Anthony Bourdain has a dream. It’s a pretty ambitious one because, hey, what isn’t ambitious about Bourdain? The former chef turned globetrotting raconteur aims high and strikes hard. So when he announced that he was spearheading a gigantic food hawker market — similar to those you’d find in Singapore — the food world held its breath with anticipation.
Bourdain’s plan was to open a food hall at New York’s Pier 57. The development would hold food stalls that featured great food from around the world, with Bourdain and company bringing in vendors and chefs from far-flung locales to sling great eats. Bourdain had already staffed up, drawn schematics, and budgeted the undertaking out at $60 million. Even with all that, it seemed the possibility of Pier 57 being the food hall’s home was often cast in doubt — with Gansevoort Market appearing to be a backup location for a time.
Now, the dream has officially died. Bourdain announced that “launching what is admittedly a very ambitious venture has proven to be challenging at every turn.” The talk turns even more dismal, as the chef goes on to say, “It seems increasingly clear that in spite of my best efforts, the stars may not align at Pier 57 which is an especially complicated site for which we still do not have a lease.”
This has come after Bourdain lost the company’s CEO this year. The project has also been stalled by the draconian process of obtaining US work visas for chefs. Which, let’s face it, is going to be an issue that has little resolution in the current political climate.
Bourdain hasn’t given up yet. He closed out his statement on the project with a modicum hope. “I remain hopeful that New York will someday have such a market — I still passionately wish to create this resource that New Yorkers deserve.” We hope it works out too. Everywhere needs more food hawker style markets with amazing food at cheap prices.