Island hopping with Anthony Bourdain
By Chloe Kaplan, segment producer
Although I am a veteran of producing travel and food related shows, I had never worked on a Bourdain shoot and when the opportunity landed in my unexpected lap I naturally accepted with enthusiasm. Not only am I a lover of new flavors and discovering a culture from the bottom of a soup bowl in France or from the cozy kitchen of a Korean grandmother’s stove, but I am a fan of the show. To be honest, it’s my husband who is the true fan in our family, but after watching the show over his shoulder, I have become a fan in my own right – and the chance to work with Tony and the crew excited me.
We were setting sail for 4 days in the southern Grenadines on two luxury Catamarans followed by island hopping for the rest of the week around Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The weeks leading up to the shoot were a bit of a scramble. I had come in last minute so it was a combination of becoming an expert on the location while simultaneously trying to figure out the logistics of a 7-day shoot that involved a considerable amount of bouncing from one island to the next. I knew this was not going to be a physically easy shoot and was happy that we were going to be descending upon the rum punch capital of the world – perhaps that might ease some of the aches and pains the crew was feeling after a long day of hoisting equipment on and off boats.
The departure date quickly arrived and with it some anxiety about working with the “notorious” Anthony Bourdain! After all, the last month had been a constant buzzing in my ear from every direction about the man! All of my girlfriends wanted autographs (not a chance, I said!), the guys I knew couldn’t believe that I was going to collect a pay check for the privilege of hanging out with the ultimate dude, and all of my colleagues who had worked with him had their own two cents. What was I walking into?
Fast forward 24 hours – we have landed in paradise. Well, actually, we landed in Barbados where a very friendly woman greeted us. We were escorted to our charter plane – an 8-seater that was supposed to carry the crew and all 700-lbs. of equipment we were saddled with to the southern Grenadines where our trip was to begin. The pilot, a 23-year-old surfer, assured us that there was nothing to worry about, despite the fact that we knew that he had to unload quite a bit of fuel to accommodate our extreme weight.
We all crammed into the remaining 5 seats (our luggage had overflowed from the storage section into the seating section) and we rocketed down the runway. The next 45 minutes we flew, nose up, across some of the most beautiful water I have ever laid eyes on.
The shoot turned out to be a massive success, we all had a complete blast and Tony was amazing to work with. I guess you’ll have to tune in for the details. Oh, and the crew made quite a few cameos. I hope I get to do another show!