A Bourdain Catch-Up Marathon

February 16, 2012

By Karen

I’ve got a pile of Bourdainia stacked up, so let’s sift through and see what’s worth sharing…

Travel Channel just announced No Reservations Season 8 (yes, 8 – TC apparently forgot they tried to fob S7 off on us as two distinctly separate events) begins on Ariane’s 5th birthday, April 9.

Destinations include:

  • Austin, TX
  • Baja, Mexico
  • Burgundy region of France
  • Croatian coast
  • Emilia–Romagna region of Northern Italy
  • Finland
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Lisbon
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Sydney

France, Italy, and Portugal, great, but I’m most looking forward to Finland. Tony told somebody recently he’s trying to overcome his distaste for orderly countries.

The rest, meh.

In the meantime, TC has given Tony’s usual 9 p.m. Monday slot to new episodes of Bizarre Foods, which must have Andrew Zimmern feeling “King of TC” is almost within his grasp.

On April 10, Bourdain will be TCM’s guest programmer, watching and discussing with host Robert Osborne such classics as The Searchers and Eyes Without a Face. This link also has his Oscar picks. I think he was swinging from way out in left field to claim Midnight in Paris is elitist. I saw it twice, don’t recall Djuna Barnes being mentioned, and STILL don’t know who it is.

This goes back to the NR Christmas special, but Broward Palm Beach New Times got a nice little video of Tony griping about the Travel Channel — complete with a foul cat simile.

Speaking of cats, he did it again in the San Francisco Layover episode, in the Hotel Fairmont tiki bar: “If you have no love in your heart for this place, you are a sick, twisted, lonely fuck with too many cats.”

In case you missed that one, Eater.com posted the best one-liners.

Rachael Ray talked about Bourdain with A.V. Club. It’s in the middle of the page, including, “Everybody has a right to their opinion, and quite frankly, there probably isn’t too much Tony has said about me over the years that wasn’t true… if you were Tony.”

Paula Deen should take notes.

Speaking of dear Paula, I wonder if Tony will be appearing on Fox any time soon after they used her announcement of Type 2 diabetes (and $$$ deal to shill for a drug company), along with some misinformation from TMZ, as an excuse to take a few big dumps on Bourdain.

One was titled, “Anthony Bourdain is a Moron,” with video where Fox talking heads refuse to pronounce his name correctly and act as if Tony calling himself “Bore-dane” is some twisted affectation on the spelling.

On the other hand, those phonetically-challenged bozos do think “Boehner” spells BAY-ner.

And in a second attack they called him an “elitist” displaying “Northern snobbery.”

New York magazine elicited many one-liners from Bourdain. Cole and Max were thrilled to learn that Tony also loves his man cave.

Men’s Journal got a meaty sit-down (in a NYC bar) interview with Tony.

Tony did a Q&A with Vanity Fair about vacationing in Ottavia’s neck of the woods in Italy, where he loves to devour Italian gossip magazines and TV game shows.

Apparently, Travel Channel has jerked Andrew Zimmern’s leash up short, keeping him in the U.S. for his next season. This article at South Coast Today provides an interesting analysis of Zimmern and Bourdain’s respective schticks.

Bourdain and Eric Ripert did their Good vs. Evil thing in Austin (where Tony’s filming NR in March — has TC clipped his leash, too?). Who knew Eric harbors a grudge against John McEnroe?

The Cynical Girl saw Bourdain and Ripert in Raleigh, NC, which inspired her to write, “Anthony Bourdain is Such a Piece of Shit.” If what she says about his note-reading delivery is true, he must have really been having an off night.

Here’s a 30-minute video from Reddit that apparently was recently unlocked for general viewing. Tony answers questions directly to the camera, and it’s about as close to conversation with him as it gets.

And Ottavia hasn’t been exactly hiding in a corner all this time…

The Genuine Kitchen got Ottavia to discuss why she loves for Amaretto Di Saronno as she was leaving the Cayman Cookout in January.

She also gave an interview to FightChix about — well, guess. If you’ve ever wanted to see more of her tongue, this is your chance!


Bourdain’s Back on the Road

October 26, 2011

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain kicked his personal appearances back into high gear last week. Here’s what I’ve found on his near-upcoming schedule…


26 Charlotte, NC*
27 Dallas, TX
28 San Diego, CA
29 Vancouver
30 Charlottesville, VA*
31 NYC for Halloween?


2 Philadelphia, PA*
3 Portland, ME*
4 Cleveland, OH
5 Asheville, NC
10 Washington, DC
Food Fight

* “Good vs. Evil” with Eric Ripert

Bourdain told the San Jose Mercury News that his appearances have a new format, with lots of fresh material and video clips from his TV shoots. If you’ve seen him in person before, it sounds like he’s worth checking out again. I’m eager to start seeing bloggers weighing in on these appearances.

I didn’t know he was going to be in Charlottesville with Ripert until just the other day when Ripert tweeted something. When I checked into it, it was sold out.

In other news…

Rachael Ray told Joy Behar that she has invited Bourdain on her show in November, and said nice things about him. I haven’t seen whether he has accepted.

At the NYC Wine & Food Festival earlier this month, Bourdain’s Mini-Me, Andrew Zimmern, jumped into the fray and covered Tony’s back in his tussle with Paula Deen over what’s wrong with her cooking.

Speaking of the Festival, Cats Working’s own MorganLF was there, and hung out in the audience with Ottavia while Tony was on stage doing his thing.

Bourdain gave an interview about his literary side to the Los Angeles Times.

In case you missed it, here’s a 5-minute video of Ottavia talking about MMA. She says practicing the sport allows her to eat 3,000-4,000 calories a day, mostly meat and veggies.

And here’s a pretty funny video of Eric Ripert visiting Costco with Alan Richman.

On The Chew, Michael Symon responded to Bourdain’s snarky comments about the show.

The Vancouver Sun touched base with Tony on all the things he’s been doing lately. Mildly interesting.

Sandra Lee talked to Harper’s Bazaar (or in her case, Bizarre) and said about Bourdain’s snipes at her, “I think he makes it up, cause nobody can be that nasty.” The article was accompanied by several photos of Lee as a culinary sex goddess.

In case you missed Ottavia’s Twitter link, Tony’s interviewing really hit the big leagues now with one featured in Playboy.

For Bourdain’s appearance in Dallas on October 27, a blogger with D Magazine got screwed out of a pre-interview because it wouldn’t appear in print, and somehow Tony found out and contacted her to rectify the matter.

Tony also shared a list of his favorite cooking shows with Grub Street.

And on a final note…

I’ve been suffering through the non-stop padding and commercials on Dancing with the Stars (which ABC won’t let you bypass even On Demand) just to see Chaz Bono and JR Martinez dance, and can’t help thinking of what “might have been” if Bourdain had agreed to do the show. If they’d blessed him with a tall partner, women would have swooned over his waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, tango, and paso doble. But I can’t see him getting into the jive or Latin dances.

Anyway, Eater.com Photoshopped Bourdain into a series of DWTS “what if” pics. If you missed them, they are PRICELESS.

Rachael Ray’s Dog Goes Ape

February 13, 2010

By Cole

What made the dog snap? Being forced to shill for Nutrish dog food, though she secretly thinks it’s garbage? Being saddled with the putridly insipid name “Isaboo?” Whatever the cause, Rachael Ray’s pit bull almost tore off another dog’s ear recently while on a stroll with a handler in Greenwich Village.

Fortunately, Isaboo’s victim’s ear could be mostly saved, and the Rays offered to pay all the vet bills, but Rachael’s now afraid that Isaboo will graduate to people and have to be put to sleep.

So why the heck did the stupid woman adopt a pit bull if she didn’t want a blood-thirsty attack dog?

Personally, I think Ray’s vicariously asking for trouble using Isaboo to market her dog food. She’s just encouraging more people to own aggressive breeds, or at the very least, subliminally implying, “Feed Nutrish to your Bichon Frise and he’ll be taking chunks out of the mailman in no time!”

Rachael says, "Turn your dog into a potential killer like mine with Nutrish!" (Photo - Jim Wright, Nutrish/AP)

I think Isaboo’s only hope is prompt intervention by the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. He’s the only man up to the task of jerking Rachael Ray out of the red-zone state of mind that compels her to incessantly annoy man and beast alike. Otherwise, she’ll end up Isaboo’s lunch, for sure.

We don’t like to see bad things happen to animals, even dogs, so I hope Ray gets on the phone to Cesar and gets help pronto. It wouldn’t hurt to give Isaboo a name befitting her powerful breed, either. Even “Sammie” would be an improvement.

A Bourdain Holiday Smorgasbord

December 21, 2009

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain is putting the finishing touches on his next book, Medium Raw: A Blood Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Cats Working reader Cindy found an e-mail interview at Grub Street that mentioned, as of December 14, Tony was in Vietnam again. House-hunting, perhaps?

Tony looks dapper in coat and tie — although I wouldn’t say “amused,” as Grub observed. In a subtle homage to Ottavia, notice that Tony holds the boning knife so his wedding ring is clearly visible.

Here’s one for the “Call Me Confused” department: The San Jose Mercury News ran an undated video clip of Bourdain eating street tacos in Oakland, California, to introduce a brief December 16 interview with John Wenzel from the Denver Post that said he’d spoken to Bourdain by phone in New York.

Wait a minute! Tony was supposed to be in Vietnam on December 14. I can’t keep up. If Star Trek transporters ever go mainstream, Bourdain will probably have one in his living room.

The interview was blah and inspired comments that centered on nothing but whether Bourdain really said “Myanmar” or “Burma” as a place he’s intrigued by, but reluctant to visit.

Tony got unwittingly dragged into this truly disgusting nugget, uh, McNugget. The McNuggetini is a cocktail made with said mystery meat, barbecue sauce, and vanilla vodka. Alie Ward, one of its creators, says, “It’s like Anthony Bourdain meets Martha Stewart on crack.”

If she knows anything about Tony’s position on all things McDonald’s, trying to link him to her awful concoction takes irony to a new level.

The Ninja Priest tries to improve on Tony’s recipe for boeuf bourguignon by including some helpful tips. (After discovering that used copies of the Les Halles Cookbook are scarcer than cat thumbs — I’ve asked Santa to bring it to me to make my collection of Tony’s tomes complete.)

At Rachel Ray Giveaway (which probably has no actual affiliation to Ray, since it misspells “Rachael”) there’s speculation on who would win in hand-to-hand combat, Tony or Rachael. The last time I checked, Bourdain was kicking Rachael’s ass in the comments in many ways, though some observed he’d never really physically attack a woman.

Mike Hale at the New York Times picked his top 10 favorite TV shows, and declared No Reservations “still the only show in the food-and-travel category that doesn’t make me want to throw things at the host.”

If you’re into caricature, Eating the Road has Bourdain’s likeness in an interesting gallery of food personalities.

Cats Working wishes the Bourdain family — Ottavia, Anthony, Ariane, and Lupetto — a very Merry Christmas!

Anthony Bourdain’s Doing Fame the Hard Way

April 7, 2009

By Karen

Rachael Ray’s fruit basket caper got me thinking about the relativity of fame. When Cats Working first rattled the blogosphere with several Bourdain posts, the reaction from almost everyone I told was, “Anthony Who?”

Nobody would have drawn a blank on Rachael Ray.

Bourdain may be king of the Travel Channel but, let’s face it, it’s cable. Ray’s on network AND cable AND a gazillion cookbooks AND products (including dog food). AND she knows Oprah.

Bourdain doesn’t come close to such recognition, and he readily admits it.

But I do think Tony has more fun because he’s himself most of the time. I could never see him standing in some stage kitchen, whipping up glop while chit-chatting with guests who bore him.

As a novelist in the ’90s, Bourdain started conquering fame one reader at a time — until Kitchen Confidential put him on the map.

That led to TV, which spawned the demand for personal appearances, a time-consuming, arduous pursuit of fame that now keeps him away from home and family a lot.

It’s moot to ask if Bourdain could ever be as big as Rachael Ray because I don’t think he wants to be. In his special niche of food and travel, he hasn’t resorted to shilling for products he doesn’t use or believe in, although he probably could. You won’t see Anthony Bourdain cookware stacked beside Emeril’s at Bed, Bath & Beyond, or his face smirking from jars of his secret spice blends on grocery shelves.

That’s just not his style.

Bourdain’s main attractions — his persona and his thoughts — can’t be so easily packaged. But thank God he writes, so we’ll always have his books.

Latest Tidbits:

The Knoxville News Sentinel uncovered in an interview that Tony graduated from high school a year early and he takes a hard line toward addiction, saying:

“I see it as a character flaw, not an illness.”

At The Question Club, Bourdain beat Gordon Ramsay in a recent popularity contest.

Noodlepie has video of Tony talking about Vietnam, but what really got my attention was this fan e-mail from Bourdain, calling Noodlepie his “go-to” blogger on Vietnam.

Tony was in Tennessee on April 4, and Geography 2.0 had an interesting take on that.

Play Groups Are No Place For Children was there, too — and she got pictures.

OhNoTheyDidnt also had a recent up-close-and-personal Tony encounter when he visited her unspecified college campus.

So far I haven’t seen his reaction to Michelle Obama digging up part of the White House lawn for a vegetable and herb garden as if she’s working on orders from Alice Waters, but Alice was certainly pleased.

And finally, Cats Working reader Joanna provided a photo that appears to be Ottavia with the famous Bourdain knife on her right shoulder. Now we know why she had no problem with Tony getting that skull tattoo.


(Photo - Josh Ozersky - Grub Street: NY Mag)

And here’s a writeup and more photos of Tony and friends (including Rachael Ray) at the event in South Beach last year where this pic was captured.

Rachael Ray Goes Fruity on Anthony Bourdain

March 27, 2009

By Karen

When Anthony Bourdain failed to send the fruit basket he’d considered after reading that Rachael Ray had booked the New York Dolls for her show, she allegedly sent a basket to Tony. It included a note asking him not to shoot any puppies, which had been his other impulse upon realizing that he and Ray share some taste in music.

Bourdain’s peeps deny any such basket was delivered, but I don’t know. It sounds like something Ray just might do.


3/29/09 UPDATE: Story confirmed. Ray did send the basket. Tony has posted a thank-you note to her on his blog.

Bourdain also just told Metromix in Los Angeles in this entertaining, witty interview that he could see himself tossing back shots with Ray if she ever stops cooking, but he could never bring himself to be drinking buddies with Sandra Lee under any circumstances.

And never ceasing to amaze, in that same Q&A, Bourdain revealed that when he’s finished roaming the world, he’d possibly “like to teach creative writing to fifth-graders, or English 101.”

Somehow, I can’t picture Tony diagramming sentences and explaining which parts of speech his favorite 4-letter words are to kids who picked them up from watching vintage episodes of No Reservations.

Here’s some good news for Bourdain’s devoted readers: In another interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, he said that his follow-up to Kitchen Confidential, tentatively titled Cooks, is scheduled for 2010 release.

He also mentioned in that interview, published March 23, that he was heading to Chile the next day, but on March 26 he was in Los Angeles speaking at the UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference.

Continent-hopping is all in a week’s work for our Tony. Since he’d already been spotted in Chile previously, I’m assuming he needed more footage for No Res.

Just before these trips, he was being tracked on the blogosphere all over San Francisco. SF Eater offers the most comprehensive account of Bourdain sightings, complete with a map.

Press Democrat analyzes Bourdain’s taste in beer on that adventure.

After trying to ban such reporting when Bourdain shot in the Philippines, I suspect his producers have done a complete 180 and now welcome all the free advance buzz. These authentic, first-hand insider glimpses only seem to heighten fans’ anticipation for new episodes of No Reservations.

Part 1: An Evening with Anthony Bourdain

February 21, 2009

By Karen

On February 19, I was in my seat at the Durham (NC) Performing Arts Center 45 minutes before show time — and I’ve been lying about where it was.

When Anthony Bourdain kindly provided me a complimentary ticket to his show and VIP book signing a few weeks ago, I decided to keep my seating options open until I knew if his seat was better or worse than mine in the Grand Tier.

Tony’s was better. MUCH better. Fifteenth row orchestra, dead center.

The sold-out house of all ages hummed with anticipation. Tony came on stage to enthusiastic applause. He was dressed in black from head to toe, wearing a jacket over an open-necked, untucked shirt, achieving that rumpled, casual, yet somehow appropriate look he pulls off so elegantly.

He stood beside the podium, laying his left hand on it as a prop while he talked, glancing over at it occasionally. I thought perhaps he was referring to a topic outline because his transitions were so smooth and his delivery so easy and intimate before such a large crowd, I figured he had to have some notes.

Many of his tales and opinions were familiar to his fans, but he regaled us anyway. His profanity was judicious and well-placed. And he seemed totally in the moment, hearing and responding to some audience members who yelled out.

Although he said he’s watching mostly Nickelodeon with daughter Ariane these days, he hit the Food Network. First, he said he intends to lay off Rachael Ray because she’s such “low-hanging fruit.”

However, he’d relish seeing Martha Stewart square off against Rachael in a cooking competition. Naturally, Martha would win, “and then probably shank Ray in the green room afterward.”

He greatly admires Martha’s culinary prowess and technique, and said if one of his cooks ever conked out in his kitchen at Les Halles and Martha was dining out front, he’d trust her to jump in and man the empty station, saying, “You can always count on Martha to watch your back.”

He also praised his usual favorites: Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentis, and Nigella Lawson.

He called Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake a “war crime,” worries that Robin Miller’s skinny little arm will break every time she reaches for the fridge door, and feels sorry for Bobby Flay every time he gets thrown down.

Tony doesn’t know how teetotaler Andrew Zimmern eats bizarre food — especially all those balls — without benefit of alcohol, and why Adam Richman of Man vs. Food relishes piles of bad food. And all the delusional contestants on Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen remind him of the kids who used to pick their noses in school and eat the results.

As for No Reservations, when he recently filmed in Sri Lanka, he felt so jet-lagged and lousy the first three days, he almost began to question what he was doing, but the show had to go on and he got over it.

His favorite NR episodes, stylistically, have been Cleveland and Venice.

Bourdain revealed that he loathes Lou Dobbs, I gathered, for his stance on immigration, since Tony said in the same breath that he himself advocates amnesty for all Mexican kitchen workers.

He also thinks that Garrison Keillor has done to poetry “what Hitler did to Poland.”

And he has no love for author James Frey, who tried to pass off A Million Little Pieces as a memoir. Tony read the book hot off the press and said, “I didn’t need Oprah to tell me it was a fake.” Because he felt it did a disservice to people seeking help for drug addiction, he’d “cross a street to punch Frey and wish him a shitty day.”

A Q&A session followed Tony’s talk, and maybe 4 questions were asked from all those the audience submitted, and they were nothing ground-breaking. But here’s Tony’s answer to, “When will you go vegan?”

“When Sandra Lee and I have our 4th love child. When I join the road show of Mama Mia. Or when I give Billy Joel that long, lingering massage I’ve been promising him.”

It was a good night, and it was about get even better as the audience filed out, leaving behind those of us who had passes to the VIP book signing backstage. Stay tuned…

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