Bourdain Regains His Throne at TC

By Karen

Sorry, Zimmern. Anthony Bourdain came roaring out of the gate with Season 7 of No Reservations in Haiti, tweeting live during the broadcast, and temporarily crashing the server of Sean Penn’s Haiti relief organization, J/P HRO. (If you want to help out, donations are welcome.)

While I was watching Ghost Adventures the following Friday night, Bourdain dominated every commercial break. I may have to eat my words about No Res being on the wane. I hope so. Especially since this season will include Cuba. He’s there right this minute.

TIME magazine called the Haiti show a “thoughtful piece of cultural journalism.” Could there be Emmy potential in Tony’s sensitively incisive voiceover?

Speaking of Zimmern, Bourdain was on stage at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival last weekend talking his standard trash about the guy when Baldie himself showed up.

Wonder of wonders, AOL did a good interview with Bourdain. It always shows when the questioner is a fan.

Tony told Entertainment Weekly his favorite foodie films, and I’m sitting here looking at the March 11 hardcopy edition where he names his 5 most terrifying meals. They are: rotten shark in Iceland, warthog in Namibia, anything at Olive Garden, natto, and Dale T’s butterscotch scallops on Top Chef.

Last week, Tony appeared with Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones & Butter, at Barnes & Noble in NYC. His hobby of book blurbing is making him the Oprah of culinary memoirs. Hamilton will probably soon be on everybody’s radar, thanks to his enthusiastic endorsement.

Bourdain and Ripert appeared in Boston together on March 4 as “Good vs. Evil.” Most interesting was Eric’s story about how he once handled a complaining customer. I just can’t picture it.

Tony also talked to EW about writing for Treme. He seems to be finding a new niche with script-writing and, if Treme’s co-creator David Simon is any judge, Tony’s really good at it.

And finally, Top Chef All-Stars

Not even on my worst day would I ever dream of mashing hot dog buns into sour cream and cheese and calling it soup, but that’s what Mike did in the Quickfire. He should probably stick to stealing recipes.

Then Mike and Antonia found out that they are distant cousins and their contentious relationship did a complete 180. Now they’re BFFs.

Bourdain was MIA again, but the judges were all uncharacteristically kind in front of the cheftestant family members who dined with them. Padma didn’t even spit anything into her napkin. Apparently, every dish was truly excellent.

At judges’ table, they made a few weak stabs at nitpicking, and Padma almost killed Richard by telling him to “pack his knives,” but that was their idea of a “joke.” Instead, all 5 remaining chefs got to stay for the finale. They’re going to the Bahamas, where Padma will fulfill her fond fantasy of hosting in a bikini.

If you missed the show, here’s Max Silvestri’s funny and more detailed recap at Eater.

Tonight, No Reservations goes to Cambodia.

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7 Responses to Bourdain Regains His Throne at TC

  1. zappa says:

    Pardon the extreme ignorance,but this graphic novel of AB’s……is this a comic book?

    One other deep,dark secret of mine-I don’t think Olive Garden is all that bad.My 80 something mother likes it, and the tables are widely spaced to accomodate wheelchairs,walkers and baby strollers.Every visit I have ever made to an Olive Garden has been fun and they have gone out of their way to make my mother happy and comfortable.It’s not my first choice for a restaurant,but they do their thing well.

    Zappa’s mom

  2. catsworking says:

    ZM, I think a “graphic novel” is what we fossils know as a comic book. Maybe it’s different in that most comic books were ongoing serials and this will be a self-contained story. I have no idea.

    And I’m with you on Olive Garden. I haven’t eaten there frequently, but I’ve never had anything I’d get all offended over. They make a decent salad (how can you screw up oil and vinegar dressing?), the breadsticks are tasty, and the pasta is serviceable and correctly cooked, if not mind-blowing. So what, maybe they don’t have Italian grandmothers in the kitchen cranking it out by hand, but pour it out of a box. So do I.

    This is the kind of foodie snobbishness I find myself having less and less patience with. It’s like gratuitously slapping the face of most of the population.

  3. cheray smith says:

    I loved the Haiti episode. I thought it was BETTER than the Emmy winning Beirut show. He made the show dignified and touching. Just the right tone. Another Emmy award winner?

    Last night’s Cambodia show was excellent. Love the line… On seeing a bustling Cambodian marketplace (as compared to his last visit): “Gee. WWW-dot-what the fuck-dot-com?”

    Don’t ever change Tony…

  4. adele says:

    Karen and ZM, I visited Olive Garden several times when my parents were alive, and since my step-father was in a wheelchair due to Parkinson’s, I always appreciated their solicitousness of him. I didnt really like the food much, but it certainly was consistent, from L.A. to Las Vegas, the food was always the same. Not very Italian, but then Popeye’s and the Colonel’s mac and cheese has no relation to the amazing stuff African American women used to bring to our work potlucks.

    Another excellent No Reservations episode last night. I missed the Cook’s Tour Cambodia episode, though I read about it in the book. This was one more time, where AB took me to school about a place I’ll never visit. I was thinking last night, how most of us were initially attracted to NR by AB’s considerable personal charms, but viewers of all stripes seem to be staying around for some of the most intelligent stuff on TV. I didn’t really believe that Scripps would get rid of such a popular show, despite Bourdain’s rancorous relationship with them, but it seems that this season, Tony’s bested them by making socially relevant television.

    I just finished Blood, Bones, and Butter, and it’s certainly not your typical chef memoir. Gabrielle Hamilton can really write — it’s much more a story of how a person becomes the person she is. My onecriticism would be that it sort of falls apart at the end, but the first 7/8’s are a great read. And referring to the previous paragraph, I could never have fit my step-father’s wheelchair into her restaurant.

    I’m turning to Graham Greene’s The Comedians after this. Enough memoirs for awhile.

  5. catsworking says:

    Cheray and Adele, I agree with both of you. No Res so far this season has been f**king BRILLIANT. It’s as if Bourdain has shifted into a gear we’ve hardly ever seen before. If he doesn’t do something this season that earns him an Emmy for writing, I’ll be surprised.

  6. Cheray says:

    Adele….I just ordered GG’s The Comedians….we’ll have to compare notes. Every reference to the hotel will make me think of Tony.

    I have to repeat myself here. The first two shows of this season’s NR have just BLOWN ME AWAY! I have all the NR DVD’s released so far and have watched every show at least twice, but I think Haiti and Cambodia are superior (with the possible exception of the show on Laos – my personal favourite).

  7. catsworking says:

    OK, now you guys are making me think I need to read The Comedians. I’m going to see if I can download it on my Nook. I read Travels with My Aunt not too long ago.

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