Will Bloggers Free Bourdain from Chase?

By Karen

Wendy at Room 214 sent this surprising note regarding Anthony Bourdain brandishing a dummy Chase Sapphire card in Istanbul:

First, I wanted to say thank you for your post last week about the Brittany episode of No Reservations. I also wanted to let you know that I sent feedback to the sales group and production team about the credit card scene (Istanbul episode) that so many viewers are talking about. In other words, we’re listening. If I get any updates that I can share with you, I will!

Tony wasn’t packing the card in Brittany, although it would have complemented all that blue he kept talking about. But there it was in Prague, where Tony supposedly whipped it out at the Café Savoy before he’d even eaten. A plug so brief and pointless, it seemed as if Chase is experimenting with subliminal brainwashing.

Let’s hope the Travel Channel really is listening and ends this madness.

And in the WTF department…

Travel Channel granted Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site an interview with Bourdain. Matt asked his readers to pose questions and, after reading them, all I can say is, “Poor Tony.”

Tony’s latest blog post reveals he’s been filming somewhere in the Caribbean. Last week, I made a whirlwind tour of 5 islands in 5 days myself and never saw him (not that I was looking).

Cape Cod Makeover saw Bourdain in Milwaukee on January 22 (where he also filmed for an upcoming Heartland show) and says he wore WHITE cowboy boots and drank Pabst Blue Ribbon. Tony the redneck? Tell me it isn’t so!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Bourdain’s topics that night, and I learned he’s been mugged twice at gunpoint and twice at knifepoint. The paper also published the menu of a local chef who cooked for Tony. His only restriction: no tofu.

A.V. Club was the only one to mention that Bourdain had to contend with a bad sound system and a lot of rude, drunken restaurant workers there.

According to Crain’s New York, Bourdain is teaming with Eric Ripert, David Chang, Daniel Boulud, and others beginning April 30 for the first Asian Food Festival and Restaurant Week to benefit the hunger relief organization City Harvest and the Asian American Federation, which fights poverty in Asian communities.

The Brûlée Blog got some illicit video of Bourdain in Calgary on January 12, with a shot of the podium that seems to confirm he does speak from notes, or at least topic lists.

Mission: Food met Bourdain at the book-signing after his appearance in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 23, and got a photo. Tony apparently wasn’t wowed. Notice: no teeth.

Daily Blender coined a phrase I asked myself many, many times while sitting in the San Juan airport trying to get home through a snowstorm on January 30…

WWTD: What Would Tony Do?

I thought I knew, I was willing, and I’ve done it before. But never with my parents. As soon as I heard it was snowing in Richmond, I’d have gotten myself on the next flight anywhere with any chance of getting me into Richmond before they rolled up the runways. But the folks wouldn’t consider overshooting our destination to, say, Pittsburgh or DC. So we sat for 11 ½ hours in the Twilight Zone — an airport whose arrival and departure boards listed canceled and nonexistent flights as “on time” and “airborne.” US Airways employees told us the airport routinely concocted flight schedules in the name of “consistency.” The only way to find out what was really going on was to phone the airline’s reservations number.

Bourdain provided a list of the 10 best chefs and restaurants around the world for the James Beard Foundation .

BehindTheKnife got a quick video interview with Tony inexplicably in silhouette on the beach at the Cayman Cookout, and got him talking about barbecuing on tire rims.

Epic Portions bestowed its first annual EPIE Awards with much snark toward the losers, but Bourdain and No Res distinguished themselves in several categories.


11 Responses to Will Bloggers Free Bourdain from Chase?

  1. bruleeblog says:

    He never did stand at the podium though. Not sure if he even glanced at the notes.

  2. Nomadic Matt says:

    why would an interview with Tony be in the WTF department? Tony was the one who agreed to it. What’s wrong with interacting with your fans?

  3. catsworking says:

    Brulee, I saw Bourdain speak in Durham last year and he had the same set-up. He never went behind the podium there, either, and I wondered how he was able to talk for such a long time, so seamlessly, without any prompts, although it did look like he may have occasionally glanced at something on the podium. I was just curious.

  4. catsworking says:

    Hi, Matt!
    I guess you can color me green with envy because I once asked Bourdain directly for an interview and he turned me down. Good luck, and I hope you are able to come up with questions that cover some new ground. Karen

  5. Bob says:

    Well I for one hope that like the dreaded “At The Table” fiasco this abuse of power by Tony’s exec overlords will end due to the outcry of disgust from the masses.

    And Karen, I am sure that Matt would have given his eye teeth to have had exclusive access to Ottavia.
    I don’t think anyone will soon top that score!!

  6. catsworking says:

    Heh, heh, you’re right, Bob. Hearing the whole story from MRS. Bourdain was an international scoop, without a doubt.

    I just hate to see Tony wasting time answering questions like, “What’s your favorite food?” “What’s your favorite country?” “What’s the worst thing you ever ate?” His responses would be OK for fans who know nothing about him beyond watching NR for a season or two, but you and I know that regular Cats Working readers are FAR beyond that level of curiosity, thanks to all the information we’ve shared here over the past couple of years.

    Since I haven’t seen a single comment anywhere praising Travel Channel’s decision to have Bourdain shill in the fakest possible way for Chase, and since they run REAL commercials for the Sapphire card during his show anyway, I hope they’ll rethink the whole product placement strategy — and soon.

    I could see Samantha Brown slapping the card down on the counter in the cutest possible way when she’s shopping for souvenirs, but it’s just not Bourdain’s style, or Zimmern’s either, for that matter. The only time I remember seeing Tony pay for anything was when he bought that Hawaiian shirt, and he made it clear that he was doing it with his own money.

    What I find most annoying is that the card itself doesn’t even remotely look real. It’s completely blank. They could at least emboss some gibberish on it.

  7. MorganLF says:

    Ask Tony about being part of the Scripps network “family” again. Bet you’ll get an interesting answer. We met him right after they acquired the Travel Chanel, and he made a cryptic comment.

    I’m just about mid way though the 2nd reading of Kitchen Confidential, what a great read, I can’t wait for “Cooks”.

  8. catsworking says:

    Morgan, the new book has been renamed. It’s now Medium Raw, and I think the release date is June 8.

    Great suggestion for a question Matt could ask in his interview!

  9. Victoria says:

    Hi! I noticed you posted a link to my experience meeting Mr. Bourdain. I am amused by your comment that he wasn’t wowed because he wasn’t showing his teeth 🙂 I can honestly say that I didn’t see him shine his teeth once through those photo opps, but I don’t think that means he didn’t enjoy meeting his fans in Providence. Just sayin!

  10. catsworking says:

    Hey, Victoria!

    I’ve seen tons of photos of Bourdain and his fans, and it’s purely a personal theory of mine, but the show of teeth seems to mean something. If he’s really having a good time, he gives a broad smile. If he’s just putting in the time, doing the job (although trying to be really gracious about it), no teeth. On the other hand, when you look at the fans, they’re all showing teeth. Obviously, the thrill is mostly on our side.

    Same thing in my first photo with him back in February 2009 (you can find it in the archives for that month). He knew all about Cats Working, and he knew I was going to Durham, NC, to meet him. When we finally met and took a picture together, he’s showing the tiniest hint of teeth, which I now take as a compliment. Not to detract anything from your photo, of course. Just sayin!

  11. MorganLF says:

    Based on your theory I’m flattered I got a sliver of teeth in the photo taken Wednesday night!

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