Travel Channel Tired of Bourdain?

By Karen

Season 7 of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations begins two weeks from tonight, and Travel Channel posted a video of Tony saying many of the shows were not only difficult to make, but “may be difficult to watch.”

That must be music to Andrew Zimmern’s ears.

I’d like to know why Travel Channel fails to mention in some of the new-season promos that Bourdain’s time slot has switched from 10 to 9 p.m., now that they seem to have settled on February 28 as the premier date, after initially announcing it as March 14.

Not to mention that Tony’s promos run less frequently than Zimmern’s and just about everybody else’s.

If you add all these little things up, you might get the impression that Travel Channel is subtly trying to sink No Reservations.

I’ve got a bone to pick with Bravo, too. Bourdain didn’t blog on Top Chef All-Stars’ week 9 when Fabio got ousted a lousy hamburger. Bravo posted on Tony’s page that he’s out of the country when the truth is that he’s making personal appearances around the U.S. most nights this month. He’s even tweeting about it @NoReservations.

Speaking of Top Chef, the snooze factor went WAY up with Fabio’s departure. Déjà vu to Tre and the glumpy risotto, Fabio was doomed by form over substance when he failed to serve greasy burgers that could drip on Padma’s ankles. Flavor wasn’t really a factor, except someone likened his burger to meatloaf.

Fabio’s done a lot of interviews since, but I thought Fancast got the best one, eliciting Fabio’s thoughts on Bourdain, Jersey Shore, and a variety of other topics.

Next up in week 10 of Top Chef, Bourdain is back at judges’ table and the Muppets judge the Quickfire challenge on — what else? — COOKIES!

Tony’s hitting the personal appearance circuit hard this month. Here’s what I’ve pieced together of his February schedule:

10 Red Bank, NJ
11 Easton, PA
12 Stamford, CT
13 Norfolk, VA
14 Glenside, PA
15 Pompano Beach, FL
18 Cerritos, CA
19 Palm Desert, CA
20 Modesto, CA
22 Wilmington, DE
23 New Haven, CT
24-27 Miami, FL (South Beach Wine & Food Festival)

Could screenplays be in Bourdain’s future? He’s been learning the ropes writing the restaurant scenes for HBO’s new season of Treme, including one where food critic Alan Richman guests. Remember him? Bourdain devoted Chapter 14 to him in Medium Raw, entitled, “Alan Richman is a Douchebag.”

Grub Street got Richman’s reaction to Bourdain’s screenwriting.

B.R. Myers, a South-Korea-based vegan opinion writer for Atlantic magazine, has foodies’ napkins in a knot over his recent article, “The Moral Crusade Against Foodies,” and he quoted Bourdain to do it.

I agree with Myers to a point. Even after watching Bourdain all these years, foodies still creep me out. I resent their belief that the world would be a better place if we all aspired to ever-greater feats in the kitchen, and that anyone outside their rarified circle should give a damn about whom they’ve anointed this week’s “world’s greatest chef” or care what comes out of his/her kitchen if we live beyond driving distance.

99.99% of us eat what’s available and don’t dwell on it nor feel compelled to photograph it. (Yeah, that’s why there’s obesity, blah, blah. That’s a separate debate.)

In a nutshell, “normal” people eat to live. We don’t live to eat. But these days it seems we can’t swing a cat without hitting a foodie.

The judges on Top Chef bemoan cheftestants’ “ignorance” of certain dishes as if they’re supposed to know every cuisine on the planet. It’s food snobs setting impossible standards solely for the purpose of tripping up (mostly) competent cooks with solid track records in their own milieu. Watching them go down apparently holds endless fascination for foodies.

And what was sicker than the intro to Medium Raw, where Bourdain rapturously describes joining unnamed food celebrities to hide their heads under napkins while they devour hapless, endangered songbirds WHOLE? All that was missing was the female guests killing the birds by impaling them on their stiletto heels.

Foodie fetishism can be as ugly and unhealthy in its own way as living on junk food.

Anyway, Village Voice and Salon jumped in and defended foodies with stinging rebuttals of Myers’ rant.

28 Responses to Travel Channel Tired of Bourdain?

  1. david shiel says:

    Fuck em all. They wouldn’t know a cheesburger from a nose bugger!

  2. cheray smith says:

    Is anyone who frequents this board a fan of James Carville? Or as his wife Mary Matalin calls him, Ole Snakehead? He’s a good ole Louisianna boy who is also a foodie. He has given a lengthy interview to Eatocracy regarding New Orleans cooking. I would LOVE to see him and Tony Bourdain have a discussion. Here’s a link to the interview to anyone who is interested.

  3. Nina Leto Mayleas says:

    The Atlantic article was so one-note and sad, this guy doesn’t seem to even enjoy vegan delights….if there are any!! Re: The FC, I’ve noticed today that they are promoting Anthony Bourdain’s next season and there will be a “Best Of” starting at 8 tonight. One thing that is pretty disturbing today is Zimeran’s using Tony’s warnings before each segment, a blatant copy cat!!! Meeeowwww!!!!!

  4. MorganLF says:

    I adore James Carville!! I agree him and Tony would be riveting.

    Karen remmeber last year when we were at the DC Food Fight Tony came over after the event and we chatted and took some pics, do you rmember what he said when he turned his head around looked over his shoulder and said, “how come no one is asking me about the big news” or something to that effect? He then went on to say Scripps bought Travel Chanel and his expression was not a happy one. Guess we now know why.

  5. catsworking says:

    Hey, cheray! I like James Carville! His loud mouth is refreshing when he uses it to take down neocon douchebags. Had no idea he’s so into food and didn’t realize he’s from New Orleans, although the accent should have been a giveaway. Thanks for that link. I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans. After reading that interview (thanks for the link!), I’m tempted to buy a plane ticket. I love seafood and he makes it sound very down-to-earth.

    David, after seeing the bone-headed judging this season on Top-Chef, I’m with you. Last week, 3 of my favorites were up for elimination: Tiffany, Dale, and Fabio. They said Tiffany’s chicken and dumplings were more like “tortilla soup” and Dale oversalted his Philly cheesesteak so it was almost inedible. So Fabio goes home because his burger isn’t pure beef and not as juicy as they like? WTF?

  6. catsworking says:

    Nina, “Best of” my butt, but thanks for the tip. I’ll have to check and see if they’ve changed anything. The last time I looked at the schedule on Verizon, it was the same old, same old reruns. And the Travel Channel website’s TV listings are so f**ked up, they are USELESS. For example, they aren’t showing anything for today at all except Hong Kong airing at 1 p.m.

    I’m trying to catch a bunch I’d taped from Season 6 that my LG DVD recorder just ruined, and the only one coming up seems to be Rome on March 6 (I hope!). But in another place on the TC listings, it says the Rome episode isn’t scheduled to air. They make it a total crapshoot.

    And I was watching something else on TC the other night that showed Tony’s parental warning at the beginning. Might have been Ghostly Lovers. Seems they are slapping that on the front of everything.

    Morgan, Tony couldn’t have thought Scripps was going to let him continue touring the country trashing its Food Network stars without repercussions. I think the chickens have come home to roost.

  7. melissa saner says:

    The food and wine festival is actually from the 24-27. Just had to say that.

  8. zappa says:

    Cheray I used to frequent James Carville’s restaurant here in DC(shuttered some years now) It was called 24 West,being on 24th st NW.I live 1 1/2 blocks away on 22nd st. Iremember seeing JC and Mary stroll about with the kid(s).They are nice,friendly people

    PS the shrimp and grits with andouille was my favorite dish there

  9. zappa says:

    Zappa’s mom,that is…Zappa isn’t much into dining out and he is definitely NOT a foodie

  10. adele says:

    I’m still not convinced that Scripps is ready to kill the Bourdain goose that’s laid the golden Travel Channel egg, but maybe I’m being uncharacteristically optimistic.

    Carville and Bourdain could be a good combo, although talk about 2 Type A personalities . . . ZM, I never knew that Carville had a restaurant in DC — shrimp and grits makes my mouth water.

    Karen, I’ve been to New Orleans 3 times, but not for decades. There is so much to love about the city — the food, of course, but also the history, the music, the architecture — it’s not like anyplace else, although it might remind you a little bit of some of the Caribbean cities you’ve visited. I’m craving to go myself. March and April are great months to go — it’s warm; everything is blooming, but it’s not as hot and muggy as it get later on. Tom Robbins, in Jitterbug Perfume, a favorite book of mine, talks about the particularly fecund smell of New Orleans, and how once you smell it, all you can think of is the “humping beast,” and he says the only antidote to the “humping beast” is the food.

  11. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Melissa, and thanks for the correction. Got my dates jumbled, didn’t I? Now it all makes sense. I know Ottavia has been looking forward to the SoBe festival, and I wondered how Tony was going to do it with 2 appearances in the middle. My mistake.

  12. catsworking says:

    Adele, I think I got my first impressions of New Orleans from reading Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.

    I think Season 7 will be pivotal for No Reservations, and probably not in a good way. If Bourdain knew what he’d be doing in the next act of his life, I think he’d be happy to bag it and move on. And I think Travel Channel may be testing how loyal his fans are after they’ve run the SAME FEW F**KING RERUNS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN and played with his time slot. Moving it back to 9 means, “Don’t expect the same level of trash talk and smut you’ve grown to love.”

    I hate to say it, but Tony has sort of become a taller, skinnier version of Zimmern, but without the guaranteed gross-out in every show. Zimmern still exudes a lot of wide-eyed enthusiasm, while Bourdain seems world-weary and tired most of the time. Not that I’m saying I prefer Zimmern. If it boils down to him being the last man standing, I still won’t watch him.

  13. cheray smith says:

    Catsworking…..first chance you get, go to NOLA! It’s a fabulous town and the food is to die for. The old French Quarter was not permanently damaged by Katrina. Carville refers to the crawfish bisque at “Commanders Palance” in his interview “literally might be the best thing I’ve ever tasted anywhere”. I was fortunate enough to eat there and everything was out of this world! Better than sex!

    I’d love to see Carville take Bourdain on a tour of his NOLA – their dialogue would be unforgetable!

  14. cheray smith says:

    My personal opinion only:

    Top Chef is old and tired and boring – I’d rather watch CD’s of old No Reservations.

  15. catsworking says:

    cheray, if Bourdain weren’t judging this season, I would not watch Top Chef at all. And his presence has hardly been enough to redeem it this season. Watching people cook under duress without learning anything from it, and then watching snobs eat and pick everything apart and then call the “guilty” chefs on the carpet is not my idea of entertainment.

  16. adele says:

    Karen, I read Interview With the Vampire, right after my first trip to NOLA, and I couldn’t get over the fact that many of the streets in the French Quarter had the same names in the 18th century as they do today. I was there three times for the Jazz and Heritage Festival (before the fest became the huge deal that it is now), and the food was great no matter where you went. I still remember my first night there, sitting in a bar on a corner of Bourbon and something, drinking really cold beer, peeling shrimp, and hearing different kinds of music coming from every direction. A magic moment.

    Re: AB and the Travel Channel, I do think that in the last couple of years, some of the NR episodes have been the best he’s done for various reasons — there was Rome, Venice, Sardinia (because of Ottavia and her familly) but also Liberia and Laos, beautifully shot and showing countries that I’ve never really seen. I think this season sounds really interesting as well, but again, not many vacation spots. It seems to me that when AB is really interested in a place, whether a vacation paradise or a global hot spot, all the world weariness falls away.

    Zimmern is in Chicago, tonight, and I’ll probably watch, just to see what kinds of creepy crawly delights I’ve been missing.

  17. cheray smith says:

    adele….Ohhhh how I remember the “humping beast”. And the cold beer, while listening to someone play Chuck Berry music way better than Chuck ever did. I’m getting the NOLA urge….wish I’d never started this!

    My all-time favourite NR episode is Laos – breathtakingly beautiful and Tony so touched by the plight of the poor family who welcomed him into their home. Also loved Sardinia…and Vietnam and India episodes. Oh hell, way too many to mention!

  18. melissa saner says:

    thanks for the welcome :)..yes it happens to best of us, the only reason i knew that is because I will be there and can’t wait to get out of this miserable Albany weather.

  19. MorganLF says:

    I once harbored a desire to see New Orleans, for a minute.

    The heat,the humidity, the skeeters, the decay, the humidity, decadence, and did I mention humidity? Do not appeal to me. NOT my sceene, in fact I have no desire to get ANYWHERE near Louisiana.
    Tuscany, Provence, Sardinia, Bruges, Edinburgh quite a different matter.

  20. MorganLF says:

    PS Agreed the current rotation of NR shows are a bore!! What about some of the early stuff please? Are they trying to sabbotage him with repating the same old shit, over and over?

  21. adele says:

    Morgan, NOLA isn’t terribly humid in the spring, and the skeeters aren’t a problem in the city proper. I love Tennessee Williams, so I was prepared for the decadence and embraced it.But your list sounds good as well; I’ve been in Tuscany and a little of Provence, and neither disappoints, I can assure you.

    Cheray, I’m jonesing for NOLA myself — have you seen Treme? It only increases the urge to go.

    Melissa, you lucky, lucky person. SoBe, especially at this time of year, sounds great. Do let us know about the festival.

  22. cheray smith says:

    adele….have not seen Treme….it’s on my bucket list for 2011. I agree about Fall in NOLA….I cannot stand hot, humid weather myself and would only go in Fall….I even took an enjoyable swamp tour (without heat, humidity or skeeters). I, too, loved Provence and Tuscany and have an overwhelming urge to visit the far east (thanks to Tony).

    I do not agree with South Beach….cannot stand Florida….(I usually get booed out of the room when I admit that). I would probably give Key West a try though.

  23. catsworking says:

    Melissa, I LOVE South Beach! Wish I could be there for the Food Festival. You are one lucky duck.

    Morgan, I’m with you on bugs and humidity, but I’d like to see NOLA anyway. All the places you mentioned would be great, too. Hell, it’s been over a YEAR since I’ve taken a vacation and anyplace outside Virginia looks good to me.

    I think Travel Channel is trying to drive Bourdain’s fans mad by replaying the same few episodes in a continuous loop, and they’re not even the best ones. I’m telling ya, they’re dissing him in a big way.

  24. cheray smith says:

    Unfortunately, we do not get the Travel Channel in Canada. We get NR through the Canadian Discovery Channel, always a year behind. Currently we are getting reruns of NR (some weeks) at 5:00 am – yes you read it right – A.M.

    What I do is download the new shows the day after they air in U.S. from an online Torrent source. I have also bought every set of DVD’s that have been released.

    I envy anyone who gets the Travel Channel – Canadian programming sucks!!!

  25. MorganLF says:

    Cheray, I would say you are a dedicated fan! I would like to see the New Zealand episode again only because he so narrowly escaped mayhem as well as the one where he jumped off a cliff.

    As for South Beach, feh. I spent New Years Eve there a while back. Even though I am a Deco fanatic there were too many homeless people, and it WAS hot.

    I remeber one frazzled father wrangling his kid out of a tourist reatauraunt yanking him by the arm and yelling ” stop crying we’re leaving here it’s too hot and everyone only speaks Spanish!!”:)

  26. C from FL says:

    Morgan, I am with you. I lived in S. Florida for 40 years so I remember South Beach (with all the little, Jewish, NY Grandmas sitting on porch rocking chairs) before it became “South Beach”. With all the hype about it being the destination for “beautiful people” the marketing ads don’t tell you about the heat, homelessness, crime, language barriers, traffic, crowded beaches and inflated prices. I am so thankful I was able to get out of S. Florida and move to a more civilized part of the state!

  27. catsworking says:

    OK, Morgan and C, you’ve got me on the heat and the Spanish. But I still like to visit South Beach. I never said I’d want to live there. My brushes with it have only been for a day or 2 at a time before or after a cruise. And I have stayed in some rat-hole hotels there. But I do like the vibe and the food and, of course, walking along Miami Beach. Compared to Virginia Beach, it’s heavenly.

  28. C from FL says:

    Mucho disculpas catsworking! I sure didn’t mean to burst your bubbles re: South Beach. It’s just that I have such sad memories of what happened in the 70’s with the Mariel boatlift etc. Castro was one smart empanada when he opened the jails and sent the criminals to S. Fla. The movie Scarface was NOT fiction to us who lived here. Know what you mean about that Latin “vibe”. I am married to a Colombiano and I am half Italian so our table is always interesting.

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