Bourdain in Russia

January 18, 2009 at 8:47 pm

From the No Reservations Blog:
Zamir is a man of many parts. With limited experience in the American heartland,
he’s seen a side of this country in Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo very different
from New York City. And apparently, he takes the “land of opportunity” thing
seriously.

Whenever we finish a scene, I see him huddled with our hosts, investigating some new
and unlikely business venture. In Baltimore, he became deeply involved in
discussions about the embalming and funeral industries. At various times, he’s
threatened me with film making and memoir writing enterprises. (Working title,
“Zamir: The Inside Story-Behind the Scenes With NO RESERVATIONS”).

He’s relentless about inquiring as to real estate values, pondering perhaps, the
possibility of making homes available at distress sale prices to Russian oligarchs
who might be considering vacation property in East Baltimore or Detroit. There was
talk of moving undocumented Ukranian “casino entertainers” across the Canadian
border, a fur-bearing perch farm, and drive-through organ harvesting (“We fly
doctors in from Kazakhstan! Cash on the barrel, Tony! We can have your kidney out in
minutes-and money in your pocket!”).

I guess it takes a Russian to really appreciate the American Dream.

Some other surprises. I find, walking into Al-Ameer in Dearborn, that Zamir speaks
very passable Arabic! He claims his military service as a technical advisor at a
power plant in Iraq-back in Soviet times-required he learn the language. I’m not
entirely convinced I buy that story. Maybe the Romanians were right about him.

And he has fans. The drunken debauch that was the Romania show, far from casting my
Russian friend in a bad light, has apparently won him an international reputation as
a party animal. Walking out of a club last night, he was mobbed. I stood there like
a lox while a dazzled Zamir signed napkins, baseball caps and extremities of all
kinds. He seemed very pleased at all the adulation. I know he’s VERY pleased to
still be alive after our snowmobile adventures yesterday. I drove-and those things
can go fast. Topping out at 65 or 70, I’m sure my less than skillful New Zealand ATV
handling came to mind. My ribs are still bruised from where his fingers dug into my
sides.

I hope all the attention and all the times he’s been recognized doesn’t go to his
head. He’s already begun making demands which some might find … unreasonable.

“Performance fleece-lined blue jeans for all outdoor scenes” “Red-and ONLY red M&M’s
to be available at all times.”

“All furniture shall be draped in white-and floral arrangements shall conform
exclusively to same color scheme.”

“Talent is NOT to be looked at directly by service staff.”

It’s only a matter of time till he asks for a trailer.

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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