Bourdain Moonlighting on MasterChef?

By Karen

This is confusing…

While Anthony Bourdain was at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in mid-May, Digital Spy reported that he and Marco Pierre White filmed guest spots on the Australian version of the amateur cooking competition, MasterChef. That show was inspired by Gordon Ramsay’s original show in the U.K. Ramsay also does an American version, and Season 2 happens to premiere tonight on Fox at 8 p.m. (ET).

Australia’s Herald Sun reported that Bourdain will appear as a “mentor” on a NYC episode of the Aussie MasterChef when they fly some contestants to the Big Apple for a week. No air date was given. 

Now back in November, Hollywood Reporter asked Bourdain his opinion of MasterChef and Tony called Ramsay’s U.S. version “dreadful,” citing Top Chef as the “benchmark” for assessing such shows.

Yikes! If any show where Padma Lakshmi’s “expert” opinion counts for anything is where Tony sets the bar, how could anyone else possibly crawl any lower?

Also while in Australia, Bourdain did a Quick Fire interview with Not Quite Nigella where he seems to be going off the idea of someday moving to Italy, and Ottavia apparently has a lot to do with that.

He also gave an extensive interview to SBSfood and rattled off a quick recipe for pork rillettes.

If you follow the Bourdains on Twitter, you probably know that on the evening of May 24, Ottavia worked on the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck parked at 17th St. and Broadway in NYC for a few hours to raise money for Doctors Without Borders (Tony promised to match whatever she raised), and Tony showed up before his book-signing at a nearby Barnes &Noble to watch his better half sling a few cones. has many video clips of the Q&A Tony did later at B&N.

Travel Channel posts video of Tony chatting with ZPZ producer Tracy Gudwin about flipping underwear in a pinch on the road. She’s the woman who had to have a leech pulled off her ass in Malaysia. ranked the top 25 Most Successful Chefs in America, and Bourdain made the list at No. 18, one notch above Emeril Lagasse. But from what I could gather from the story, this ranking was based on no facts and much wildly irrelevant conjecture (like the annual sales of Les Halles).

Eater continues to post scenes from Treme that Tony wrote. This one stars Eric Ripert.

Bourdain blogs on Inside Treme about the “real” Le Bernardin.

Art imitates life in Bourdain’s Treme connection. Janette, the character he’s writing for, will be working in a NYC David Chang-inspired restaurant called Lucky Peach, which is the name of Chang’s new real-life magazine.


21 Responses to Bourdain Moonlighting on MasterChef?

  1. zappa says:

    I must admit that I am rather charmed by Gordon Ramsey.Kitchen Nightmares is one of my favorite shows-both UK and US versions.What exactly is Master Chef? I watched a moment or two,but Im confused.Is there a prize involved? What become of last year’s winner?


  2. catsworking says:

    ZM, I’ve never seen MasterChef, and the website is so uninformative, you’d think they use the same designers as Travel Channel. What I gather is that “normal” people compete. I don’t know what the prize is, nor what happens to them after that.

  3. FoodCritic says:

    Umm…..just for clarification- Masterchef wasn’t created by Gordon….he only does the US version. Masterchef has been running in the UK for ages now. Masterchef US(and Gordon with Fox) only came to America after the Australian version was created a few years ago.

    The Australian version is way better than the US version and I’m from the US, so no bias here.

  4. FoodCritic says:

    Oh and I did see the episode last night with Marco and the team winners of that challenge will get to spend some time with Bourdain while he’s in Sydney in the next episode.

  5. catsworking says:

    FoodCritic, welcome and thanks very much for the clarification. There were so many versions of MasterChef out there, I found it virtually impossible to trace it, and the official website was not helpful.

    I haven’t seen any episodes of the show. Please check back in and let us know if anything noteworthy happens in the Bourdain/Sydney episode.

  6. FoodCritic says:

    Basically what happens when the winners of a team challenge get to hang out with somebody noteworthy, it usually like this:

    -Master Class, meaning, they go to a really good restaurant and learn techniques from very good chef. Savory or pastries.

    -Eating lunch at a top restaurant in Australia with the team.

    -Celebrity chefs, usually they hang out and just talk about stuff and eat at a restaurant. Thomas Keller was on Masterchef Australia earlier in the season and more recently, David Chang. Keller was in Aus for a charity benefit and David Chang is opening a restaurant. Most of the time they are chefs from Aus, but there are some that come over from the UK and Singapore. The second biggest guy from the UK that’s been on the show has been Heston Blumenthal.

  7. FoodCritic says:

    Ok, so the episode with Bourdain in Australia went like this:

    Winning team had freshly shucked oysters and some Balmain bugs(a type of lobster that lives in Aus) with Tony. They then went to a pub and had some beer, then went back to Matt Moran’s restaurant to make some pavlovas.

    They had a preview for the end of the week…..they’re off to NY for a bit(they always travel places once each year on Masterchef AU). They were getting culinary inspiration on the streets of NY. I saw them eating some dirty water hot dogs, going into Katz’s as well as seeing Eric Ripert as a judge for a challenge. Should be fun.

  8. catsworking says:

    FoodCritic, thanks for the update! Bourdain drinking beer and eating seafood — sounds like business as usual. I thought I read that he was going to serve as these contestants’ “mentor” at some point, maybe while they’re in NY, but I could be wrong.

  9. FoodCritic says:

    Well, he could very well be in any of the NY episodes since they’ll probably be showing 5 that are in NY. A new clip had Marcus Samuelsson in there, so I’m pretty sure that they’ll be showing a lot of high profile chefs that are based in NY for sure.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if David Chang showed up again(would be good for his restaurant in AU) and maybe some others like April Bloomfield, Mario Batali, etc…

  10. catsworking says:

    FoodCritic, if Bourdain has any input into it, you’ll probably see his NYC “mirepoix” — Chang, Colicchio, and Ripert.

  11. FoodCritic says:

    Ok. First NY episode had Bourdain visit the Masterchef house and surprise the remaining few contestants that they were going to NYC. They then had to create a dish based on their brief culinary inspirations when they went around NYC that day and Eric Ripert was a guest judge. They didn’t show any other NY chef in the preview for the next episode.

  12. FoodCritic says:

    Forgot to say that Marcus Samuelsson made a cameo for about 30 seconds in the1st NY episode. No ‘celeb chefs’ in the 2nd NY episode. 3rd NY episode had a winning contestant face off against Cesare Casella and the 4th NY episode was previewed and had David Chang with other high-profile chefs not specifically named.

  13. catsworking says:

    FoodCritic, thanks for the updates. I must confess I haven’t heard of most of the chefs you’re naming, but I’m not into the NYC food scene beyond Bourdain’s usual peeps. At least MasterChef doesn’t sound totall inbred, which has become sort a problem with many of the American shows of this nature.

  14. FodCritic says:

    I’ve said it since Masterchef AU first aired…best reality-based cooking competition show there is that I’ve seen in the UK, US, Aus, NZ(They also have a Masterchef, but its pretty low-budget). The main thing that helps it so much is that it’s 83 episodes, airs every day except for 1 day a week and it’s definitely not dumbed down like every other US version of a UK show(or most reality cooking shows)-which I think is sad.

    Next episode of Masterchef AU is going to be in Harlem and strictly a soul food challenge. No celeb chefs named or shown.

  15. catsworking says:

    EVERY DAY!!! Holy crap. Those poor chefs.

    Question: Do the hosts force the chefs to work under ridiculous diadvantages, like taking away all their knives or other utensils, or are they just allowed to cook as well as they can without gimmicks?

  16. FoodCritic says:

    There are no stupid gimmicks like on TC with no utensils, and all of that. It’s pretty much straight up cooking and that’s why I like it so much. I haven’t been able to really watch TC after season 3.

    So, last episode recap had Daniel Boulud and several other Michelin starred chefs.

    As for any other super well-known celeb chefs in the remaining NY episode….none were shown and it doesn’t look like Ramsay will be even on the show.

    BUT…..the guest at the end of the week(back in AU) is more famous than any in any cooking competition history.

    A vegetarian challenge for….

    THE Dalai Lama.

  17. catsworking says:

    Now, THAT sounds interesting. I sure wish Tom Collichio were reading this and taking notes…

  18. FoodCritic says:

    Can’t do it. GE, Diet Coke(and all other product placement) have overrun brain synapses…..

  19. catsworking says:

    Ha, ha! We’re all waiting to see which conglomerate finally pops Bourdain’s endorsement cherry. He was shilling for the Chase Sapphire credit card briefly, but that was a deal between Travel Channel and Chase and they drafted him and their other hosts to participate.

  20. FoodCritic says:

    Last NY episode had Daniel Boulud, no other appearances by Bourdain and no Ramsay(thank goodness)…I say that because the US version is just so bad that I think had Ramsay been on the AU version, it would have tainted it for sure.

  21. catsworking says:

    Do the chefs have to cook something for most, if not all, of the 83 episodes? And they’re all amateurs? I don’t think I could come up with that many different dishes in a lifetime. How fancy does the cooking get?

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