For years I have been shuttled around from country to country where I am given copious amounts of alcohol and fed strange things. I have visited every continent and had experiences I will never forget, but the longer it goes on, the more one question looms in my mind: Who is taking me to all these countries?
I would really, really like to know.
Whether I am in Berlin or Phuket, I am always brought to a wide range of amazing restaurants, and yet I am never asked to pay for my food. I assume someone must be paying for it. But who? From a once-in-a-lifetime experience eating yassa in Senegal to roaming the French countryside for the perfect duck confit, I would truly love to know why I was at those places and who was behind the decisions to send me.
I have talked to a lot of incredible people on my travels, and while they all seem to know me somehow, I do not know them. When I ask them if they know who sent them to meet me, they just smile politely. It gets lonely being so far from home, but occasionally my friends will show up to eat with me. It’s nice to see a familiar face every now and then. My friend Éric Ripert once joined me for hot pot in the Sichuan province of China. I only got to see him for about 90 seconds, so I didn’t have a chance to ask him how he found me there. Maybe someone is flying him around to different countries, too?
If anyone has any idea who is sending me to all these places, please tell me.
Iran. Pakistan. Some of these countries seem dangerous, and I do not know why I am visiting them. I wish I could go somewhere relaxing like Hawaii, but instead of Hawaii, I am always in places like Myanmar, where I had to ride a terribly bumpy train with a stomach full of fetal duck eggs.
I hope that they take me to a country soon where I can get something basic like a plain McDonald’s hamburger, some Ruffles, and a glass of water.
It seems like I run into an awful lot of celebrities, too. Once I even had President Obama come to my table and sit down to slurp noodles with me. I was really curious as to what the president was doing in Hanoi and how he knew my name, but he was talking about hot dogs, and I didn’t want to interrupt him. Other times I am on stage receiving an award or talking to Jimmy Fallon in a bright room. Strangely, I am not asked to eat food when I am at those places. I think this might be a clue.
As someone who spends a lot of time in far-flung corners of the Earth, I have truly seen it all. The only thing left for someone as well traveled as me to do is to figure out who is carting me around the globe and feeding me seal eyeballs and bull penises. Because right now, I have absolutely no idea.