Final Bourdain “Parts Unknown” Season to Omit One Episode

August 3, 2018

By Karen

CNN has announced they and Anthony Bourdain’s production company, Zero Point Zero, are putting together a seven-episode final season (12) of Parts Unknown, to begin airing sometime this fall. Only one episode was completed with Tony’s voiceover, and he filmed it in Kenya with W. Kamau Bell, who hosts United Shades of America, also on CNN.

The other locales are Texas, New York, Indonesia, Mexico and Spain. They will include Tony’s voice caught as he was filming, with any gaps filled in by crew from the shoots.

The finale will be two hours long, with one hour a peek behind the scenes with the ZPZ crew, and the final hour a collection of past guests and fans discussing their relationships with and feelings about Bourdain and how he affected them and the world.

What’s missing from this lineup is the episode Bourdain completed filming in late May, the week before he traveled to France and died there on June 8.

That episode is Florence, Italy. Here’s the now-infamous black-and-white photo of Bourdain and his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, Asia Argento, sitting on a bench at the end of filming. [Note: Cats Working no longer publishes photos of Argento.]

Argento recently posted a photo of herself in a car with Tony, holding an umbrella against the sun, the last weekend of the Florence shoot.

The following weekend, Argento would be photographed in Rome by two paparazzi in the company of a 28-year-old journalist named Hugo Clement.

This “lost” Florence episode raises yet another question related to Tony’s death…

Did CNN and ZPZ scrap Florence to keep Asia out, or for some reason related to Bourdain? (I’d understand that it might be upsetting for ZPZ to deal with that footage, now knowing what Bourdain was going to face a week later.)

We may never know. Personally, I agree with CNN-ZPZ’s decision on every level.

AND: Here’s a bit more on the upcoming Bourdain biography

USA Today reported that the bio by Laurie Woolever, Bourdain’s long-time assistant and co-author of Appetites: A Cookbook, will be titled, Bourdain: The Oral Biography and released in fall 2019 by Ecco. The book will consist of interviews, according to a quote from Woolever’s statement…

“After working with and collaborating with Tony since 2004, I’m honored to now be working with his estate, and talking to the people who knew him best, in order to share the story of a life that influenced so many people, in so many ways, all across the globe”

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Some News from the Post-Bourdain World

June 23, 2018

By Karen

It’s now been two weeks since Anthony Bourdain’s June 8 suicide in Kaysersberg, France. He was found hanging in his hotel bathroom by the belt from his robe, and reports now say that he was discovered by the hotel receptionist, not friend Eric Ripert.

The French authorities who investigated found no suspicious circumstances around his death, so the only testing they apparently did was to collect blood and urine samples for a toxicology report, whose results were announced yesterday.

Reuters quoted prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny as concluding…

“No trace of narcotics, no trace of any toxic products, no trace of medicines, no trace of alcohol.”

REUTERS UPDATE JUNE 22: Reuters revised their story to say that a trace of alcohol WAS found, according to the prosecutor, who apparently doesn’t speak fluent English or doesn’t know how to read a tox report…

“‘No trace of narcotics. No trace of any toxic products. Trace of medicines in therapeutic dose. Trace of alcohol,’ he said, listing the findings of the investigation.”

This is what the prosecutor told the New York Times News Service, neglecting to mention the alcohol…

“There were none, save for the trace of a nonnarcotic medicine in a therapeutic dose, Christian de Rocquigny, the local prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said in a text message to The New York Times.”

I remember Tony once saying that he took a statin for his cholesterol. Perhaps that’s what the trace of therapeutic medicine was.

What we now know from this is that Tony’s thought process was not impaired by any substance when he decided to end his life. Exactly what his thoughts were, we’ll never know.

Tony’s brother Chris received on June 15 Tony’s ashes and all of the belongings he had with him in France — this presumably included his electronic devices.

If one of Tony’s last acts wasn’t to erase the history on his devices, Chris may hold the key to whomever Tony last communicated with and whatever writing he may have left behind.

In the New York Times story, Tony’s mother Gladys said she was no fan of Tony’s tattoos, but she plans to have his tattoo artist put her son’s name on her wrist as a personal memorial.

Asia Argento’s behavior on social media has swung between melancholy and defiance. Page Six provided a run-down. She’s working as a judge on X Factor for Sky Italia, filming in Turin.

With input from the family, Chris is arranging a small private service for Tony. No public memorial is planned, but I’ve seen these stories of memorials popping up around the country.

Food & Wine reported…

“New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty of Camden proposed an official Anthony Bourdain Food Trail, which would be established by the Division of Travel and Tourism. In a decision that would seemingly make such a trail authentic to Bourdain’s own wishes, the proposed route would encompass the ten spots he visited during his “New Jersey” episode of Parts Unknown that aired as part of Season 5 of the series back on May 31, 2015.”

Brother Chris accompanied Tony for that episode.

Artists are busy creating murals, such as…

Marcus Zotter in Naples, Florida.

Nathan Lyle and Brandon Barnhart in Pensacola, Florida.

Jonas Never in Santa Monica, California.

Posthumously, Bourdain has been nominated for a TV Critics Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information. The awards ceremony is August 4, and here’s who Tony is competing against. He’s swinging against some heavy hitters…

  • “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” – CNN
  • “60 Minutes” – CBS
  • “Blue Planet 2” – BBC America
  • “The Rachel Maddow Show” – MSNBC
  • “The Vietnam War” – PBS
  • “Wild Wild Country” – Netflix

Eater has a preview of the Season 11 Parts Unknown finale in Bhutan. Warning: The opening of the clip is disturbing. And filmmaker Darren Aronofsky wrote about traveling with Tony to Madagascar several years ago, and also tagging along for this shoot in Bhutan.

PS: Tony’s birthday is Monday, June 25. He would have been 62 years old.


In Shock: Anthony Bourdain Dead

June 8, 2018

By Karen

I JUST heard this two minutes ago on Morning Joe, words I never expected to write: Anthony Bourdain has apparently committed suicide.

According to CNN, he was in France filming an episode of Parts Unknown with his best friend, Eric Ripert. It was Ripert who found Bourdain in his hotel room, unresponsive.

No other details seem available right now, but they will surely come out.

The question all of us who have followed Tony over the years, even back when he personally monitored every mention of himself on the ‘net and discovered Cats Working, are asking is:

WHY? WHY? WHY?

I’m posting this immediately so any Bourdainiacs who are still reading this blog may have a place to comment and discuss this tragic turn of events.

As for myself, I sit here sweating, with chills, on the verge of tears, thinking of Ariane and Ottavia, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that the world suddenly has this big, premature Bourdain-shaped hole in it.

I don’t have the words. I’ve continued to follow him and have some thoughts about things I’ve seen or read recently, but they can wait. This is a day to grieve.


Bourdain Slurps Noodles with Obama

September 23, 2016

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s CNN series Parts Unknown is worth watching Sunday, September 25, 9 p.m. ET. He’s in Hanoi, Vietnam, and shares noodles and beer with President Obama in a small local joint.

Obama’s approval rating is at about 58%, so having a beer with a popular guy like Bourdain can only reflect well on Hillary. In fact, it’s a shame it’s not Hillary.

The intended contrast with Donald Trump is unmistakable. Not only would Trump never be caught dead in such humble surroundings, but you know he can’t use chopsticks and he’s incapable of small talk.

Luckily for Bourdain, Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt immediately eclipsed the Bourdain breakup announcement. The Bourdains can’t hope to have drama that remotely compares to allegations of Pitt being a substance- and child-abuser.

Today I read this Washington Post article where Tony mentions being in London during the Brexit vote (Parts Unknown to air Oct. 23) and did a double-take at the undated CNN photo of Nigella Lawson making Tony breakfast in her home.

Breakfast?!

As I’ve pondered Bourdain’s post-Ottavia life, the woman who sprang to mind as his next potential companion was Nigella. They’ve known each other for years, and he was there for her when her marriage fell apart while they were filming The Taste together.

I am absolutely NOT implying any illicit behavior, but if Tony does end up on his own, he could do a lot worse than Nigella. In fact, he DID do a lot worse before he met Ottavia.

On Parts Unknown last season, Bourdain wore no wedding ring. I should have mentioned months ago that it was his best ever, winning his 4th straight Outstanding Series Emmy. I’ve forgotten details, but every episode touched me in some way — tears, laughter, sheer wonder at the amazing cinematography.

Ottavia published an article in August on Lena Dunham’s site Lenny about how she got into MMA. Her byline included her maiden name and mentioned only her daughter, as if she’s a single mother.

So hints about the breakup were out there, even before the big announcement.

Bourdain has a new home-cooking book coming out on October 25 called Appetites. And he revealed in a recent interview with Uproxx that he’s about to start another book. I wonder what happened to the novel he’s been working on for years?

BONUS: Bourdain’s Russian sidekick Zamir Gotta has permanently defected to Buffalo, New York, to launch Zamir Vodka. And Trump’s worried about Mexicans.

DOUBLE BONUS: Here’s Bourdain’s latest episode of Raw Craft, a series he does for Balvenie Distillery featuring expert craftspeople. This one is in North Carolina with a pearl-wearing metalsmith named Elizabeth Brim.


Bourdain the Ubiquitous

December 17, 2013

By Karen

In late October, I traveled to Lisbon to make a 13-day transatlantic crossing to Miami on Royal Caribbean’s ship, Vision of the Seas. My plan was to get away from it ALL — job, litterboxes, useless Congress (and Obama), never-ending disasters, premature Christmas (that one didn’t work out at all, the Caribbean was already decorated). I just wanted to reboot.

But one thing I couldn’t leave behind — Anthony Bourdain. He was EVERYWHERE.

Not that I complain. Long-time readers know Cats Working has a history with Tony & Assoc. And other travelers with only a passing interest wouldn’t have even noticed how he dogged their every step (through no fault of his own, I must add — he has people for that now).

Bourdain has certainly hit critical mass, and then some. The Richmond, Newark, Miami, and Atlanta airports all had their big-screen TVs tuned to CNN.

They might as well have been showing the Cartoon Network, but let me not digress.

During every commercial break (they’re numerous) were Parts Unknown commercials and outtakes, especially for the season finale in Detroit.

In United’s and Delta’s in-flight magazines, I found his caricature and mentions in several places.

I caught him on TV at my hotel in Lisbon.

In my cabin on the ship, in mid-freaking-ocean, I channel-surfed to a rerun of No Res on ship’s TV where he visited St. Vincent and Bequia in the Grenadines. This struck me as ironic, since Bourdain expresses only disdain for cruise travel.

So, I tell people I took this vacation alone, but Bourdain might as well have been in my suitcase.

In other news…

Thanks to my new DVR, I’ve been collecting all of A Cook’s Tour and I’m closing in on the last episode I need, “My Life as a Cook.” Sitting on the DVR yet to be watched is Tony’s first episode ever, “A Taste of Tokyo.”

I’m actually enjoying A Cook’s Tour more than Parts Unknown because it’s pre-jaded Tony. At times, he reacts to strange dishes like Andrew Zimmern used to, before Zimmern anointed himself mini-Bourdain.

Today, there seems to be nothing revolting enough to make Tony turn a hair. The thrill is gone.

If you follow Tony on Twitter, you know he’s taken up Brazilian jiu jitsu with his wife and daughter, and recently earned his first stripe on his white belt.

Personally, if I had a husband, and he were on the cusp of geezerhood, and he told me he was taking up wrestling, I’d brain him with a skillet.

In case you’re interested, Gothamist did a nice job of covering some new ground with Tony and his relationship with movies, before he appeared on Dec. 11 with filmmaker Albert Maysles at the Society for Ethical Culture in NYC.

And mark your calendar. Season 2 of Tony’s cooking competition, The Taste, begins Jan. 2. Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre are back, and they’ve replaced Brian Malarkey with Marcus Samuelsson as a judge.

I’m just relieved they didn’t recruit that bald bastard from Master Chef, so I’ll check it out, with fingers crossed that it’s improved.


It’s Bourdain Season Again

September 13, 2013

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s back from an extended vacation in the Hamptons, and he describes beautifully for CNN how he goes “Full Metal Ina.” Who wouldn’t want to spend a month at the beach with a guy who does all the cooking? Lucky Ottavia!

Today, David Chang’s magazine Lucky Peach should be on newsstands with a new Bourdain short story.

And on Sunday, Parts Unknown Season 2 begins with Tony visiting the West Bank and Gaza in Israel. Another episode this season that I’m particularly excited about is Copenhagen. (Oh great. Now I’ve done it. I’ve got Danny Kaye singing in my head and he won’t stop!)

BONUSES…

Tony recently did an interview with Forbes about Parts Unknown.

The day after he returned from vacation, he did this 47-minute audio interview with Opie & Anthony on Sirius…


Bravo, Bourdain!

July 26, 2013

By Karen

I’ve been engrossed in a Dexter catch-up marathon, so I was watching people getting hacked to bits in the hours leading up to Anthony Bourdain’s debut as a talk show host, subbing for Piers Morgan.

Yet I was feeling a weird, elated anticipation at seeing Tony take on a new venue.

I don’t watch Morgan, and I was surprised to see a studio audience. But Tony’s personal appearance experience served him well and he didn’t let all those eyes in such close proximity rattle him. OK, his teleprompter reading seemed a tad stiff, but that’s a skill he’s never needed much.

I think I detected some underlying nervousness, and it was gratifying to watch him power through it.

First guests were David Carr from the New York Times and David Simon, whom Tony introduced only as creator of The Wire. Then I think he mumbled Simon was his boss on Treme, and Simon added he was Tony’s boss “too briefly.”

Somebody, tell me. Has the Treme gig ended? I don’t get HBO.

As they discussed legalizing drugs, I really appreciated Bourdain’s uncanny ability to know when to shut up and just listen.

He’s the Anti-Lauer.

Next topic was the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden. Tony neatly tied it to travel by asking, “Where would you rather spend the rest of your life? Venezuela or Russia?”

Simon said he’d never been to either country, so Tony offered, “Venezuela. You’ll eat much better there.”

That segment seemed a little uptight, with Tony reading pre-written questions, but at least he got the hard part out of the way first.

Then on came Tony’s besties, chefs Mario Batali and Eric Ripert. You could almost feel the room thaw.

I thought their assessment of whether the “hostile work environment” Paula Deen allegedly created in her restaurants was any worse than Gordon Ramsay’s behavior toward his staffs on TV (complete with video clip) took an excellent slant on that story.

Tony was totally in his element now, with no cue cards needed.

They also discussed Justin Bieber’s recent peeing into a restaurant kitchen mop bucket that had Tony up in arms on Twitter. Batali said he would “kick (Bieber’s) ass,” and Ripert pronounced it “drunk and stupid.”

Then they had a negroni, a concoction of Bombay gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Sounds disgusting to me, but I think of gin as liquefied Christmas tree.

Unfortunately, Batali and Ripert weren’t invited to the great cronut tasting. Tony brought out some guy from Grub Street and the cronut’s inventor, Dominique Ansel.

The audience got to taste a cronut and a DKA.

(Just Googled DKA. It’s “Dominique’s Kouign Amann,” a version of a Breton pastry that’s sort of a caramelized croissant. And Ansel’s website text has so many embarrassing mechanical errors, it SCREAMS for my day-job proofreading services.)

But anyway, Tony, who’s on record for hating sweets, had never tasted a cronut. He LOVED it, and the DKA. The audience was split, so no clear preference was established.

I’ve been thinking writing is his only fall-back for later career, but now I can see Bourdain hosting a talk show about travel and food (in that order). But not like The Chew. More sophisticated, geared to well-traveled viewers.

He’s got a quick, dry wit, and you never know what’s coming out of his mouth next. And he can harness the profanity. I don’t think he had to be bleeped once. He’s also got the inventiveness to take a done-to-death story like Paula Deen and turn it on its ear. Not to mention he’s not exactly hard on the eyes.

Bourdain, congratulations! Cats Working gives you 12 paws up. You hit this one out of the park, and we hope more opportunities like it start rolling in.


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