Bourdain Returns to “Where it All Began”

By Karen

Tonight’s new episode of No Reservations takes us back to 2000, when Anthony Bourdain was still working as a chef when he scored unexpected success with his book, Kitchen Confidential.

For the record, KC wasn’t his first book, but his third. Tony’s literary career began with two crime novels published in the 1990s: Bone in the Throat (1995) and Gone Bamboo (1997). I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Travel Channel posted a deleted scene from this episode where Tony talked about writing Typhoid Mary, and it includes his visit to the cemetery to leave her a “gift.” The Web wankers at TC incorrectly identify the book as a novel. It’s a biography, much more interesting than you might expect, and out of print, so it’s a collector’s item.

Eater published some of Tony’s best one-liners from last week’s episode in Kerala, India.

On September 6, Travel Channel will air No Res‘s 100th episode (in Paris), and they’re trolling for your congratulations and tributes on YouTube and Twitter.

The Medium Raw essay contest is still going strong, surpassing 1,200 entries.

CNN’s Eatocracy interviewed Tony. He talked about revisiting Beirut recently and revealed that 3-year-old Ariane is already a sophisticated restaurant patron, well-behaved and an adventurous eater. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s kids who scream and run amok in restaurants and the parents who let it happen.

Nose to Tail at Home describes meeting Bourdain at a book-signing in Austin, Texas, and his reasons for wanting Tony to autograph Fergus Henderson’s cookbook. (I didn’t read the whole blog, but gather he’s doing a male Julie & Julia thing.)

Tony participated in KCRW’s Guest DJ Project in Santa Monica. Here’s what he played and a transcript that shows he’s as eloquent talking about music as he is about food.

BONUS: My father found this undated photo of Tony in a Canadian magazine called Maclean’s with a write-up of Medium Raw, although the book wasn’t on Maclean’s bestseller list.

It's not easy to catch Bourdain over a barrel. (Photo - Maclean's)

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10 Responses to Bourdain Returns to “Where it All Began”

  1. Adele says:

    Tonight’s show was interesting, particularly in view of what Tony wrote about the period immediately following Kitchen Confidential’s success in Medium Raw. He’s become a little more world weary but also, I think a little more accessible in the ensuing years.

    Some of the documentary was obviously filmed at Tony’s apartment, and I looked for signs of Nancy. I did see the signs of a cat owner, though; Tony was sitting on a chair covered with towels — I know that look.

    In his present day wrap up, Tony commented seeing a ten year younger Tony should give the lie to a rumour he read on line about his having had a face-lift. Maybe that story ran somewhere else, but to be Tony-esque, I know it ran on a blog like this one.

  2. catsworking says:

    Adele, I remember reading the face lift rumor somewhere, and trying to dispel it here with a recent picture (at the time) of him eating lunch in, I think, Chicago at Hot Doug’s. It’s somewhere in the archives. If the man has had “work done,” he should sue the surgeon for malpractice.

    I have a bit more to say, but your namesake has an appointment with the vet and we have to run. Be back later.

  3. MorganLF says:

    This was by far a favorite episode. Seeing young Tony and Eric was simply a tonic.

    He has morphed from skinny (but fine) badass to, well an adult man.

    I dismiss all that face lift as piffle. The fact is he filled out well, he was sooo skinny that as the inevitable man-head syndrome set in he weathered it beautifully.

    Not familiar with man-head syndrome? Think young Sinatra then blown up man-head Sinatra or young Jerry Lewis and you get the picture.

  4. Adele says:

    Gotcha Morgan, and you’re absolutely right. Tony’s face filled out in all the right places. I just loved seeing how thrilled he was to have been invited for lunch to Le Bernadin and to know that it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Both Tony and Ripert aged VERY well.

    When Tony’s mom was talking, I thought I periodically detected an unusual accent; it wasn’t Jersey; it wasn’t NYC but had the slightest British inflection. I’ll need to watch again to see if I catch the same thing.

    Karen, hope my feline namesake had a good vet visit.

  5. Zappa says:

    Younger Tony had the Pez dispenser effect-a big head on a narrow,skinny body.I find the 2010 Tony extremely sexy! I had to write this reply because Zappa saw “vet” and his paws began to shake.

    Zappa’s mom

  6. catsworking says:

    Hi, Adele, your pampered namesake is now on VERY expensive canned food ($1.90 for 5.5 oz. Ouch!) in an attempt to cure her food allergies. Royal Canin duck and peas. Sounds and looks disgusting (gray mush), but doesn’t smell bad. She’s had it for 2 meals so far and didn’t run right off to lick her tummy raw, like she was doing with Fancy Feast. It will take weeks or months to see if it’s a cure, but so far, so good.

    This morning Yul goes in for more blood work. I think the cats are determined to have me pay for a new wing on the vet’s office.

  7. catsworking says:

    When I think of “Big Head Effect,” I always see Nancy Reagan. Saw her on TV a few days ago and her head seems to have deflated to match the rest of her. She’s 88 or 89 and very frail.

    I think Tony 10 years ago looked like a real motherf**ker — handsome, but cruel and cocky. He’s definitely aged (as we all have), but like most good-looking men, he’s doing it in a very flattering way. I did notice recently (perhaps in the Kerala episode) that he’s getting “old man neck.” Don’t forget the sunscreen, Bourdain!

    In addition to his meeting Eric Ripert at La Bernadin (and who I now feel sure has been a steadying voice of reason and calming influence ever since then), my favorite scene in this episode was the one they left on the cutting-room floor, when Tony went to the cemetery to visit Mary Mallon, “Typhoid Mary.”

  8. MorganLF says:

    I agree with Ottavia, Tony IS better looking now.

    I re-watched the show “on demand’, and noticed a few things.

    He has a word mannerism and says “you know” constantly. I counted 12 in one short scene where he was being interviewed in 2000 sitting outside on the stairs.(I know, I know..I’m nursing a hangover and have too much time on my hands). He does it a lot when reviewing the scene with his mom, I never noticed that before.

    I also rewound a few times the picture of Tony with his Dad, and it’s clear he favors the father as much as his brother favors the mother. Tony and his dad have the same mouth.

    The elation he feels after meeting Ripert is giddy. I have great admiration for Eric and really don’t know why. I follow all sorts of chef’s that I see on TV but Ripert had made relatively few appearances until last year. I think part of it is how much Anthony admires the guy, it rubs off. I agree, he appears to have been a very steadying influence on Tony, starting with the introduction to Ottavia.

    I repeat that I really liked this episode and marvel at the changes in his life over the last decade: Ottavia, his daughter, No Reservations, the books the rock-star fame and devotion of his fans.

    Can you imagine squatting on a blanket in the snow Christmas eve selling books and records for dope? Getting from that point to this… makes you wonder what’s next?

  9. Adele says:

    Hey Morgan,

    Hope the hangover abates soon. I’m taking antibiotics (respiratory infection — AGAIN), so I feel hung over and didn’t have fun getting that way.

    Morgan and Karen, here’s one telling thing I noticed in the “Where It All Began” episode. When talking about culture, he said that his mom felt that culture was something you worked at, while his dad felt that it enriched all aspects of your life.

    The other thing I noticed was how very young Tony seemed — much younger than 44. I finally decided that it was just that I’m old, and 44 is 19 years younger than I am now.

    Initially, I would never have heard of Ripert, if it hadn’t been for Bourdain, but the first time I saw him as a judge on Top Chef, I was struck by his warmth and kindness to the cheftestants. Then I did some reading about Le Bernardin, and I was hooked. It’s very hard to earn Michelin stars, let alone keep them. Avec Eric and now Eric’s tweets just cemented my admiration. I must see if the Chicago Public Library has any copies of On The Line.

  10. catsworking says:

    Adele, I think Tony’s drug habit “youthened” him, because he seemed young for 44 to me, too. Once he quit, age started to catch up on him. And how he’s managed to reinvent his whole life in a decade makes my head spin.

    Morgan, I didn’t notice all the “you knows.” We don’t hear them now because much of his dialogue on NR is voiceover. The other night we had severe storms here, and my favorite local channel was using some rookie weather guy who ended every sentence with “OK?”

    “The wind gusts are moving in opposite directions, which could indicate tornadic action. OK?”

    After about the 30th one, I switched channels. Couldn’t take any more.

    If not for Bourdain, I never would have heard of Ripert, Ruhlman, and a lot of other chefs, nor started watching Top Chef. I only got hooked because I was flipping channels one night and happened to catch Tony as a judge. Padma alone would make avoid the show. I have to hand it to the guy. He really has taught me a lot.

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