Chef Rodney Scott Opens Up About Anthony Bourdain - Exclusive

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died in 2018, and the culinary world has never been the same. While foodies might have spirited arguments about the right way to crack an egg, or how sweet tomato sauce should be, nothing brings the community together more than sharing tales of Bourdain's kindness, humor, and quirkiness. Adding to our collective library of Bourdain memories is James Beard award-winning master barbecuer Rodney Scott, who appeared with fellow South Carolina chef Sean Brock on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown in 2015, when Bourdain toured Charleston (per IMDb).

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Scott, whose approach to whole-hog BBQ is the subject of a new episode of Netflix's A Chef's Table BBQ, shared what it was really like to film with one of the most beloved culinary icons of all time — and why he believes Anthony Bourdain left such an amazing legacy to all of us who love food.

Being on Anthony Bourdain's show was one of the highlights of Rodney Scott's career

Rodney Scott's list of accomplishments is pretty lengthy. Not only did he win the Beard award and get featured on one of the most popular cooking series on Netflix, but his restaurant, Rodney Scott's BBQ, has put Carolina 'cue on the map, with a new location sprouting up in Atlanta next year (which is no small feat for a restaurant in a pandemic). Still, Scott said, he'd list appearing on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown as one of the peaks of his career. "Wow. Anthony Bourdain's show. Let me tell you that was a moment," Scott recalled. "That was one of the best days."

According to Scott, Bourdain was as chill in person as he seemed on screen. "That day, we had so much fun," he said. "And when they set up the tables and they put the cold beer down, I was like, this guy is cool! And we sat down and we ate and we just had this nice conversation. I've always admired his... just coolness to everything. He's just nonchalant, laid back, and he enjoys eating," Scott added. "We sat there and we had this conversation with him and Sean. We ate. And when we were done taping, we still sat there for a few minutes, just kind of kicking it around drinking, and then we drank another beer."

Rodney Scott reflects on Anthony Bourdain's legacy to the culinary world

As a rising star who got to know Anthony Bourdain while they taped Parts Unknown, Scott has unique insight on how Bourdain influenced the international foodie community. "I think his legacy to the culinary world was to bring people together," Scott said, "to let them know that food is one of the common languages." Bourdain is perhaps the most quotable chef whoever lived, with endless Pinterest boards devoted to his inspirational sayings. One thing Bourdain said that really resonated with Scott was, "The world can become one happy place, one barbecue sandwich at a time," he recalled. "Man, when he said that, I was like whoa."

Scott still thinks about Bourdain to this day. "I said to somebody just last night at an event, that this is the pork spaghetti that Anthony Bourdain and Sean Brock love," he added. "He was an amazing guy. And I learned a lot from him."