Catching Up with Bourdain

By Karen

It’s impossible to “catch up” with Anthony Bourdain anymore. He’s always going at full steam in a dozen directions, but these are some noteworthy developments I’ve been tracking.

We’re mid-season with Parts Unknown on CNN. I particularly enjoyed Miami. I’ve been there a few dozen times, and did a double-take upon seeing our paths virtually cross for a split second when he flashed the Colony Hotel’s Art Deco façade. I stayed there in October.

Back in Tony’s Travel Channel days, you’d never imagine him becoming comedy fodder for the likes of Billy Crystal. But a recent episode of The Comedians on FX began with a parody called Unknown Parts, with Crystal strolling around in a silver wig, and then tasting several courses of human testicles, which all caused him to projectile vomit onto his co-star.

And then Tony popped up on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in a shot of his younger self out in some wilderness, saying armadillo tastes like chicken.

Speaking of popping up, something that has pooped out is a fourth season of The Taste on ABC. Not even Bourdain’s Emmy nomination as best host could save it.

I’ve always said the premise of cramming one meal onto a spoon was ridiculous, and the dwindling audience apparently agreed. It was the culinary equivalent of Dancing with the Stars staging all routines in a phone booth, or forcing aspiring American Idols to sing into an empty mayonnaise jar instead of a mic.

If The Taste accomplished anything, it was to give Nigella Lawson refuge and camaraderie while she was going through a personal nightmare. And it spawned worldwide franchises that may very well keep it a nice income stream for years to come.

Coming up June 2, Bourdain will be inducted in the RealScreen Awards Hall of Fame in Santa Monica as Person of the Year. Parts Unknown is nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Reality Series, and Tony for Best Reality Series Host. A&E is supposed to broadcast the awards live May 31.

Boudain hits the road July 7 for a 10-city personal appearance tour called Close to the Bone. Unfortunately, he’s coming nowhere near these parts. (I’m waiting for Tony to get wind of Richmond’s growing reputation as the newest foodie utopia and drop by for a few bites.)

And then there’s literary Bourdain. Still no word on the novel, but October 20 he’s got a prequel to his graphic novel, Get Jiro!, coming out. It’s called, Get Jiro: Blood & Sushi.

In addition, he’s co-authoring with Lauri Woolover a new cookbook called Appetites to be published by Ecco imprint in fall 2016. It sounds more down-to-earth than the French recipes and techniques he covered in the Les Halles Cookbook.

Speaking of Les Halles (as in, the market in Paris), Bourdain’s vision of a vast American counterpart in New York City took another step toward reality, after many months of speculation.

Bourdain Market will reputedly occupy 100,000 square feet (double the size of Mario Batali’s Eataly) in a new facility being constructed in the Meatpacking District on the Upper West Side at West 15th Street, Pier 57, on the Hudson River.

Here’s an excerpt from the linked Commercial Observer article…

Stephen Werther, Mr. Bourdain’s business partner, said that the food hall will ‘include a farmers market with an oyster bar, bakery, tapas bar and much more,’ according to Eater. It will house 100 vendors – some permanent, some for a few weeks at a time – and will include a rooftop beer garden.

The new food court will cost between $20 million and $30 million to build, Eater indicated.

‘We will work with the tourism boards to create a complete experience of the place. Not just prepared food or packaged food but serving ware, cookware, cookbooks, cooking demos, everything to promote the area,’ Eater quotes Mr. Werther as saying.

It sounds like a place where you could easily lose yourself for a weekend.

And, finally, in spite of the utter contempt he’s always shown toward the James Beard Awards, Bourdain’s series, Mind of a Chef, won for Best On-Location Food Program for the 3rd straight year.

If there’s one thing nobody can ever accuse Anthony Bourdain of, it’s being lazy.

7 Responses to Catching Up with Bourdain

  1. teresa johnson says:

    “If there’s one thing nobody can ever accuse Anthony Bourdain of, it’s being lazy.”

    He seems propelled to acheive and make up for the down time of his decades ago drug use. Or maybe fame suits and inspires him. Either way I’m envious of his productivity and proud of his accomplishments.

  2. catsworking says:

    Teresa, I’ve lost track of the year I discovered Bourdain on Travel Channel, but it must have been early on. Almost nobody was paying attention to him. To watch him grow over the years into this worldwide celebrity has been amazing. Yet, he’s still the same approachable guy.

    Going from dishwasher to chef to artistic tycoon who will have his name on this international market in NYC that has the earmarks of becoming a must-see landmark like the Empire State Building or the Status of Liberty must have him pinching himself for a realty check most days.

    What I envy most about him is that he seems to have truly reached the point where he can work only on projects that interest him with people he respects, and tell everyone else to take a hike.

  3. FAW says:


  4. catsworking says:

    I either read it somewhere or he said in an interview that he’s on the road about 200 days a year. Occasionally, his family travels with him.

  5. MorganLF says:

    Well I’ve been to’s always busy, expensive and fun. Since the entire place (multi level and 50,000 sq, ft) has a liquor license you can walk in buy a $14 glass of wine ( the cheapest) stroll around buy a $40 bottle of EVOO and a $5 bag of pasta..and hope for a seat or wait to get seated In one of the themed restaurants. Very touristy…ALWAYS mobbed and pricey.

    I’m hoping Bourdains effort will be more wallet friendly. As he has said for years he wants to emulate Asian hawker stalls place where each vendor does one thing perfectly and cheaply . There already is a small one,Gotham market on the west side of NYC. Priced from moderate to expensive. Very fun good food of every stripe.. The ramen place is heaven.

    I think Tony’s idea will be a bigger venue. His concept of affordable food by vendors who specialize in one dish won’t work in NYC..the real estate is too expensive, but I hope he pulls it off! So I can come into the city and finally find proper bowl of PHO!!!

    Thanks Cats for keeping us informed. I can’t seem to find the CNN show its in direct conflict with other major series then when I try to retrieve the show on demand it ain’t there. CNN does not keep the show in rotation. The bastards!

    I miss my Tony.

  6. catsworking says:

    Hi, Morgan! Sunday night at 9 p.m. is a total TV clusterfuck, and Tony’s right in the thick of it, competing against The Good Wife, Masterpiece, whatever’s on HBO, which is always something good, at a minimum. My DVR chokes every Sunday night, but if I remember to catch it early, I tape Bourdain later in the week. Sometimes I don’t catch his episode until Wednesday night.

    I just got caught up with this season (except for the current New Jersey show) and I must say he’s in fine form. Loved Miami and Scotland. In Korea he was back in leather (I guess Ariane’s old enough to handle it now), although the cut of his latest jacket resembles a business suit, rather than biker wear. The quintessence of casual suave.

    Bourdain Market will have twice the square footage of Eataly, so maybe he’s thinking sales from everything else will carry the food stalls as loss leaders. I can’t see him signing on to serve $25 bowls of pho.

    I love that it’s going to be at the piers. I’ll book a cruise out of NYC just to make a side trip to Bourdain Market.

  7. MorganLF says:

    So just checked my on demand and gues who’s there? I am commencing to marathon my Bourdain starting, of course with NJ report more later. Power of the pen?

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