Is Bourdain Back on Top Chef?

By Karen

This week’s No Reservations is another special. The production team had a team track them as they filmed the recent episode in Kerala, India. I found this behind-the-scenes look much more interesting and entertaining than finished product. You’ll see Tony not just as “the talent,” but as senior gang member.

His crew has an endearing sense of humor and loyalty to the cause. Now I want to revisit Bourdain’s previous book, No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, where he wrote about them extensively, because now I feel as if I might relate better.

UPDATE to UPDATE: I was right the first time. Bourdain is going to be a guest judge on Top Chef on September 1, not in Singapore on September 8.  This season really could use an infusion of his wit. And I learned from judge Eric Ripert’s video recap of last week’s episode that they cut probably the best moment — him spitting out a cheftestant’s toxic gray tuna tartare.

I found a thought-provoking post on the Jawa Report about Bourdain’s visit to Saudi Arabia and what it accomplished — not. (Remember, the one where Danya won his fan contest?) Bourdain was faulted for not delving into that (or any other) culture’s ugly underbelly. But he’s no investigative reporter or diplomat, and I think for him to do so could have terrible consequences for the innocent people who host him.

Jessica Wong at CBCNews in Toronto is seeking reader questions before Bourdain appears on September 22 at Ryerson University. She gave her own list, and it’s so well-worn, if there’s any chance she’ll be talking to him, I suggest she do her homework. Like maybe watch an episode or two of NR and at least skim Medium Raw.

On the other hand, Katharine Shilcutt with the Houston Press blog, Eating Our Words, did an excellent phone interview with Bourdain before his appearance there on September 20. He seemed in good spirits and mentions that he hopes to go to Cuba with Zamir around New Year’s for No Reservations‘ next season, and he’s already picked the show’s theme.

Evan S. Benn of in St. Louis also interviewed Bourdain before his October 1 appearance there. Tony tells why he’ll never tweet, and mentions some other places NR might visit in Season 7, which he says they’re deliberately trying to make “very difficult” to challenge themselves and keep it fresh.

Here’s a video interview with Lauren Ezersky of Better about Medium Raw. I give Bourdain points for keeping a straight face.

8 Responses to Is Bourdain Back on Top Chef?

  1. Cindy says:

    Bravo put out a press release last week about the finale of “Top Chef” (filmed in Singapore) and they did say that guest judges this week are Tony and Dana Cowan.

    Spouse & I have our tickets for the Food Fight and plan on meeting up with everyone.

  2. catsworking says:

    Hi, Cindy! Long time, no see! Thanks for that verification. I looked all over the Bravo website and never found a press release.

    Top Chef also won an Emmy last night as best Reality TV Series, the first time a food show has done it, I believe.

    So glad to hear you and your husband will be at the Food Fight. This year so far we’ve got Morgan, her friend Donna, and Zappa’s Mom also confirmed. Adele (the human) is a maybe.

  3. catsworking says:

    Cindy, thank you for the link. I have updated the post. He’s not on this week, but next week. This season has been so boring (except for the near-poisoning of Ripert), they’re down to the final few and I still don’t really care about any of them, but Tiffany seems OK, so I hope she wins. In the beginning, it seemed that they had obviously picked some goofy cannon fodder to go home early, but then nobody ended up having much of a presence or a personality.

  4. catsworking says:

    One more note on Top Chef. I could swear that Padma was recycling her gown. I distinctly remember her getting picked as one of the worst dressed at some other event where she was wearing a purple gown with a big bunch of red flowers at the hip. It was either right before she announced she was pregnant or early in her pregnancy.

    I guess she also doesn’t realize that her color choices make her the poster girl for the Red Hat Society.

  5. Cindy says:

    He is on Sept 1 and it is at NASA.
    The finale is in Singapore starting Sept 8. Bravo kind of jumbled announcements for the rest of the season all together in one release.

  6. catsworking says:

    Yes, I’m pretty sure that at the end of the last episode of Top Chef, they said Buzz Aldrin would be on next. That’s what made me think it was the Bourdain episode because it looked like he was sitting at the same table as Aldrin in the season promo, but I guess he wasn’t. And I was also confused because I think they still have 4 cheftestants left. Isn’t it usually down to 3 for the final?

    So now it all makes sense. One more week in DC, and then they fly the final 3 to Singapore for the finale, so 2 of them will be on the other side of the world when they lose. Nice touch.

  7. Zappa says:

    Sometimes I really miss cable tv.Not the bill,though

    Zappa’s mom

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