It Happened On a Street Corner in Mexico
By Alexandra Lowry
As the newbie on the crew I knew that it would take some time to gain Anthony Bourdain\’s respect. No Reservations is entering it\’s fifth season and the man has met and worked with countless different people … and like every job that involves being accepted as \”part of the team\” (and no, there is no I in team) you have to earn your medal of honor, you have to gain your place in the ranks.
After my first shoot in Chicago, which had gone very well thanks to the guiding hand of Chris – my boss and long time Tony friend – Mexico was next. My second shoot, with veterans who between them have racked up well over 40 episodes. I was going to have to step it up somehow. I had heard through the grapevine that it may take a while for Tony to look me in the eye. This was true, but it did eventually happen … So how, and when, would I make it to the next level? Beyond eye contact to perhaps a conversation or even a shared joke or two…? What would I have to do to gain his respect, and be able to call myself a member of the No Reservations crew and really mean it?
It happened on a dark street corner in Puebla around 8pm local time … After a long day shooting with our friend Carlos and several of his family members, we all stopped for tacos at his favorite roadside stand. There were several different choices of meat, including tripe, tongue and sausage. Everyone it seemed was waiting for the chorizo… As 12 hungry people clamored for the same taco varietal, it happened. She said it softly at first and I thought no one had heard her. \”Ojo?\” That\’s eye right? She took the tongs and sure enough an eye appeared from the boiling pot of meat. I was starving… I saw my opportunity and took it. From my place at the back of the hungry group I fearlessly raised my hand. \”Uno de ojo por favor\”.
And that was the moment I gained Bourdain\’s respect. From my left I heard him: \”Wow, that\’s really impressive…\” And then as the rest of the crew slapped me on the back and told me how impressed THEY were with my order another comment: \”Somebody raised you right\”. Puffed up with pride, I hungrily ate my eye taco (the only one of our crew to do so I might add) knowing that something had changed and that hopefully Tony (as I now like to call him) and I would go on to have a beautiful working relationship … Thanks Mum and Dad for raising me right. And if you ever have the option – go for the eye. It was quite delicious.