Bourdain’s Buddies Unscathed in JBF Feud

May 9, 2011

By Karen 

Anthony Bourdain’s still lobbing grenades at the James Beard Foundation via Twitter, including a link to the 2010 financial report that seems to bear out his contention that the organization is largely self-serving, with more than four times as much money devoted to “in-house events” as to scholarships and education.

But, fortunately, nobody held it against his friends and colleagues, who raked in plenty of honors at the still-prestigious annual JBF Awards last week. Most notably, Tony and Ruth Reichl’s Twitter love child, Ruth Bourdain, swept the new humor category, which was most likely created solely to recognize her brilliant tweets. 

However, Ruth Bourdain didn’t lose her head and let the Beardies “out” her by luring her to the awards ceremony. Her identity remains a mystery, which is as it should be.

Tony’s BFF Eric Ripert’s PBS series, Avec Eric, won for best on-location program. And Top Chef won for best studio program.

Here’s a complete list of the honorees.

Tonight’s No Reservations is a rerun of the Ozarks. Tony has been filming in the Ukraine with Zamir, which isn’t a location I had on my list for Season 7, so I wonder if some other plan fell through. If so, I hope it was his idea to do the Graham Greene thing in the Congo.


Bourdain’s Back in Brazil

April 11, 2011

By Karen

In tonight’s new episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain revisits Brazil — but this time, he bypasses cosmopolitan Rio for the Amazon jungle. During this shoot, he developed a severe back problem and honed his acting skills trying not to wince in pain. Here’s the promo of him eating an anesthetizing local soup called Tacacá…

Tony seems to be branching out with his own TV endeavors in association with Zero Point Zero Productions. BourdainChankoTV posed this demo for Komrads, a potential new show featuring Zamir and ZPZ Associate Producer Nari Kye as unlikely traveling companions…

John Kessler at the Atlanta Journal Constitution is still trying to sort out the Bourdain/Mariani ethical debate over food writers getting comped for their subject matter.

It’s one of those “burning” issues that reminds me how NOT a foodie I am, particularly after taking someone’s advice to use my homemade chicken stock to prepare couscous. All I can say about couscous is Bleeeecccchhhh! Not rice, not pasta, just bland and grainy. And this is after forcing myself (for cholesterol’s sake) to acquire a taste for oatmeal.

Alice Waters leaped into the Twitter fray on March 28 with a folksy chicken motif, and then confessed to LA Weekly that she is Ruth Bourdain. Yeah, right. Next she’ll be claiming she’s the Bronx Zoo’s cobra.


Bourdain’s Back in the States

March 28, 2011

By Karen

Tonight Anthony Bourdain stays closer to home, exploring the Ozarks in Missouri in a new episode of No Reservations. There’s drinkin’, shootin’, eatin’, and singing by a home-grown group called Ha Ha Tonka

Tony blogged about it from Naples, where he’s with his family right now, possibly to attend a wedding (a guess based on a pic on Twitter), hopefully enjoying some R&R, and apparently taking a vacation from paragraph breaks.

Last week, Eater captured the Quotable Bourdain in Vienna. All that sausage and Jagermeister inspired just what you’d expect. Tony tweeted live again while the show aired. And I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that Travel Channel has yanked NR out of alphabetical order in their website’s show lineup and elevated it to “Featured” status. (Bizarre Foods is the only other food-related featured show as the B v. Z ratings battle rages on.)

Since he had nothing really to add to his tweets, Tony blogged about what he’s watching these days on TV and in movies.

On Bravo, here’s part 2 of that weird interview Eric Ripert did with Tony, and they discuss at some length the meltdown of Ripert’s employee, Jennifer, on Top Chef All-Stars.

Tony and Ruth Reichl’s bastard spawn, Ruth Bourdain, has been nominated for a James Beard award in a new humor category that may have been created just for him/her. RuBo responded by tweeting a link to how humorless and sour-grapey some food writers can be. Tony mentioned in his blog (in case you didn’t click the link) that his former Sirius radio show with Ripert, Turn & Burn, also got a nomination.

I’ve decided to relent and read Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, although chef memoirs aren’t usually my cup of tea. Bourdain’s effusive claims that she’s a far superior writer is something I gotta see for myself.

And as for Top Chef

Tony didn’t judge last week’s pre-finale, and I didn’t see him in the promo for the real finale (a.k.a. pre-reunion show) this week. I’m going to put it to bed in a separate post. Stay tuned…


Bits Deglazed from Bourdain World

January 31, 2011

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain should find this welcome news: blogger Broke-Ass Stuart says Tony is “definitely filthy rich,” but has maintained his common touch by never forgetting his broke-ass roots.

Since we’ve been having some foodie vs. non-foodie discussion on my Kitchen Basics recaps, you may find this post by The South in My Mouth interesting. She rates how she has trained her teenage son Noah in the kitchen, using Bourdain’s chapter, “Virtue,” in Medium Raw as her yardstick — or should I say measuring cup?

When it comes to cleaning fish, I’ve got nothing on Noah.

Bravo’s milking Top Chef All-Stars to the max by sprinkling it with reruns, so nobody went home last week. Now I can’t remember if I saw Tony in the previews for this week (if it’s not another rerun) or not.

Speaking of Top Chef, Padma’s baby-daddy Adam Dell, from her ever-growing ex-pile, is taking Padma to court for custody of their 11-month-old daughter. His paternity doesn’t seem to be in question, but he’s concerned that Padma’s celebrity lifestyle and her apparently insatiable addiction to using rich/influential men don’t create the best environment for child-rearing.

Slashfood voted Ruth Bourdain the “Sexiest Male Chef” in the food industry. Check out who else was in the top 10.

And here’s The Daily Meal’s truly bizarre list of “America’s 50 Most Influential People in Food.” They coyly ranked “You” as No. 1 (like when TIME used a mirror cover to cop out on selecting a “Person of the Year”), and Hugh Grant was No. 3. HUGH GRANT??!!

(Oops! Further digging revealed that they meant a Hugh Grant who works for Monsanto. But still… In my mind, Monsanto = floor products.)

Then they had readers weigh in via Twitter and Facebook, netting vastly different results. Bourdain and Mark Bittman of the New York Times tied for first place. Bourdain wasn’t even on Daily Meal’s original list (but Oprah was).

On a side note…

Andrew Zimmern went all political on his Travel Channel blog about Obama’s new policy toward Cuba. He mentioned that he filmed a show there last year. So Zimmern got in, but Bourdain can’t. Go figure.

Tonight is the grand finale of my Kitchen Basics class at Sur La Table and it’s a meat-athon of roasting, braising, and sautéing: roast chicken, seared steak, boeuf bourguignon, and fish stock/stew.


Bourdain’s on the Road – Again

September 20, 2010

By Karen

We’re fresh out of new episodes of No Reservations, but this week Anthony Bourdain is making personal appearances in Houston (tonight), Toronto (9/22), Fredericksburg VA (9/23), and Springfield CT (9/24).

The Houston Chronicle got an advance interview. Among other things, here’s what Tony had to say about food writers…

“I can hardly imagine that this brave new world of bloggers can be worse than the agenda-driven, overprivileged, entitled class of dottering old farts who currently occupy the top tier of food journalism. It’s a pretty appalling bunch of bent, angry people who despise their subjects and hate their jobs and have been going through the motions for a long time.”

NowToronto published a 2-part interview with Bourdain, where he describes himself as an “’ex-cook who tells stories.’ Essayist maybe?” In Part 2, he says he doesn’t hate Paula Deen, and describes his upcoming graphic novel, Get Gyro (spelling? Ottavia spelled it Get Jiro on Twitter) as “Yojimbo meets Big Night and Babette’s Feast, an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcana.”

Earlier, he told the Omaha World-Herald it’s “a gourmet slaughterfest, sort of like Fistful of Dollars meets Eat Drink Man Woman.”

Whichever it is, it sounds like an orgy of food, blood, and guts that may make his animated Alternate Universe seem tame.

When Bourdain was recently in London pushing Medium Raw, he told Metro that he doesn’t see food writing as part of his future path. He said he’s “kind of pushing himself” out of it because he’s becoming jaded, and has shelved plans to move to Vietnam because of No Res.

Hey, you read it here first. I’ve been saying that all along.

He also said something I take issue with. That is…

“I don’t think my writing has evolved. I mean I haven’t been working at it.”

By virtue of his output since Kitchen Confidential, he has unconsciously been honing how he expresses himself, even if he thinks he writes like he talks.

Tony, here’s the test: If you can read anything you wrote at least 6 months ago and find anything you’d like to revise, your writing is evolving.

On September 13, Bourdain appeared at the 92nd Street Y in NYC with David Chang and Eater.com provides a thorough account of what sounds like a strange and awkward night. Chang is weird. Tony mentioned that Cuba, Haiti, the Congo, and Kurdistan are on his short list for NR Season 7.

Bourdain did an interview with Submerge before his September 17 Sacramento appearance and said that daughter Ariane and Alice Waters are a lot alike because Ariane eats only organic food and likes Paris.

CTnow got a really good interview with Tony before his September 24 Springfield appearance where he mentions that Ariane behaves herself in restaurants.

For some reason, I want to give Ottavia most of the credit for making sure Ariane’s never a whiny, fidgety brat in public, like the ones we’ve all had the misfortune of sharing meals or airplanes with.

On a side note…

Chow.com selected the still-unidentified Ruth Bourdain as one of the Chow 13 in their 2nd annual recognition of the food world’s movers and shakers. They even got an e-mail interview with the elusive, yet always hilarious, tweeter.


Bourdain & Vietnam: Together Again

March 29, 2010

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain travels to Vietnam — is this the 3rd or 4th time? — in a new episode of No Reservations tonight. Wendy at Room 214 didn’t mention any house-hunting in her preview e-mail, but did say that Tony noted 70% of Hanoi’s population is under age 30.

I have a sneaking suspicion he’s quietly abandoned his dream of living there, especially now that Ariane is getting older and undoubtedly growing some roots in New York.

This episode seems heavy on bugs, and Tony channels Andrew Zimmern in the promo. He’s also apparently tricked into eating Java-Mouse deer.

Hey, I just realized we haven’t seen Tony whip out his Chase Sapphire card in quite a while. Could widespread fan derision have delivered him from that silliness?

Tony and Eric Ripert have wrapped up their Sirius radio program, Turn & Burn, but bits of it are hitting YouTube. Hear what happens after Tony reads Ruth Reichl’s tweets in what was apparently a regular feature called “The Tao of Ruth.” Eric reads a few tweets by the mysterious “Ruth Bourdain.”

Here’s a video clip of Bourdain and Ripert talking about Ruth Reichl’s tweets with Mario Batali.

Bourdain’s getting closer to Richmond with an appearance at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA, on September 23. That’s only about 90 minutes north of here.

Entertainment Daily found out a bit about what Tony’s been up to in India. He’s got to be back in the States sometime this week because he has a speaking gig in Austin, Texas, on April 1.


More Bits of Bourdain

March 22, 2010

By Karen

This week, No Reservations visits Provence. I love watching Anthony Bourdain in beautiful locales with clean sheets. There’s a dinner scene that sounds like the meal he cooked in Tuscany, where we unwittingly got our first look at Ottavia. She told me she was directed to say his cooking was “disgusting,” but it was actually quite tasty.

Apparently, Tony doesn’t fare much better in Provence, but blogger Miss Expatria defends him against his cruel hosts at the villa.

Ottavia just tweeted that Tony is in India again.

Thanks to another DVD recorder glitch, I missed NR in Harbin, China, last week, but I’m set to catch the rerun today. My recorder also trashed “Obsessed,” so I’ll need to recapture that to keep my collection complete.

Speaking of “Obsessed,” Bourdain must be learning you mess with food bloggers at your own peril. They will always have the last word. Tony allegedly dissed Steven Plotnicki of Opinionated About Dining in the special, who struck back via, DUH, a lengthy blog post I couldn’t get through. But then, I’m not a foodie.

In the Things to Do Department…

Take Travel Channel’s NR Knowledge Quiz. I’m embarrassed to say I scored poorly.

And watch the last episode of Alternate Universe,Duel Over Russia.”

Tony told ChicagoMag.com why Ottavia flew to Chicago alone.

SlashFood got him to answer 5 questions.

Cats Working reader Cindy provided this link to a preview of Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw. I wonder if they’ve made the cover photo more menacing?

Village Voice got a bit about “Ruth Bourdain,” who’s tweeting as a cross between Ruth Reichl and Tony.

Tony discussed exercise and many other things with Anne Berry at Examiner.com in New Orleans in January, but her interview just appeared. Here are links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, not readily found on the site.

PS: In December, a new book is being released, containing 15 years of Julia Child’s correspondence with Avia DeVoto, who helped her find a publisher for Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julia in her own words. Yum!


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