NJ restaurant’s special dinner honors the late Anthony Bourdain
The world was in shock when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died of an apparent suicide on June 8, 2018 in France. The host of CNN's "Parts Unknown" had quite the influence on chefs around the world, including one right here in New Jersey.
David Murray, owner and chef at Denim American Bistro in Cherry Hill, is hosting a special five-course dinner at this restaurant on June 25 to honor Bourdain on what would have been his 63rd birthday. Murray said Bourdain had a big effect on his life.
He said he believes there's a large percentage of people in the hospitality business who have read Bourdain's literature, followed him, watched all of his shows.
Murray said Bourdain was the first bad boy American chef who let people know it was OK to be different, it was OK to experience diversity, it was OK to travel and explore.
"Literally without Anthony Bourdain, American food really, to me, wouldn't be what it is nowadays," Murray said.
When people think of American cuisine, they think simple, Murray said. Foods such as meatloaf and turkey come to mind. But now, people realize what a melting pot this world is and what a melting pot America is. He said Bourdain opened everyone's eyes to different cultures. Murray said it's now normal to want to go ahead to expand and broaden one's culinary knowledge.
"He was just so blatantly honest about everything that he did and that is part of the reason why everyone loved him so dearly," Murray said
The special dinner on June 25 will feature dishes from Bourdain's "Les Halles" and "Appetites" cookbooks. Murray and fellow chef Ralph Hernandez said they wanted to do a cohesive menu where everything made sense. But they also wanted to stay true to the dishes that were on Bourdain's menu. The pair of chefs will put a minute Denim spin on everything.
Murray did not disclose what dishes he will be serving at the dinner, because he wants them all to be perfect — meaning he may change his mind before June 25. However, he did say he wants to make and serve Bourdain's famous tomato and fennel bisque. It's going to be two dishes in one, so Murray plans to pare the soup with something else.
Tickets to Denim's Anthony Bourdain Memorial Dinner are $75 but they are almost sold out. Murray said he hopes to make this a yearly tradition. Proceeds will be donated to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
As a thank-you, Murray has a souvenir for his guests. All the recipes served, which are from Bourdain's cookbooks, will be put into a mini recipe book for patrons to take home.
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