I just watched all 13 episodes of Kitchen Confidential, the sitcom based on Anthony Bourdain’s book. What was Fox thinking to launch – and sink – that show in 2005 after airing only 4 episodes? It oozes untapped potential.
I ordered DVDs through Netflix, but you can watch it here online. It left me wanting more, much more.
Bradley Cooper played chef Jack Bourdain with Tony’s wild side and signature thumb ring, but minus the wife. In fact, he gets dumped by his girlfriend in the first episode, leaving him free to pursue ladies on both sides of the kitchen door in a manner that’s fantasy fodder for Tony’s fans – male and female alike.
The ensemble cast includes some standouts. Because they seem right from the pages of Bourdain’s book, my favorites are John Cho as Teddy Wong the fish guy, Owain Yeoman as Steven Daedelus the sous chef, and Frank Alvarez as Ramon the dishwasher.
If Fox had given the cast a chance to shake out and jell, they could have made a team to rival Cheers.
Frank Langella plays Pino, the owner of Nolita. The restaurant setting inspires plots as refreshing as sorbet. In addition to obligatory slapstick, like the fingertip that turns up in a customer’s meal, in one episode, Jack fights to serve sweetbreads. In another, they call “brunch” another word for hell, but go for it anyway. They rumble with a rival French restaurant that steals their menu.
Anthony Bourdain apparently had nothing to do with the scripts, but his sharp wit remained intact.
Fox ran only 3 episodes in a too-early time slot (8:30), obviously unaware that Bourdain fans would expect lots of spice. Then they yanked it for 2 months, aired one more episode, and killed it.
If you love Kitchen Confidential the book, I think you’ll enjoy the series. I give it 2 (severed) thumbs up!