Anthony Bourdain and Balvenie seek out ‘America’s finest craftspeople’

Single malt Scotch whisky distillery Balvenie has officially teamed up with celebrity chef and perennial traveler Anthony Bourdain to showcase some of America’s finest craftspeople, according to a press release. Bourdain has signed on to work with Balvenie over the next two years on three distinct projects, one of which is a series of short films profiling artisans from around the country titled “Raw Craft.” Eater notes that Bourdain is an avid whiskey lover, and the collaboration seems like a good fit considering his lengthy resume.

Bourdain’s Balvenie projects 
“Raw Craft” noticeably caters to Bourdain’s ability in front of the camera. The raconteur is well-versed in telling stories and highlighting the cuisine and culture of others around the globe. In this video series, Bourdain will attempt to solve what it truly means to be accomplished in one’s craft, as he walks through artisanal processes with those who are exceptionally skilled in various fields. The first episode, focused on Borough Furnace, a workshop in which sustainable, small-batch cast iron skillets are made, is already available.

Bourdain will also serve as a judge during the American Craft Council Rare Craft Fellowship Awards, which provides endowments for people working to revive traditional crafts in the U.S. The awards, in association with Balvenie, provide $10,000 and a trip to Scotland for those awarded the fellowship, and also provide $5,000 each to four additional finalists.

Lastly, Bourdain will go on tour with the Balvenie 2015 Rare Craft Collection, an exhibition showcasing the work of America’s finest craftspeople. As curator, Bourdain will seek out artisans to hold live demonstrations of their crafts and host Scotch whisky tastings with the distillery. In the press release, Bourdain expressed his excitement to work on the project:

“For me, there is deep satisfaction in seeing people, with a particular skill set and a real passion, produce a beautiful thing which is why I’m excited to be a part of these programs in partnership with The Balvenie. There is no doubt for me, that if you can have it, you want the stuff where people have taken their time, paid attention to and personally care about how it was created. It is very important to me that these kinds of crafts continue into the future and we value artisans who make the decision to choose quality over quantity.”

Bourdain and Balvenie’s focus on artisanal products is particularly timely considering the current trends in cooking, distilling, brewing and the baking and pastry arts. Across the nation, people are reclaiming quality as a cornerstone of American products, and this collaboration certainly encourages this movement in numerous fields.

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