Bourdain Flirts with His Final Frontier

February 12, 2014

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s final frontier is ocean travel. Sure, we’ve seen him chugging up fetid rivers, snorkeling, and catch a few stunt fish, but he’s never filmed an hour of TV on the ocean.

At the upcoming South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Anthony Bourdain is hosting “An Evening Aboard the S.S. Wolfsonian” with Azamara Club Cruises on February 21 at the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum. At $1,500 a plate, it’s already sold out, but the proceeds go to the Wolfsonian and the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, so it’s all for a good cause.

According to Azamara’s press release, this was Bourdain’s idea, and he got inspiration for dishes from the Wolfsonian ocean liner menu collection. He’ll be overseeing the dinner, prepared by Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, and other celebrity chefs.

Bourdain will share hosting duties with one of Azamara’s captains.

Didn’t Tony make at least one transatlantic crossing to France as a child, possibly on the Queen Mary? Unfortunately, true ocean liners have passed into history, and in his career as a globe-trotter, I’ve never heard Bourdain be anything but dismissive of today’s cruise industry.

Could that be about to change?

Azamara is a relatively unknown, more upscale brand of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Azamara has only 2 ships, and its sister lines most familiar to Americans are Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.

Azamara ships are smaller, and feature a casually elegant experience, with an English butler’s services available to suite passengers. Fares are higher, yet more inclusive than mass market lines (most alcohol is included), yet not as inclusive as top-tier lines like Crystal and Seabourn, who also throw in airfare and most shore excursions.

It’s far from the first time a cruise line has used a celebrity chef to embellish their brand. Jacques Pépin is executive culinary director for Oceania Cruises, another top-tier line.

Norwegian Cruise Line has adopted Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian to design menus for its newest ships, Getaway and Breakaway.

And even Carnival has a celebrity chef — Guy Fieri. He’s perfect for the line that attracts the diners, dives, and drive-in set.

But I don’t see Bourdain planning Azamara’s menus. I see him as their spokesman.

Speaking of Carnival, who could ever forget Kathie Lee Gifford and Richard Simmons dancing on the decks, singing about “Fun Ships?”

If Azamara could get Bourdain to become the face of their more refined brand, he could potentially kick the whole industry’s reputation up a notch (well, not Carnival’s — he’s only human).

Bourdain could help the cruise industry shift the focus away from its ships being floating amusement parks, back to the time when a sea voyage was considered the most special way to visit exotic places.

I could see Royal Caribbean and Norwegian grabbing that life preserver, quickly following suit to distance themselves from the “Do Whatever — We Don’t Care” attitude they’ve foolishly promoted of late, to the detriment of their ships and their reputations.

But Azamara has one big hurdle ahead: They’ve got to get Bourdain on a ship.

I’d love to see a Parts Unknown episode filmed on Azamara. He’s always talking about wanting to make each episode unlike anything he’s ever done before. So…?

Wining and dining Bourdain is a good first move, Azamara. Keep it up.


Bourdain in Miami with a Girl

February 27, 2012

By Karen

That’s right. Celebrity Baby Scoop got the best pictures ever of Anthony Bourdain’s daughter, Ariane, who will be 5 years old on April 9.

Over the weekend, she and dad were hanging out in their hotel pool during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Ottavia didn’t seem to be around, and I kind of doubt the paparazzi would have come away unscathed had she been there.

But anyhoo, the pics are on the ‘net now. Since the Bourdains have always protected Ariane’s image, Cats Working will respect that, but here’s the link to the photos.

Now let the discussion begin… Who do you think she favors?

And just when you think Paula Deen can’t sink any lower…

On February 24 Al Roker was in South Beach for the festival, and the Today Show gave Paula and her son Bobby an opportunity to act shocked and declare that mean people had “piled on” Paula for developing diabetes.

You’d have to go back to the Bush administration to find a more pathetic attempt at spin.

Of course, they carefully omitted how Paula pushed her deadly cuisine for 3 years after her diagnosis, and that she only admitted it once her lucrative diabetes drug endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk made continued deceit impossible.

And Roker let them get away with it. Shame on him!

Without the slightest trace of irony, Paula even had the gall to call her disease “a blessing.”

I guess so, now that it’s opened up a new multi-million-dollar income stream for her.

Honey, y’all ain’t foolin’ anybody. Cashing in on your diabetes was disgusting enough, but enlisting your son to help you bad-mouth anyone who’s appalled by your dishonesty and greed only adds calculated spitefulness to the list.


“No Reservations” Season 7: Bourdain is Back

February 28, 2011

By Karen

The long drought is over. Anthony Bourdain travels to Haiti, where he meets Sean Penn trying to help the people recover from the earthquake. Travel Channel’s Room214 is MIA, so I didn’t get a sneak peak, but here’s the promo…

BONUS: Tony will be tweeting live @NoReservations during the episode. And remember, the new time slot is 9 p.m. ET.

The Bourdains just attended the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and returned to Miami Ink (where Tony got his skull tattoo and we got our first glimpse of Ottavia). This time, they got matching body art — a hissing snake. The Daily Mail published a great series of photos. And here’s a brief video of Tony under the needle.

All I can say is, when you can’t check out your wife’s new tat without your reading specs, you’re probably too old to be doing that stuff.

Rolf Potts at Gadling did a masochistic experiment to go “Around the World in 80 Hours (of Travel TV)” by watching Travel Channel. I only mention it because he ends his 5-part blog series discussing the NR Tex/Mex episode and how Bourdain personifies how good the Travel Channel could be (if it weren’t such a commercial-riddled crap-fest).

According to this Delaware Online recap, Tony outed himself himself as a cat person in Wilmington on the 22nd. Good work, Lupetto (Bourdain’s cat) and thank you! That should get certain felines around here who think my Bourdain posts make me a blog hog off my back.

During the Boston Phoenix interview about the NR episode Tony recently filmed there and his upcoming March 4 appearance with Eric Ripert, Tony called B.R. Myers “the asshole in the Atlantic,” while conceding that his anti-foodie article was well-written. Well, DUH! Myers quoted Tony.

The Dallas Observer thinks Jamie’s Food Escapes with Jamie Oliver on Cooking Channel may give Bourdain some stiff competition. The travel/food format is similar, but Jamie also cooks. If you want to check it out, it’s on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

And now, Top Chef All-Stars

Paula Deen took Tony’s place for last week’s Southern cooking challenges, which was probably a blessing. Tony declared North Carolina BBQ his favorite in the March issue of Budget Travel for its “purity” of being seasoned only with vinegar, salt, and pepper.

I’ve eaten a lot of NC BBQ living here in the South, and more often than not, its only saving grace is that big bottle of red BBQ sauce on the table because it’s so dry, you need lots of lubrication to choke it down.

Anyway, mustard was the undoing of one of my favorites, Dale. Now only Carla and Tiffany are left, although Tiffany has started to annoy me and I’ve developed soft spots for Antonia and Richard.

Mike is another story. Talk about your stereotypical Jersey scumbag (apologies to Morgan!). A few weeks ago, he shared his aversion to helping his competition, but he topped that in the latest Quickfire by hijacking a chicken oyster idea Richard had shared with him. Even worse, he WON $5K and, with a big smirk, gave Richard credit for “inspiring” him.

With that, Mike joined the ranks of every unscrupulous creep who has ever not deserved to win a reality show, beginning with Richard Hatch on Survivor: Season 1.

Thank God Richard prevailed by winning the Elimination Challenge and a trip to Barbados.

Tony didn’t blog for Bravo last week because he was at the SoBe Festival, but Bravo claimed a few days later that he was in Connecticut. Now I’m wondering if Tony’s messing with them by lying about his whereabouts. (He was speaking in Connecticut the night Top Chef aired on the 23rd, but probably didn’t get back to his hotel in time to see it.)

Max Silvestri wrote another great recap on Eater.

A new satiric series called Foodies is coming to the Web March 9 at www.freefoodies.com. It looks interesting, and I’ve marked my calendar to check it out.


Little Girls Gang Up on Bourdain

February 8, 2010

By Karen

This week, Anthony Bourdain takes No Reservations within spitting distance of home, having lunch with actor Bill Murray in the Hudson Valley. Here’s a clip.

He also gets a good taste of what he’s probably got in store from daughter Ariane in about 7 years…

Speaking of little girls, Bourdain shares in his blog a touching essay by crew member Todd Leibler’s daughter. Tony, before you know it, Ariane will be writing her own revealing school essays. If she’s got a fraction of your talent, her teachers are in for a treat — or a shock! There may be a few urgent parent-teacher conferences in your future.

Cape Cod Times did a great run-down on Bourdain’s appearance in Providence, RI, on January 23, and mentions that Cape Cod might be on the short list for NR Season 7. (UPDATE: This article also implies that the Bourdains have a dog. I was able to verify that it’s not true and Lupetto the cat still reigns supreme. Tony was probably speaking of pets in general, and the reporter misunderstood.)

On February 28, at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Tony will square off with Eric Ripert in Death Match on the Beach: Battle Fish. From ingredients in a mystery basket, they’ll each try to prepare the best fish dish.

Sorry, Tony, my money’s on Eric to win.

Yet another wacko has tattooed himself with Bourdain — and Eric Ripert and Masaharu Morimoto.

Stellaa’s Blog gives Tony a lengthy kick in the pants. At first, I thought it was tough love, but she really does seem to hate the guy.

Here’s the most complete listing I’ve found on the ‘Net of Bourdain’s personal appearances.


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