Bourdain’s Food Fight Sparks a Cat Fight

By Karen

I can’t often report on Anthony Bourdain from a personal encounter, but…

On November 11, Cats Working readers Adele, Cindy, MorganLF, Zappa’s Mom, and I met in Washington, DC, for the Capital Food Fight, a charity event that Bourdain has co-hosted with José Andrés for several years to benefit the DC Central Kitchen.

Before the festivities began, Tony spotted our crew in the crowd and came over to greet us. Unfortunately, there was no time to chat because he had to get right to work. I will say that for someone who just weathered Hurricane Tomas in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and entertained fans in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the previous night, Tony looked amazingly fit, well-rested, and gel-free.

You got it, Tony. Women know the secret: If you think your locks are feeling skimpy, go for fluff and volume, not wet Persian.

On stage, Tony was José Andrés’ comic counterpoint, trading insults with Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and ribbing Eric Ripert, who both served as judges.

Washingtonian rates some of the evening’s highlights.

Local chefs, including former Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn, competed in cooking competitions that required using unexpected secret ingredients (don’t ask — I’m no foodie). The most interesting matchup for me was when Bourdain and Ripert teamed against Colicchio and Andrés. By audience applause, Team B&R’s dish won.

The evening was a cocktail-party-style grazing occasion with 60 restaurants disbursing tasty morsels. Seating was scarce and coveted, but Morgan snagged us all chairs, which resulted in the cat fight…

Morgan was off grazing when a skinny, aging blonde had the audacity to take Morgan’s seat. Trying to dislodge her, I made the mistake of jokingly threatening that she’d have to deal with a Jersey girl when Morgan returned.

How was I supposed to know the bitch was from Brooklyn?

Morgan did assert her ownership of the seat politely, for a Jersey girl, only to be called a “f**king asshole” by Brooklyn and shoved almost off her feet when Brooklyn gave up the seat.

The next few seconds passed in slow motion, with white wine sailing through the air toward Brooklyn as she sidled past me. What didn’t hit the back of her head fell in my lap. The spray also christened Zappa’s Mom and an unsuspecting guy sitting beside me.

Immediately, a burly female Food Fight rep was on the scene to head off further violence. While she was piecing together what happened, Brooklyn had the nerve to come back, determined to have the last word with this catty put-down:

Leaning across me, she hissed at Morgan, “You must be a Democrat, with your sense of entitlement!”

Only in DC.

The night went without further incident (we got a last wave to Bourdain, Colicchio, and Ripert from the sidewalk as they left the building together), but I firmly believe some things — like horse races and cooking competitions — are best seen on TV. I’d rather watch mildew grow than chefs making steam, which was all the spectators could really see.

If you want a taste of being there, basically the view from our “entitled” vantage point, these videos capture it well. To fill the big screen above the stage for the sold-out crowd of 1,000, guys with cameras blocked virtually every possible glimpse of the live action.

Politico snagged a brief video interview with Bourdain before the Food Fight, and he revealed political leanings Brooklyn would find despicable.

Rather than trying to share the lousy shots I captured on my new Sony digital, here are many clear photos, probably from the guys who kept me from getting any.

This year’s event raised $501,000.

And now on the Bourdain awards front…

Eater recently bestowed 2010 honors. Bourdain was nominated for Television Personality of the Year, but lost to Eric Ripert.

The 2nd Annual Tasty Awards has nominated No Reservations for Best Food Program and Best Food Travel Series. Best Male Host in a Series nominees will be announced later today, and I’ll update here if he’s nominated. The awards ceremony is in Hollywood on January 13, but Tony’s supposed to be at the Cayman Cookout.

Seattle Weekly asked the burning question, “Bourdain v. Ray?” Guess who won as fan favorite?

In the “What do Tony and Elvis have in common?” Department…

An interview with Tony before his November 12 appearance in Charleston mentions that he was recently in Nicaragua. Was that during his trip to Haiti? I can’t keep up.

And Asheville’s (NC) Citizen-Times reported from Twitter many unconfirmed Bourdain sightings the weekend of November 6. I’m going out on a limb here to declare them bogus because Tony was really in Raleigh, NC, for an appearance on the 13th.

Sku’s Recent Eats discusses Medium Raw and offers Tony a few writing tips, which would carry more weight if Sku knew the difference between everyday and every day.

I just found out that a 9-hour audiobook of Medium Raw, read by Bourdain, has been available since July.

And while checking that out, I unearthed A Chef’s Christmas, a forgotten one-hour audio short story written and narrated by Bourdain in 2002. You can listen to a sample before you buy.

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14 Responses to Bourdain’s Food Fight Sparks a Cat Fight

  1. Jill says:

    You are a VERY entertaining writer! I’m big on spelling and punctuation too, so the confused usage of “everyday” and “every day” is something that never goes unnoticed in this camp, either. (In fact, other than a misplaced apostrophe, your article is flawless! lol) More importantly, your words don’t just report, they entertain. You paint a picture. Are you an author, by chance?

  2. catsworking says:

    Jill, thanks for pointing out the misplaced apostrophe. It’s been fixed. Most of the posts go through much revising, which is how that type of mistake creeps in. I sometimes fix typos I find here months after the fact.

    Yes, I am a full-time professional writer. Check out the “Karen and the Cats” page for my background.

    Everyday/every day is one of my pet peeves, but I’ll give Sku the benefit of the doubt that it was a typo.

  3. adele says:

    Karen, your coverage of the Food Fight leaves little for me to add, except that a great deal of the on stage banter was about hair. When the judges were first introduced, Bourdain looked over at them, noted that Colicchio and one other judge were completely bald and suggested that if Ripert would shave his head they’d have a Blue Man Group (3 guys with shaved blue heads) thing going.

    Then at some point (possibly after the gin and tonics that Bourdain and Andres requested arrived), Bourdain got the bright idea that witnessing the shaving of Ripert’s fabulous locks could be auctioned off. Ripert agreed, but fortunately, there were no bids high enough.

    Jose Andres lacks the luxurious locks of Bourdain and Ripert, but Tony also offered to auction off an Andres head shaving right at the Food Fight. Tom Colicchio yelled from the judges’ table that he could do it, since his father was a barber. Again no takers.

    Significantly, Bourdain never offered to shave his own locks. A good thing, since his hair and Ripert’s are practically national treasures. In fact, in my opinion, the only thing that eclipsed the beauty of their hair was the massive white truffle that Tony just happened to produce when the cooking contest between him and Andres began.

    It was quite an event; the food was generally very good, and the people watching was excellent. It was a night of all around good feeling, which apparently Morgan’s assailant did not absorb. I came in at the very end of that contretemps, only realizing that something had happened when I heard the Food Fight staffer say, “She must have been off her meds . . .”

  4. catsworking says:

    Adele, thanks for filling in more detail on what happened on stage. I didn’t want to go on for thousands of words.

    I noticed that in all the talk of head-shaving, Bourdain’s head was never mentioned. On the other hand, he’s had a few haircuts in the recent past that came close.

    I also felt that the crowd had such a good vibe, you didn’t feel like you had to worry about somebody stealing your purse or picking your pocket.

    I hope Morgan and Zappa’s Mom will weigh in with their perspective.

  5. MorganLF says:

    Actually credit for the “meds” comment goes to Zappa’s Mom. When she confronted “Brooklyn” and her emasculated husband as to why she behaved so angry and hostile at a charity event, Brooklyn responded by calling her asshole. At that point Zappa’s mom declared the bitter hag to be “off her meds”.

    That she used “Democrat” as a pejorative is a clear indication of how out of touch she was with her surroundings. On stage we had Tony and Tom Colliccio two Jersey liberals and Eric Ripert, a Buddhist. I suspect Jose Andres of progressive leanings as well.

    This was a lefty, progressive, charity event meant to give back and feed the pesky poor and homeless while teaching them work skills not a Tea Party rally. Who did she think she was going to run into Glen Beck?

  6. sku says:

    Thanks to the cats for the correction, which I have now made on the post. Yes it was just an everyday sort of typo, the type of thing that happens every day to bloggers like me. Sorry if it annoyed you and caused any sort of clusterfuck?

    Sku

  7. catsworking says:

    Hey, Sku. Just messing with you. Regular readers get the joke.

    I happen to agree with your tips, although I think the use of question marks is Bourdain’s way of indicating the vocal inflection he’d use if he were speaking?

    For the record, I’ve snarked on his stylistic tics myself, like when he creates nonsensical hyphenates when he probably means to use a dash.

    The blogosphere is a tough room.

  8. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you bring up a good point about Brooklyn. You have to wonder what she was doing there in the first place. If she thinks somebody who got there early and snagged a seat has a sense of “entitlement,” you can just imagine her low opinion of all the people who will benefit from the money raised by the Food Fight.

    Or we could look at it another way. Maybe she expected a strong, vital young woman like you to be willing to give up your seat to a shriveled old hag showing signs of dementia.

  9. MorganLF says:

    Truth be told, she was probably quite close to us in age. It was her ugly, combative attitude that marked her as a bitter hag. Well I hope she enjoyed her Pinot Grigio shampoo….

  10. catsworking says:

    Well, Morgan, if you 2 had decided to take it outside, my money would have been on you to win.

  11. zappa says:

    Nah, she was waaaay older than all of us combined. If she expected one of us young lustrous babes to give up our seat to a shriveled, schizo TeaBag, she’s got another thing (flung cocktail) coming to her. Fuck old people! I am sorry I didn’t trip her.

  12. Jill Fuller says:

    People do get angry about their spelling and punctuation being corrected. I’d rather hear, “Hey, thanks for helping me to look more intelligent!”

  13. catsworking says:

    Jill, yeah, well writers who are the touchiest about corrections and edits tend to be amateurs. You know the type. They once got an A in English, so they think every word is golden, even if they use 100 to say something that requires 10.

    I used to meet a lot of them in Corporate America, and the blogosphere has probably become their playground. Not that I’m saying Sku belongs in that category. I’ve only read that one post so I’m not judging.

    A typo’s a simple typo, but a typo that could be mistaken for a real mechanical issue (like the errant apostrophe you pointed out here) may signify something else.

  14. catsworking says:

    Zappa’s Mom, that’s the spirit!

    The whole incident happened so fast, if we’d all been more aware of what was unfolding, we could have joined forced and given Brooklyn an encounter with Cats Working she’d never forget. She got off easy.

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