Bourdain’s Becoming King of the Foreword

November 22, 2010

By Karen

The remaining new episode of No Reservations Season 6, a holiday special, debuts on December 6 at 10 p.m. EST. Travel Channel’s site says…

Tony and Michael Ruhlman prepare a holiday dinner that goes awry. Celebrity chefs Mario Batali, David Chang and Duff Goldman are just a few of the special guests to also make an appearance.

Tony did a phone interview on Wednesday, November 10 with Besha Rodell, the Omnivore blogger at Creative Loafing Atlanta, before his November 20 appearance there. Nothing much new except that he suggests term limits for food writers.

Momnesia provides a succinct rundown of the highlights that night.

Bourdain contributed the foreword to Eric Ripert’s new book, Avec Eric, a companion travel/cookbook to Ripert’s PBS series that looks truly beautiful. And I found this Ripert video at Vanity Fair, which was shot partially at last year’s Cayman Cookout. Tony was nervous about helping to prepare the Gala Dinner. (Tony’s bit begins 6:30 in.) It may explain why he seems to be taking a pass on the kitchen work for the next one.

Tony blogged about his recent trip to Haiti as Hurricane Tomas approached. For me, this post felt like an amuse bouche of things to come with his writing.

Amazingly, some idiot commented that Tony’s blog posts scream “ghost writer.” I can’t think of many writers today whose voice is as distinctive and unmistakable in their work as Anthony Bourdain’s.

I’m hoping one day Bourdain will invent a fictional alter-ego, along the lines of Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden, to make use of as-yet-undocumented material from his many journeys.

Here’s a bit more on the DC Food Fight November 11. Bon Appetit Foodie is a much better photographer than I am, and she managed to meet just about everybody there.

It turns out Bourdain was in Nicaragua filming No Reservations recently, he revealed in an e-mail interview with the St. Petersburg Times before his November 19 appearance there. He also said that his appearance on Yo Gabba Gabba cured Ariane of her fear of doctors. (In case you missed it, he played a doctor.) This interview covers some new ground. For example, I had no idea Tony’s worried he may have pissed off Thomas Keller with Medium Raw.

The windows at Barney’s New York inspire shoppers to “Have a Foodie Holiday” with dolls of many culinary stars, including Bourdain. They coincided with the release of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook, for which Tony — you guessed it — wrote the foreword. WorldRedEye has a bunch of photos from the launch party.


Bourdain Sank My Bearnaise Debut

December 28, 2009

By Karen

I still don’t feel like a foodie, but Anthony Bourdain has been eating away at me like a Chinese water torture. It’s been impossible to watch and read as much of his work as I have and dodge osmosis. I’ve been letting certain things creep into my kitchen, like sea salt and peppercorns, udon and soba noodles, memmi, and real cranberries. In just 2 years, my cranberry relish from scratch has already become a Wormald Thanksgiving tradition.

Guided by Cats Working reader Adele, I’ve roasted a whole chicken stuffed with herbs and lemon, with butter rubbed under the skin. If you had any idea how upsetting I find headless, hollowed-out birds with bumpy yellow hides and their guts in a bag, you’d know what a milestone this was.

Just last night, I morphed disparate Christmas Eve leftovers into a delectable pizza.

Thanks to Tony, I’m getting culinarily creative and it’s working!

…So my mother made this roast beef for Christmas Day and was complaining that no grocery store stocked béarnaise sauce in a jar. With Bourdain-inspired bravado, I scoffed, “How hard can it be to make from scratch?”

I Googled some recipes, and they ran the gamut of complexity. But one labeled “Never-Fail” contained only butter, egg yolks, tarragon, a microwave, and a blender.

I figured I could make it in a pan over low heat and skip the blender cleanup.

I went to my parents’ house for dinner prepared to amaze them with my béarnaise — until I unwrapped the Christmas wish they’d fulfilled — Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. I immediately flipped to his béarnaise recipe on page 252 and made the mistake of reading this note from Tony aloud:

Note: Know this. If you haven’t made béarnaise from scratch before, you will surely fuck this sauce up.

The room was quiet until my mother finally mumbled, “That’s OK. Never mind. We don’t really need it,” and we ate the beef naked.

But I swear, Tony, I’m gonna do it — as many times as it takes to get it right. And I’m gonna try some other recipes from your book. When they film Karen & Tony, I want Julianne Moore to play a thinner, prettier, younger me and George Clooney to be you.


Yesterday, Tony wrote an Op-Ed piece called “Foodie Nation” for the New York Times. I think I smelled a whiff from his new book, Medium Raw.

Right after Morgan, Cindy and I met the Bourdains at the Capital Food Fight in mid-November, they were headed to Miami with Eric Ripert. Reader urbanjoanna found a few great pictures from their weekend in the sun. It’s the best photo of Ariane yet. At only 2 ½, she seems to be showing signs of Dad’s height.

Chowhound has Maine abuzz with rumors that Bourdain will be visiting Rockland in January to film No Res. Maine in January! What’s he thinking?

But at least on Friday, January 15, Tony will be basking in the sun at the (Grand) Cayman Cookout, giving a talk on Seven Mile Beach. Saturday evening he’ll be at Calico Jack’s, also on the beach, to man the grill with Eric Ripert for a barbecue. On Sunday he’ll help judge a cooking competition for local chefs, and that evening will pitch in to prepare a 7-course dinner with all the other celebrity chefs (last year he skipped that event). It’s already sold out.

And the honors just keep rolling in. has named No Reservations one of the top 10 reality-based TV series of the decade.

Only 2 weeks to go until Season 6 of No Reservations premiers on the Travel Channel January 11.

A Long-Lost Ottavia Bourdain Sighting

January 29, 2009

By Karen

Reader Bob provided a link to an interview Anthony Bourdain did with Adam Roberts that’s been out there for a while. Bourdain seemed quite drunk and pulled no punches in dissing the Food Network. But for all you Ottavia-watchers out there, the real action happens in the background. The top of Ottavia’s head bobs out of camera range right at the beginning, then she appears briefly a few more times in a strapless red dress.

I originally saw this clip uncensored, but the Food Network seems to have sanitized it across the Web because now I can’t find it anywhere without bleeps. However, there’s this translation of the bleeps, which is what I recall Bourdain saying.

And there’s finally a thorough first-hand account of the “Cook’s Tour of the Caymans” event at the Cayman Cookout on January 18 by Shinan Govani, complete with several pithy Bourdain quotes and a great photo of Tony with a new little friend.

Remember when the producers of No Reservations were all uptight about the blogosphere letting the cat out of the bag on the episode in the Philippines? Times have changed. NR fixer Louisa Chu has dished on every bite Bourdain put in his mouth while filming the new Chicago episode, which airs February 2.

I just checked on the status of my rendezvous with Bourdain in Durham on February 19, and there are no tickets available at any price. Tony’s sold out in North Carolina. Now I wish I’d bought a parking space in advance.

Bourdain Strikes Again – Watch Out, Alice Waters

January 22, 2009

By Karen

Talk about biting the hand that wines and dines you. Anthony Bourdain left the Grand Cayman Cookout this past weekend to fly to Washington, DC, on Inauguration Eve for a $500-a-plate celebration bash. The wine, Ponzi’s Arneis, was chosen by Alice Waters.

In a bit of exceptionally unfortunate timing, dclist released online earlier that day an interview Bourdain gave the previous week from home base in New York (thanks for the link, Cindy!). In it, Bourdain bashed Alice Waters:

“I’ll tell you. Alice Waters annoys the living shit out of me. We’re all in the middle of a recession, like we’re all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market. There’s something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic. I mean I’m not crazy about our obsession with corn or ethanol and all that, but I’m a little uncomfortable with legislating good eating habits.”

I’d never heard of Alice Waters, so I did a little digging and discovered this. It may be what set Tony off.

Interestingly, Tony and Alice both have New Jersey roots and started out specializing in French cooking. But that’s apparently where any similarity ends.

Bonus Links:

Warning: You won’t feel the love in this post by Zeitgeisty, who has done a complete 180 on Bourdain. But since his new idols are Andrew Zimmern and Adam Richman of Man vs. Food, you gotta wonder.

Bourdain’s (former?) buddy, Tom Colicchio, recently saved cookbook author and NY Times writer Joan Nathan with a timely Heimlich maneuver.

1/23/09 UPDATE: On that last item, get this. I just discovered that it was Alice Waters who noticed Joan Nathan choking and summoned Colicchio. Small world, huh?

A Bourdain Gallery

January 19, 2009

By Karen

After showing Zamir the frigid Rust Belt, Anthony Bourdain undoubtedly made the most of his weekend at the Cayman Cookout, where the festivities kicked off January 16 on beautiful, balmy Seven Mile Beach.

(Photo - Travel Channel)

(Photo - Travel Channel)

Tony’s event on Sunday afternoon was sold out. But when the guest chefs prepared a 7-course gala dinner for the attendees, I was surprised he wasn’t among them. He’s no shirker. Does he fear his kitchen skills are too rusty, after seeing buddy Eric Ripert tame the grill station at Les Halles?

Cats Working readers uncover Bourdain pics everywhere. The links are scattered throughout the comments, so I’m bringing some to the fore. Don’t want you to miss anything.

Bob provided a great peek into Tony’s youth, including the whole Bourdain family.

I found this interesting account of Bourdain in Seattle in June 2008. You’ve got to admire his ability to speak off the cuff to 1,400 people.

If you’re an author, Tony’s the man to write you a killer book blurb. That’s more than I can say for humorist Dave Barry, who pleaded being too famous and busy to blurb How to Work Like a CAT, even though it complements his own book, Claw Your Way to the Top.

Nickole found Ariane facing the camera for once, with Ottavia and proud papa Bourdain.

This album is huge, beautiful, and mostly irrelevant. I flipped through nearly 500 pics to find the best Bourdain. Here’s Ariane again on the left in a group shot, held by a stranger. What happened to Ottavia?

And a refreshing variation on “Tony posing with female fan” at the Florida Film Festival.

Tony with Ottavia on his left. Her hair looks a lighter and longer than usual.

And suave Tony — at a black-tie event in Charleston, South Carolina.

He’ll be in Santa Barbara, California, on February 27 to discuss Kitchen Confidential, which seems odd, since he’s written many other books since.

Top Chef must be feeling the absence of snark at the judges’ table in Season 5 because they added Toby Young to fill the void left by Bourdain — if he were short, bespectacled, bald, and British. Young seems to strain to be clever. He makes me wish for Tony to breeze through unannounced, lay a big wet one on Padma for shock value, drop a few verbal bombs, and leave Toby in his dust.

The Latest Tony (Bourdain) Tidbits

December 19, 2008

By Karen

Although she probably takes a pass on some of Anthony Bourdain’s exotic travels, I’m guessing Ottavia won’t miss a long weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman January 16-19, 2009, when Tony participates in the Cayman Cookout.

On the agenda is A Cook’s Tour of Cayman at Pedro St. James, with Tony himself presiding over an assortment of homegrown delicacies, local music, and crafts. Read all about it.

Top Chef is suffering from nice contestants, no back-stabbing, and ho-hum judges. Padma going bulimic into her napkin is a poor substitute for Tony’s trenchant, often hilarious, assessments of the food.

The Top Chef Web site recently ran a poll on the hottest guest judge. At last check, Bourdain was pulling 71% of the vote, with Rocco DiSpirito at only 13%, and Johnny Iuzzini 2%. Tom Colicchio himself got only 14%.

Disposable Income bemoans Bourdain’s absence, and I hope the blogosphere’s collective wail carries to the powers-that-be and Tony returns next season. We need something to live for.

Good recent photos of Tony at Clark Lara Photography.

Tony wrote about his favorite travel music for WorldHum. As I read it, I heard his voice in my head. He seems to be on the road alone a lot – good for fans, but hard on him.

Unfortunately, I’m not hearing Tony’s voice as I plow through The Best American Travel Writing 2008, which he edited and wrote the foreword to. I think he’s ruined me for other travel writers.

Finally, Cats Working reader Nickole provided this link to a video of Tony discussing fatherhood with Mario Batali at Serious Eats. He’s recycling some lines (like, his world is now all rainbows and unicorns), but reveals that he’s even embraced diaper-changing. I think Daddy’s Little Girl has him right where she wants him.

The drought is almost over: new episodes of No Reservations begin airing on the Travel Channel January 5.

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