Apologies to Alan Jay Lerner, but… When Bourdain’s in Spain, he must think wives are a pain.
After watching No Reservations in Spain, it appears that Ottavia Bourdain has either developed “Nancy Syndrome” when it comes to appearing on camera, or she’s the second woman to be deliberately pushed into the background by Anthony Bourdain’s ego.
Tony has claimed that first wife Nancy hated being filmed, even though she looked content cuddling with him for People magazine, and on A Cook’s Tour played an anonymous extra in San Sebastian, Spain, and joined him for dinner during another episode in Oporto, Portugal. Here she is in Oporto:
During that scene, the other man spoke to Nancy, and you could hear her mumbling, but she was never identified, and it was edited so Tony seemed to ignore her.
Now he’s back in San Sebastian with Wife No. 2, Ottavia, and it was déjà vu as he dined in the last scene with his friends Juan Mari and Elena Arzak at their restaurant.
His tablemates looked at and spoke to Ottavia, and even included her in their toast, but shots of Tony were tight so he appeared to be sitting alone. But then a telltale plate of food was served beside him, and the mysterious diner even said something unintelligible.
And then as the credits rolled, Ottavia got her “Nancy moment” on the edge of the frame. For the rest of the episode, he wandered around alone with various female guides.
Just about two years ago, when Ottavia and Tony’s love was new, Ottavia appeared prominently in two NR scenes in Tuscany and he didn’t seem to mind.
Since Bourdain was already famous when they met, it seems unlikely it’s Ottavia’s wish that his fans never see them together. If Tony’s trying to cling to his “free spirit” image, the cat’s out of the bag. We now know it wasn’t authentic from Day One.
It always struck me as odd that, during his intro on Cook’s Tour, he said, “I’ve got nothing to lose,” when he had a wife sitting at home. That attitude probably didn’t help his first marriage.
Now I wonder if he’s doing it again with Ottavia. If so, he’s wrong if he thinks female fans can’t accept him as a married globe-trotting rebel. What we aren’t crazy about is watching him diss his wives in crowded restaurants.