Trying to Keep Up with Bourdain

By Karen

After so many years of following him as relatively obscure, niche cable star, with Cats Working the worldwide destination for the scoop long before he became a fixture at Eater and Grub Street, it’s gratifying to see Anthony Bourdain finally reach critical mass. Lately, it seems, you can’t swing a cat without hitting him.

I must be recovering from my Bourdain overload, because I must confess that all his new endeavors are piquing my curiosity like a fresh catnip mouse.

Once again, Travel Channel has suspended No Reservations in mid-season, but Tony’s kept himself busy shooting The Layover (in Paris and Dublin he’s tweeted — Yes!!) and making the media rounds to talk up his new shows on CNN and ABC (both of which are still unnamed) and his upcoming graphic novel, Get Jiro!, in general release July 3.

Before I again make the mistake of letting some good links stack up and go stale, here are my latest for whatever Bourdainiac readers I have left…

Tony wrote an extremely uncharacteristic and personal guest blog for Bon Appetit about his father’s influence on him. Pierre Bourdain died of a heart attack at age 57 (Tony will be 56 on June 25). It’s illustrated by many new-to-us childhood photos, courtesy of Tony’s mother Gladys.

Bloody Elbow got a lengthy interview with Tony and Ottavia, published as part 1 and part 2. We learn that one of Ottavia’s favorite snacks is tuna packed in oil with pickled onions. Lupetto the cat probably can’t begin to compete with her tuna breath.

Tony reveals in this interview that he and I basically agree on NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to ban enormous sodas, and for the same reasons.

Tony did a personal appearance on June 9 in Brooklyn, and Food Republic captured the highlights. I learned that Paula Deen’s also a shill for Serta mattresses. Who knew, and why? Maybe they lured her in with their “soy-infused poly foam core,” which sounds like a concoction from Top Chef.

In case you missed Tony talking to Jimmy Fallon on June 8, here’s the video. Fallon completely overlooked the latest-breaking news that day, which was Bourdain’s ABC show with Nigella Lawson, and Tony didn’t bring it up.

And last, Tony talked to the NY Times about his gigs on CNN and ABC and publication of the graphic novel all hitting at the same time.

14 Responses to Trying to Keep Up with Bourdain

  1. Bacardi1 says:

    Wow!!!! Can’t thank you enough for all the links (even the Fallon one – lol!). The Bon Appetit piece was particularly nice. The only one I’d already seen/read was the New York Times’ article.

    Again, many thanks for keeping Bourdain fans up to date. 😉

  2. catsworking says:

    You’re welcome, Bacardi. There’s nothing here anybody who hangs on the Bourdains’ every tweet hasn’t already seen, because they’ve both become slick self-promoters, but for those among us who have a life, I just follow my Google alerts and cherry-pick what’s worth passing along. 😉

    Bourdain has somehow managed to revive my interest with all his new endeavors (except that book deal with Marilyn Hagerty — as a writer who’s been at it since 1983 without catching a decent break, I’m still asking God, “Why HER???!!”).

    I hope that working for different cruel masters will help him diversify, because there isn’t much we haven’t already seen him eat.

  3. Bacardi1 says:

    Well, as someone who is strongly & severely ANTI-Tweet/Facebook/Yadayadayada, I probably appreciate the links more than most.

    And apparently I’m woefully ignorant of Marilyn Hagerty & why Bourdain would want to collaborate with her. Just did a websearch & am still scratching my head as to why/how she has any redeeming qualities except as a small-time food writer.

  4. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, a book about the dining scene of Grand Forks, North Dakota, over the last 30 years would seem to have limited appeal. And it’s unclear if Hagerty is going to actively participate in producing the book, or if Bourdain will just sift through her body of work and pick the columns he wants to publish. I saw somewhere they’re thinking it will be around 50 pieces.

    And it was her recent review of the new Olive Garden in town that got his attention. Then he went on the road and told an audience he’d like to burn Olive Garden down. I hope that’s not his frame of mind when he starts editing her book.

    I don’t think any of the books Bourdain has selected for his Ecco imprint have gone to market yet, but I haven’t seen one title yet I’d read. When I got snookered by his over-the-top praise of Blood, Bones & Butter, I thought, “Fool me once…”

    It’s going to be very interesting to see how much mileage his imprint books get from the strength of Bourdain’s endorsement. Will foodies want the MMA books, and vice versa, just because Tony says they’re all good? I don’t see it happening.

  5. adele says:

    I missed Jimmy Fallon (as I often do), and I must say, Get Jiro, comics not being my cup of tea, was not something I planned to read, but I’m now thinking it might be kind of funny in a very violent way. Good to see the clip.

    The Bon Apetit piece was touching, and the family photos were great. What an impressive head of hair young Anthony had! Of course he continues to be blessed with great hair, and between him and Ottavia, Ariane should win the hair jackpot.

    One thing about AB, he knows how good he’s got it and really appreciates all of the opportunities that have come his way since age 44. I’m hoping that he and Nigella do an interview together about the ABC show; it will be interesting to see how they play off of each other.

    And Karen, I’m with you on Marilyn Hagerty — I wonder if that book will ever happen. Her unfoodie defense of Olive Garden must have inspired Tony to view her as a no-nonsense bastion of Midwestern integrity, but I read the Olive Garden piece and some stuff about her trip to New York, and IMHO, she’s just not that good a writer.

  6. Bacardi1 says:

    Thanks for the heads up re: “Blood, Bones & Butter”. I was gifted with a copy for my birthday a few months ago, but have yet to dip into it. From past snippets about her, I’m not a big fan of Gabrielle &/or her outlook on life, but I’ll take all that with a grain of salt once I start reading.

    As for “Get Jiro”, not being a comic book fan – albeit a Bourdain fan – I’ll still have to think on that one.

  7. catsworking says:

    Well, I have pre-ordered my copy of Get Jiro! from Amazon. Violent comics aren’t my thing either, but I’m counting on some classic Bourdain snarky humor, along the lines of those cartoons he did for the Web. Remember those? I have read an advance review or two of Jiro and they weren’t raves, but I’m willing to give it a chance.

    Adele, I’m looking at the picture I had taken with Tony in Durham back in 2008 or 9? Can’t remember the year! Anyway, it was before he discovered hair gel. His hair looked so much fuller and even distinguished. If he’s using the gel now because he thinks it’s thinning, he’s defeating the purpose because greasy-looking spikes only make it look sparser.

    Bacardi, by the time I got to the end of BB&B, I wanted something bad to happen to Gabrielle Hamilton. Such an ungrateful, whiny bitch. Maybe she’s a great chef, but as a human being she leaves a lot to be desired. She was blessed to find a man willing to put up with her bullshit.

    I’m sure once both his TV shows get names, Tony will be making the rounds again to talk them up, and joint interviews with Nigella will be plentiful.

  8. adele says:

    When Tony was on Jimmy Fallon, I thought his hair looked great — btw, I think it was early ’09 when you were in Durham .. tempus fugit, huh? But he’s certainly over-gelled in many pics.

    Bacardi, I found some of Gabrielle Hamilton’s writing really evocative — her descriptions of childhood feasts and of her in-law’s house in Italy, but while I think she might write a great article on a specific subject, she had no ability to self-edit. And by that I mean both she doesn’t realize when her writing is overly florid and less would be more, AND since she has two sons, who will read one day, I felt that her discussion of her marriage and her husband was at times in bad taste.There are parts of the book I’d give 3 stars, but overall, I’d give it a weak two.

  9. Bacardi1 says:

    Thanks for your input. I’ll make a note to let you know what I think after I read it. If you’re interested – lol!

  10. Bacardi1 says:

    Oh, I have to add that I remember the “No Reservations” episode where Tony & other chefs dined after hours at Gabrielle’s restaurant “Prune”. While I applaud her keeping things simple & to the roots (the fresh radishes with softened butter & sea salt, the marrow bones served with spoons, etc.), I can’t say it looked as orgasmic as the participants seemed to think. But, as I always say – Food is – & should always be – a matter of personal taste.

  11. Zappa's Mom says:

    Will “The Layover” be continuing? I’ve been enjoying that more than NR

  12. catsworking says:

    The thought of radishes, fresh or otherwise, and butter leaves me cold, but that’s probably because Weight Watchers punishes you severely with points for butter on anything.

    ZM, yes, The Layover is filming one more season before Tony moves on to CNN. And since they know he’ll be going, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Travel Channel dole out the new episodes one every couple of months.

    I am in a very bitter mood since Showtime just wrapped up the seasons of The Big C, Nurse Jackie, and The Borgias with only 10 episodes each, and now they’re all over. It’s going to seem eternity before Homeland and Episodes start their new seasons later this summer.

    And short-sighted TV execs wonder why the Net, with oddles of fresh content EVERY DAY, is a threat to them.

  13. MorganLF says:

    Thanks for the update. I particularly liked The Bon Appetit blog. I’ve seen versions but this was a sweet reminiscence. Boy having a kid sure changed him, but did it? He was never a venomous tool, unless provoked.

    On another topic.. What about the Sandusky verdict? Did I not predict he abused his own adopted children? Sure there is more to come on that front.

    Wonder how long he’ll make it in prison, you know child molesters are soo well received.

  14. catsworking says:

    Hey, Morgan, They’re talking about appealing Sandusky’s case, but how crazy is that? This time the presecution can just trot out the adopted son and it’s Bob’s your uncle.

    Sandusky is toast. I think I heard that he’s facing a sentence of 400+ years. That’s a long time to be the love muffin of his new cellmate, Bubba.

    And George Zimmerman’s future isn’t looking too rosy either. Today they played some recordings of Zimmerman yelling “Help” to demonstrate how he did it while his head was allegedly being repeatedly smashed into the pavement by Trayvon Martin, and the original 911 tape of the authentic, terrified screams.

    Zimmy didn’t do himself any favors.

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