"He's a hard nut to crack"
Still, Bourdain sympathized with Tower's swift decline following Pete Wells' disastrous visit to the Tavern. "One minute, [the owners] were telling him, 'Yes we're going to give you 100% control, we’ll never interfere with the food.' I think any of us in this room who've worked in the restaurant business, we've all seen that membrane become something permeable. We've all seen that happen. Even in the TV business it happens as well, you know -- 'We're giving you 100% freedom, you won't be getting any suggestions from us.' Next thing you know they're calling up and saying, 'Have you ever thought about, like, doing state fair food? Or corn dogs?'”
Besides, "His childhood was very difficult," Bourdain said. "The way that he relates to that childhood was very surprising. You or I would call it, you know, heartbreakingly lonely, tragic, and neglected and abused."
Ultimately, The Last Magnificent paints a complicated portrait of an essential chef. "He's a hard nut to crack," Bourdain said of Tower. "The way we eat in restaurants today -- the way the restaurant looks, the way it feels, the way we experience it, our expectations for it, the food we eat, all of the menus we read, all of these things -- were hugely influenced by Jeremiah. And I didn't feel like he had gotten his due."
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