Anthony Bourdain has unveiled the site of his bold new $60-million street-food market in New York - and in a surprise twist he has also revealed that Victor Churchill will be going along for the ride.
Opening on Pier 57 on the Hudson in the Meatpacking District in late 2017, Bourdain's market will bring together about 100 food retailers and wholesalers he has encountered on his travels around the world while filming his various television programs, in a space bigger than anything the city has seen before.
"The way people eat has changed," he told the New York Times. "They want to be at counters and communal tables. They want heat and funk and chicken wings that set their hair on fire. They're as quick to brag about the greatest $3 bowl of laksa as a dinner at Ducasse. That's what I want to create for New York - some place where I would want to eat. Right now, there is nothing like that."
"If you want some fine Spanish ham and a glass of cava, you can get that," he said. "But there will also be China Straits noodles." And claypot rice from Singapore, and sea urchin tostadas from the La Guerrerense cart in Ensenada. And, it seems, dry-aged Australian beef.
The Sydney connection began when Bourdain first visited the Woollahra butchery shortly after it opened in 2009. "He came again when he was filming the Sydney episode of No Reservations," says Anthony Puharich, director of Victor Churchill and Vic's Premium Quality Meats. "We just stayed in touch.
"He loves the history of Victor Churchill, he loves my dad. I admire and respect him, and have become very comfortable working with him."
The Manhattan branch of the butchery will be much like the one in Sydney, says Puharich: a gleaming showcase for meat and charcuterie, replete with a shiny French rôtisserie for chickens and a quirky approach to visual merchandising, but "blown up and enlarged for New York".
The move isn't without its risks and challenges. Bourdain was quoted in the New York Times saying that he thought Victor Churchill was "the world's most beautiful butcher's shop", but, the paper sniffed in reply, "Imagine, bringing a butcher back to the meatpacking district".
Puharich admits to being daunted by the scale of the venture, but is confident in his product. "I believe that Australia produces the cleanest, greenest, safest, best and most consistent meat in the world," he says. "I'm really excited about seeing the best North America can offer, too, but this is an amazing opportunity to share with New York what we can do."
But do they know what a rissole is? "Mate, if they don't now," says Puharich, "they're going to soon."