In February 2017, I was nearing the end of four months at a remote outpost in Antarctica, gathering data for my Ph.D. thesis.

Donald Trump had been inaugurated a month earlier and already the words ''climate change'' had been purged from the White House  website. The mood among the scientists at the bottom of the world had changed drastically.

We had been the forefront of studying climate change and suddenly we were being shunted aside.

Around the last week of our expedition to Lake Hoare, a barren Martian like region of the continent, the National Science Foundation, our sponsor, told us that Anthony Bourdain would be arriving to interview us at our field camp for the CNN show ''Parts Unknown''.

A lot us knew Mr. Bourdain as a chef and foodie, but Antarctica isn't known for its local cuisine.

There are no Michelin-starred restaurants there [or any restaurants for that matter] and so amid the excitement, there was also a bit of confusion about his visit.

After a long, painfully cold day of sampling glacial meltwater to analyze its biological and chemical components, we all huddled around a laptop to prep for his arrival. We watched a clip of his earlier show ''No Reservations'' in which Mr. Bourdain eats a still-beating cobra heart.

''I hope he doesn't want to try the Penguin,'' said Rae Spain, the field camp manager. She is known across the continent for her ability to take frozen chicken from 2012 and canned vegetables from an undetermined year and make it into a five-star Indian dish.

She would be in charge of the food we would share with Mr. Bourdain and his crew.

There was a plenty of worry that a celebrity like him would have a hard time in Antarctica. It is, after all, the coldest, driest, windiest place on earth.

Would he be O.K. sleeping in a tent? Could he endure the food? Water was so scarce that at our field camp that we showered only once a week. Would he be cool with that?

After binge-watching more episodes of his show, we put our fears to rest.

This man had floated down the Congo River while trying to kill and cook a chicken in the dark,

He and his crew had been trapped in a hotel in Lebanon in 2006 during fighting between Israel and Hizbollah. He's gratefully accepted and consumed uncooked warthog anus in Nambia. He'd be perfectly fine in Antarctica.

Mr. Bourdain, who died a year ago, arrived with a calming smile. ''Hi, I'm Tony,'' he said, reaching out for introductions. Most of the initial attempts to socialize on our side involved chats about food.

We asked him about eating eyeballs and his best and worst meals.

''I can tell you the worst dish by far has been the McNugget,'' he said. He was easy to talk to. He was curious about us.

Rae Spain made an exceptional dinner that night. Mr. Bourdain discovered how she manged to make ridiculously tasty stuff out of very limited ingredients [her secret : an extensive personal collection of spices] but he was more interested in her story.

What kept her going down to the ice for 34 years.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Anthony Bourdain, continues.

The World Students Society thanks author Angela Zoumplis, a polar biologist at Scripps Institution of  Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!