend time with a lot of people who also knew and loved Tony, some of whom I already knew, and some of whom I was meeting for the first time.
And so it was, I found it to be very therapeutic and very. Yeah, it was like an extended wake or an extended Shivah or a Memorial service, you know, where you’re getting to talk about the person who’s passed and maybe learn some new things. I learned something new about Tony from every single one of these interviews.
And I thought this was the guy that I knew inside and out. I had read all his books. I had watched all the shows. I spoke with him every day and yet just. To talk to people from every part of his life. I learned new things, sometimes just little details and sometimes big overarching themes about who he was.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s interesting. Cause I was going to ask you if you were surprised about anything in talking to people and learning new things about them.
Lauire Woolever: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I mean, [00:17:00] what I was saying about, about that ambivalence around television, I don’t think I, I didn’t really know that I wasn’t aware of that because I came into it where he was already on track and making television, and we never had a conversation.
It never really occurred to me that this might be something that he was. Deeply ambivalent about now of course it seems like, well, of course, you know, of course he’s ambivalent about it, but when he was alive, it was, you know, it was just what he did. It really was the sort of defining thing in his life was making television.
Everything else was built around that. So that was really interesting. That’s some things about his his childhood about the fact that his family really struggled with money, you know, It was very important to his parents, that they have the outward appearance of, of affluence and success. And they sent both kids to the private school.
And apparently it was, it was a real struggle to keep up with the Joneses. So that was, that was interesting. I then just, you know, funny little things, like he was very competitive about getting a suntan [00:18:00] and that was something that never occurred to me. But a lot of the guys that he worked with in the eighties and nineties and kitchens would tell stories about how they would all go out to the beach during the day to sleep off their hangovers.
And and Tony was very, very competitive about coming back with the deepest, darkest tan. So. Funny little things like that. And there are a lot of good stories in the book from those days. And then also from the days on the road, making television, all the crazy stuff that they would get into and the mishaps on sets and, you know, things that I just hadn’t heard before.
So everybody had a little bit of a new perspective for me, which was, which was great and really good.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. It was fun reading about his earlier days, because I didn’t know, you know, much about it. I think we all just kinda know from when he became kitchen confidential, I bought that book years and years ago when it came out and, and read it cover to cover.
And, and you hear a little bit about his restaurant experiences, obviously. But some of those things you were talking about with high school and college, like the Vassar days, and that was. It was so [00:19:00] just entertaining even to hear other people or beat other people’s accounts of it. You can almost just close your eyes and put yourself into those those times.
And I’m sure they were extremely wild and fun and dark. And at the same, at the same time. And, you know, I find the thing about the restaurant business is it looks very glamorous from the outside. I’ve been in the business for a long time and when you’re in it, it’s, it can be miserable. But then when you leave.
You kind of forget the misery and, you know, do you think that maybe he struggled with that a little bit in regards to those aspects? You know, the restaurant industry itself?
Lauire Woolever: Yeah, I think it was all of that was there. I think there was this. Early discovery of the business. And of course, that’s very well detailed in kitchen confidential.
This, this discovery that, you know, it was sort of a pirate ship. And, you know, these, the cooks and chefs got all the girls and, you know, endless drugs and alcohol and just, you know, anything you could steal anything that wasn’t nailed down. [00:20:00] And I think it really spoke to a specific era in the restaurant business and the, in the seventies and eighties that, that I think has.
Started to cycle out a little bit. I think they’ll always be a wildness in the business, but I think that, that it’s probably gotten a lot more professional and, and buttoned up over the years, but I think he absolutely fell in love with the business. And then at some point got very disillusioned and, and was pretty open about that.
I mean, he, his rationale for writing the essay. Don’t eat before reading this, that became, that got expanded into the book. Kitchen confidential was really just the sense of burnout. The sense of disappointment. Having had to close restaurants because owners were making bad or foolish decisions, oftentimes fueled by drugs and alcohol.
I think that really just started to grind him down. And I know he was concerned about. What his future was going to look like as somebody entering his forties and, and still, you know, working the line every night, worried about just the physical toll that, that takes on your body. So, and. Once he left it once he was able to write [00:21:00] his way out of the kitchen.
I think you’re exactly you’re right. That it was, you forget all of the misery and the sweat and the heat and the frustrations and what you remember are the good times and the, the close, close relationships that you would just forge out of necessity with the people that you work with. And he, he really had such a love for his kitchen crews and especially the people he worked with that lay all who he could just really depend on who were such solid cooks and funny guys, and just You know, I, I think he missed that level of, of being in control and knowing, knowing his craft so well and knowing the business so well that he could almost sort of do it on, on repeat, you know, but, but, but really loving it.
So I think there was Yeah, a sadness and a kind of nostalgia for the simplicity of restaurant life.
Melissa: Yeah. And there’s definitely that comradery that, that happens. And no matter how much time is passed, when you see someone who used to work with in a restaurant, there’s that instant, like you said, nostalgia, which is really, really, really special.
So I [00:22:00] know, you know, you probably have countless stories, countless memories you know, what, what sticks out the most in your mind, like a favorite memory you have of the two of you that you spent together?
Lauire Woolever: Ooh, I took a couple of really excellent trips. There was a point at which Tony said, oh, do you want to travel with us?
You could go along with us and the crew, you know, choose one location a year, anywhere you want and I’ll pay your travel expenses and you can just come and hang out and see what we do. And, you know, do your. Work pitcher magazine story while you’re, while you’re in a place. So I did that a number of times, and those were just extraordinary experiences.
We were in 2017, I went with him and the crew to Sri Lanka and which was just really, you know, not a place. I probably would’ve even. Thought about going, but what an extraordinary place it is you know, it’s a very long flight and the climate is so different and even the time zones are on, on a 30 minute difference.
So it’s it wasn’t, you know, nine hours ahead of New York. It was nine and a half hours. It was [00:23:00] just, everything was so yeah, sort of disorienting way different and. It was just a really, it was an incredible trip. We took a, a train ride and the end part of it showed up on the episode. We took a, I think it was like a 10 hour train ride from Colombo to
So Colombo is kind of south central and Josh knows almost all the way to the north of the island. And it was a. Cut off from the rest of the world for a long time during the civil war that went on in that country. So the first time Tony went to Sri Lanka, they weren’t able to go to . It was completely closed off.
And so this was the first time he had been and it was just you know, it was very rough. It was a, it was a extremely hot train ride, no air conditioning. Not that much food. Everyone had sort of had stomach issues. And so there was just a lot of you know, it was very real, there was no, no faking it for the camera, you know?
And there were these guys that would get on the train and sell snacks and, and Tony kept kind of saying, nah, none of that looks good to me. I don’t know. I don’t, I don’t feel good. And at some point he looked up, [00:24:00] we pulled into a station and stopped and he goes, that’s what I want. And he pointed, and it was a.
It was a pizza hut kiosk that it was like, and just funniest thing. We were in the middle of nowhere and somehow there’s pizza hut and that’s, that was what he wanted. And it was such a funny reminder that even you can be, you know, as far away from home as possible. And sometimes you still just want a little bit of comfort, a little bit of something that reminds you of home, you know, and he was totally unashamed about, I just want like a doughy familiar mass produced pizza and he got it.
He felt much.
Melissa: That’s so funny. I wonder if there had been like a big plate of far garage, if you would’ve gone to that and stuff. That’s so funny. Yeah. It’s true though. When you are away from home in a foreign country and you, you see something, you know, that maybe wouldn’t even eat at home, you know, like pizza hut or talk about or something like that, but it does, it gives you that sort of comfort and safety of like, oh yeah.
I, I recognize that. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. [00:25:00] Now was there a. Like balancing your own life, right? Like being his assistant, you writing being married, having a kid, all of those things. How did you balance all of that? W where your family wake ever, like, Hey, you’re working too much as far as like, you know, with the traveling or anything like that.
Was there any challenges with that? There
Lauire Woolever: were not so much the traveling. Really apart from those spectacular trips, for the most part, I was based in New York. I didn’t have to go all over the world with Tony. And and honestly the best part of the job, one of the best parts of the job was that I got to work from home you know, well before COVID.
So I was, I was really spoiled getting to work from home, having a young child, but for sure there were times where. You know, I, I, in the era of the smartphone, I felt that I kind of always had to be on because with Tony traveling so much and being anywhere in the world at any moment he could need something and it might be midnight for him, but it’s 10 in the morning for me or, or vice versa, you know?
So [00:26:00] I was aware that there were times where I was. You know, I, I made that job kind of the organizing principle of my life and everything else had to fit in around that. So there were, I’m sure plenty of times that I had my phone out at the dinner table, or I remember there was one Christmas Eve where we were supposed to drive to my in-law’s house in New Jersey.
And we were late because Tony called or maybe he I’m sure he emailed on Christmas Eve morning and said, oh, I need some extra veal stock and some butter and a dozen eggs. I’m cooking Christmas Eve dinner. And I didn’t get enough of this stuff. And it didn’t, it, you know, it just was the nature of the job that, that it was like, well, you know, you’re my assistant, so obviously you’re going to make this happen.
And you know, it’s not just however you can make it happen conveniently. So I ended up going into the store myself and getting these things and dropping them off at his building. And I just thought, what is this? What is this life? You know, that. And it wasn’t, I mean, to be, to be fair, it wasn’t often that he was asking for special things like that.
But, but you know, when [00:27:00] it’s Christmas Eve and you’re Anthony Bordain and you travel so much and you’re just home with your family, you just want to be able to pick up the phone and. Get somebody else to get the groceries for you. So I get it, you know, and it was part of the, I mean, the privilege of working for him with some times having to sort of go out of your way to do things that seemed pretty mundane, but yeah, it’s it, you know, it was all encompassing.
He was such a. Such an enthusiast himself. And he was, he was a thousand percent in on whatever he was doing and it made you also want to do the best possible job for him and whatever it took to get the job done. I wanted to do that. And I saw all around him, the people that made television with him, his publishing partners, he really kind of forced that, that that high standard you wanted to please him and he wanted to do as good a job and put in as much energy and enthusiasm as he was putting.
Melissa: think that definitely comes across just in, you know, the, the shows and the appearances. And you definitely can see that people [00:28:00] genuinely, genuinely love him and care about him. And that’s, that’s, you know, something that you can’t say about a lot of people in that industry. So I think that’s also, you know, really special and why the world literally fell in love with him.
What is, what is the most important thing. You would like people to know and remember about Anthony Bordain.
Lauire Woolever: Well, I think it’s, it’s important to know and maybe to sort of extrapolate onto our own lives that that even the best looking job in the world, the most fun job in the world. And and, and you could argue that he had it, you know, that he had the best life he was living the dream.
That there’s always more going on behind the scenes, you know, and I think with our relationship with social media right now, I think it’s a very useful thing to remember that you know, there’s always a filter or an angle or a, an edit, or, you know, somebody puts a photo of their beautiful family meal, but they’re not putting up the fact that the [00:29:00] family was fighting and screaming at each other 10 minutes before, or that’s, you know, whatever.
The real problems and the real life issues that people have, that, that those exist for everyone. And. I think it’s a beautiful thing to aspire to, to, to live in some ways like Tony, as far as being so open-minded traveling constantly learning, constantly finding the beauty in things you know, really pushing oneself to perfect, whatever your craft is.
I think those are all really beautiful inspirations, but I think it’s helpful to remember that that he had his struggles too, just like everyone else. And if we can sort of bear that in mind when I know I. Have, you know, FOMO or I have professional jealousy or I have a, you know, a sense of like, Ugh, I wish I looked like that.
Or I wish my food looked that good, but you know, it’s always helpful to remember that, you know, we’re all just humans and struggling and, you know, trying to do our best.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s really, really good advice as well. Yeah. I think everyone needs a little bit more of that nowadays [00:30:00] with all of the the negativity that’s out there.
It’s unfortunate. So, you know, before I let you go, I want to ask you just a couple more questions. What was the best part of working alongside. Tony and the impact that he had on your life now going forward?
Lauire Woolever: Well I think all of the opportunities he gave me in life, you know, editing books for his imprint, co-authoring a cookbook.
Co-authoring a travel guide. Just to be associated with someone like Tony who had such high standards for himself and the people around him to have those credits and to have that association with him just professionally has been such a gift to me, you know, it really it’s it’s on me to earn that credibility and to actually do the work and, and live up to his trust in me.
But the, but that he showed that trust in me is really. Just, I can’t, I cannot overestimate how valuable that’s been to my own sense of myself as a writer and as a, as a creative person. And also just, you know, the estimation that it, that it brings me in [00:31:00] the marketplace. You know, I also, I think that The the way that he traveled and the way that he inspired people and myself included to take a little risk and to, to push a little farther.
I always think about when we went to Vietnam and I, this was my first trip with him and I was, I was a little. Timid a little bit awkward as a traveler and didn’t really know kind of what my limits were. And he had me ride with him on the back of his scooter just to get comfortable and just to sort of see that it was not scary, not intimidating, you know, everyone had a helmet on and and that it was really fun and that, you know, I could just kind of hang out at the hotel and soak up the luxury.
But what I really ought to do is, is have a little adventure. You know, get a, a motorcycle taxi driver to take me around and really see, you know, some of what there was to see there. So yeah, I’d say, you know, opportunity and adventure, it’s something that he gave to me. And I think that again, people can kind of take that into their own lives when they’re traveling, you know, to push a little farther and to, to be a little brave and to, you know, open your mind a little bit and see, see what else [00:32:00] what’s, because there’s so much out there in the world, you know?
Melissa: absolutely. Does he other things outside your own backyard? Absolutely. So, Laurie, what is what’s next for you? You have the book is out and for everyone listening it’s available now everywhere. Amazon bookstores everywhere online, and it’s called ordain the definitive oral biography. And also if you haven’t read kitchen confidential, people go, go read that as well, because that’s a fantastic book, but what’s next for you after this book?
Lauire Woolever: Well, so I I’ve been a writer of one sort or another for a very long time. I’d say about 25 years. So I I’m going to continue doing that. I do have a, a book project that I’m working on. That’s a collaboration with a chef called Richard Hart, who is a, a British baker working in Copenhagen. So we are working together on a book about bread and I’d like to continue to do that kind of work.
I am a writer for hire. So if anyone’s listening and was looking for a writer on a project, I am, you know, please get in touch with me through my website. I am also, I’m [00:33:00] starting to do a lot of public speaking and I’m really excited about that. Nervous, but excited and really ready to. To rise to that challenge.
And I’ve, I’ve done a little bit of that already and it’s, it’s really fun. It’s really exhilarating. I’m always glad when it’s over, but that’s been a new avenue for me. And then I started to get into a little bit of of, on the production side of, of television and and film. So, you know, some very early days on, on some early.
But it’s been really fun to kind of stretch my wings in that way. So I’d like to stay in the, in this creative realm and, you know, continue to be inspired by Tony and all the different ways in which he expressed himself. I think I have a lot to say and, you know, writing is my first love, so however I can do that and, and, and keep my bills paid.
I intend to.
Melissa: Awesome. Well, I really appreciate you coming on and sharing your story and your memories of Anthony Bourdain and I really enjoy your books. So thank you for writing it and putting it together because I think that it’s a such a special endeavor that so many people are gonna [00:34:00] just.
Reading and the best part about it is you don’t have to read an order. You can flip through it, you can kind of, you know, revisit it whenever you want. So, yeah. Thank you for doing that.
Lauire Woolever: Absolutely. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having
Melissa: me. Yeah, absolutely. I’m like, is that everyone, please go check out the book it’s available everywhere.
And Lori we’ll have our, you have your website as Lori. We’ll have her.com.
Lauire Woolever: That’s right.
Melissa: Yep. Awesome. Thank you so much recording.