Anthony Bourdain is known for his eclectic tastes and his antics as a Food Network star. Recently editors at HarperCollins have found a new way to hire a celebrity chef, in signing Bourdain to a series of imprints. Essentially Bourdain will be publishing several titles under his name, ‘Anthony Bourdain’, and centered around his unique tastes. This announcement comes just after Chelsea Handler, a similar and equally popular television personality, inked a similar deal. Although it is unclear as to what level of success these endeavors will have, it is certain that they are new initiatives in an old industry.
Personality is usually why one agrees to hire a celebrity chef, but Bourdain’s is not one for the everyday viewer. His brash and uncensored comments and actions are not the norm for a Food Network star – yet this is the reason for his success. Rather than conforming to societies ideas of what a television cook should be like, he has transformed the role into more of a dialogue around society and different cultures. Anyone can cook, but few people understand how that fits into the puzzle of our different communities. It is this understanding, this knowing of the why, that separates Bourdain.
Just as Anthony Bourdain has separated himself from the basic and dull industry standards of being a Food Network star, so too is HarperCollins trying to carve out a unique niche in the publishing business. It is this niche that they hope will transform a coffee table book or a dull cookbook that would otherwise be stashed away into a conversation piece. As HarperCollins has noticed – these are the books that sell and continue to sell. The publisher who is responsible for the hire of a celebrity chef, to sell books through avenues besides cooking is truly a trail blazer.