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

Will Bourdain Eat Beans in Boston?

April 18, 2011

By Karen

Tonight Anthony Bourdain eats and drinks his way through Boston in a new No Reservations episode named “Know Your Enemy” (because he’s a Yankees fan). I think he’s tweeting live @NoReservations during the broadcast. He talked to and they provide some background. And here’s the promo…

If you’re interested in the quotable Bourdain from the Amazon episode in Brazil last week, Eater’s got the best one-liners.

In the “Friends of Tony Bourdain” department…

For the past week, Tony has been tweeting from Spain, mainly photos of food. He’s been hanging out with chef Jose Andres while filming NR, a tribute to Ferran Adrià’s restaurant, El Bulli, which he’s closing to launch an advanced culinary academy.

The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald interviewed Sandra Lee during a visit there, and this is just one of her semi-sweet digs at Bourdain…

“I bet he’s a really nice guy. … I think he’s really talented,” she said. “I’m going to love the day when he doesn’t need to drop my name and say nasty things about anyone to get exposure and press.”

The article mentioned that Lee will be selling a cookware line she designed at Sears and Kmart, and that all 23 of her books are self-published because no “real” publisher would touch her first semi-homemade cookbook.

As a counterpoint, A.V. Club interviewed Brian Roberts of Ha Ha Tonka, the band that played on the recent NR Ozarks episode, and here’s part of what he said about Tony….

AVC: Is he as cool as he comes off on TV?

BR: He is just as cool — if not cooler. Really, really nice guy — he hung out with us for like 10 hours.

A food writer at Chicagoist describes a very strange encounter where the renowned chef Grant Achatz allegedly behaved like an asshole at his new restaurant, the Aviary.

The Harvard Business Review just published a podcast they did with Tony on “Why Leaders Should Eat with the Locals.” Among other things, he talks about what motivated him to take over his Twitter account @NoReservations.

Cats Working wishes the Bourdains a Happy Anniversary on April 20.

If you get HBO, Season 2 of Treme, begins on April 24 with Bourdain as one of the writers.

Will Sandra Lee Have the Last Laugh?

January 5, 2011

By Adele

The Today Show this morning did a story on Semi-Homemade’s Sandra Lee, who is now the first girlfriend of New York. Her lover, Andrew Cuomo, was sworn in last week as governor while she demurely held the Bible.

One of her pet causes will be to alleviate hunger in New York — one yukky can of vegetables at a time.

She and Cuomo met in the summer of 2005 after they both went through divorce. They have been living together and will continue to do so. Cuomo has 3 teenage daughters by his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy (yes, one of those Kennedys). Sandra is childless.

Now that Sandra’s got connections in high places, I wonder if Karen’s buddy, Anthony Bourdain, will retire his schtick about her putrid Kwanzaa Cake? He may very well cross her path a lot more at anti-hunger charity events.

And did Huffington Post cave under Sandra’s new political status and yank Denise Vivaldo’s story about how she developed and sold to Sandra the Kwanzaa Cake recipe and many others even worse?

Will Sandra finally be on the receiving end of some respect, or earn herself a reputation as the tackiest hostess ever to grace a governor’s mansion, serving such delights as lasagna made with cottage cheese and tomato soup? Cuomo claims to love it, while his mother says the very idea makes her want to vomit.

Will her penchant for tablescapes and replacing all the drapes daily bust the state entertainment budget and drive the household staff berserk?

Michelle Obama tested her influence by getting women to wear studded gladiator belts hiked up under their armpits for a while. Will Sandra try to make MSG- and salt-laden processed and canned cuisine chic eats for New Yorkers?

Will being the governor’s girl (and, who knows, a future presidential candidate’s cutie) become so all-consuming that Sandra abandons her dream of becoming the reconstituted Martha Stewart? Will Cuomo have to use that familiar cardboard cutout of Sandra with the pasted-on smile at official functions while she’s out in the pantry concocting and chugging cocktails?

This reality show promises to be more fun to watch than anything Sandra Lee has ever done on the Food Network.

Bourdain’s Too Good for “Top Chef”

December 20, 2010

By Karen

No Reservations Season 7 is tentatively set to begin February 14. In the meantime, Anthony Bourdain fans can watch him judge Top Chef All-Stars.

In week 3, Tony got minimal screen time as the judges noshed at 4 exclusive New York restaurants. I think the less he’s seen with that mean little clique, the better. In his Bravo blog recap, Tony even managed to say something nice about all the cheftestants.

(On the other hand, Eric Ripert ripped a new one for Elia, week 1’s loser, for publicly spewing many sour grapes about Tom Colicchio. It’s as close to nasty I’ve ever seen Ripert get.)

Week 3 was a double elimination. Stephen and the non-Asian Dale got axed for failing to channel the spirit of their assigned famous chefs, yet Asian Dale won the elimination challenge with a mere egg. Go figure.

Is there a larger dollop of pomposity in this season’s judging? Or am I just becoming jaded from seeing one too many plates of weird stuff sitting in puddles  of goo?

Unlike the judges, I’m not surprised when chefs faced with an array of strange ingredients and sometimes malfunctioning appliances — and a ridiculously brief time to figure out what to do with them — concoct increasingly bizarre platefuls of crap.

Speaking of crap, so are the so-called “challenges.” Top Chef has morphed from a cooking competition into a culinary Survivor. I’m waiting for the Quick Fire where Padma coyly gives the the cheftestants 15 minutes to hack off and prepare an unobtrusive body part from the competitor to their left.

As much as I looked forward to Tony’s return for his wit as a judge, I’m now sorry he’s there. He’s not really one of them. He likes tube steaks cooked on dirty grills in alleys. (Granted, Padma loves to lick grease off her ankles.) But at this stage of his evolution from reputed bad boy, hurling clever “Gotchas!” at well-meaning people who were cornered for a multitude of reasons into creating bad food is beneath him. Far beneath him.

End of rant.

Zero Point Zero crew member Helen Cho is now tweeting and blogging for Tony, and her updates are on Tumblr. The plan is to make her as unpredictable as the show’s format, so they flipped interviewing duties and Tony supposedly grilled Helen to reveal some new Bourdainia, including the tentative Season 7 lineup, which is…

701 Nicaragua
702 Cambodia
703 Haiti
704 Vienna
705 Ozarks
706 Boston
707 Brazil
708 Japan
709 Cuba
710 Macau
711 El Bulli
712 U.S. Desert
713 Congo
714 Yemen
715 Memphis

Remember Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa cake, a staple in Bourdain’s personal appearance repertoire? It seems Sandra bought the recipe 10 years ago from Denise Vivaldo, whose hilarious confession is on Huffington Post (thanks, human Adele, for the link!). Apparently, Sandra’s peeps thought she would be bigger than Martha Stewart. Maybe they still do, now that her boyfriend, Andrew Cuomo, is New York’s governor-elect.

Back to India

July 26, 2010

By Karen

In tonight’s new episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain visits Kerala, India. I’ve seen it. (Thanks, Brandon at Room 214!), It’s all about the food, and I must confess to feeling déjà vu at watching Tony dabble in mounds of mush. In this clip, he’s served fish head curry:

Producer Chris Collins blogged about how the trip didn’t go off as he expected. Tony blogged about it poignantly back in May while he was there.

Last week’s episode in Liberia, on the other hand, is destined to be a classic. Bourdain spent a few days off-camera, deathly ill from the food. I hate to say it, but suffering seems to inspire him to great things. He did the country a great service by raising awareness of its dire straits and how the people seem willing and eager to work hard and prosper — if only they could get some aid. A fraction of what we throw down that rat hole called Afghanistan could do wonders in Liberia.

Tony did a 6-minute phone interview with Mara Davis on 92.9 Atlanta, where he’ll be appearing on November 20. Davis fell back on the old “worst food you’ve ever eaten” question, but Tony reveals he’s a fan of journalist Christiane Amanpour.

It was another slow week for Bourdain news, although Medium Raw remains on bestseller lists, so I’m going to do a brief segue to Padma Lakshmi.

I recently saw her on Melting Pot on the Cooking Channel (8 a.m., EST). I think it’s 2001 vintage recycling from a Food Network show called Padma’s Passport.

Anyway, the episode featured Padma in a white lace dress and no apron, gingerly concocting Indian dishes from her childhood. She had me holding my breath, waiting for her to slice off a finger, get splashed with hot grease, or let the top fly off the blender.

All I can say about Padma’s cooking technique is that if she and Sandra Lee were ever in a cook-off, Lee would stick a fork in Padma and declare her “done.”

Bourdain’s Big Apple Weekend

October 12, 2009

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain was just at the New York Wine and Food Festival, teaming with David Chang. Martha Stewart’s Living Radio Blog has a brief audio clip of Bourdain talking about Chang before their event.

It sold out to a crowd that wrapped around 4 blocks and was called, I Call Bullsh—! Here’s the New York Post review.

Metromix and Grub Street revealed more of what they said.

Tony was also interviewed by restaurant reviewer Frank Bruni, author of Born Round: The Secrets of a Full-Time Eater, and The Feed, Slashfood, and the New York Post reported.

And here are some photos of Bourdain and Bruni signing books at the event.

Steve Barnes, Table Hopping for the Times Union, has written a bunch of blog posts about Bourdain, and looks forward to Tony coming to town (Schenectady, NY) on November 15.

Tony’s was widely quoted on the demise of Gourmet magazine, and credits it for giving him his first big break as a writer. I guess this means his appearance with Eric Ripert at Gourmet’s 7th annual Gourmet Institute on October 23-25 is a no-go.

This Stop Willoughby enjoys playing a game with her son where they replace some character in a TV show with Bourdain. I could see Tony as Larry David in a traveling version of Curb Your Enthusiasm, doing a show within a show as Vic Chanko during unvarnished moments of filming No Res.

FNH (Food Network Humor) wrote a scathing — and hilarious — rebuttal to last week’s Wall Street Journal article about “rock star chefs” and personal appearances, calling it “one of the most ridiculous foodie articles in the history of the Internet.”

Also from the NY Wine and Food Fest, Jezebel posted a photo from one of Tony’s “nightmares.” Bonus: Scroll down to video of Sandra Lee making the Kwanzaa cake Bourdain can’t stop ranting about. This was the first time I’ve seen it, and must agree it’s a culinary train wreck. The finished product looks like what someone would do in a spoof of cooking shows.

Anthony Bourdain’s Paunchy Physique is the New Chic

August 17, 2009

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain seems to wear all his shirts untucked these days because he’s sporting a paunch, but who knew he was a trendsetter? It’s even got a name.

In “It’s Hip To Be Round,” in the New York Times last week, Guy Trebay revealed that Tony’s look is called the “Ralph Kramden” among Brooklyn boys.

(Photo - Paul Wellman)

(Photo - Paul Wellman)

Bourdain’s charms are apparently wearing thin with sfist, who turned Tony’s own San Francisco blog words against him.

Speaking of San Francisco, here’s a clip cut from the episode of Tony sampling absinthe and foie gras vodka for breakfast. Did he learn nothing in Paris? The Examiner provides more info on the strange distillery.

Serious Eats collected many amusing comments about Tony’s allegedly chronic state of inebriation through the whole episode.

Rochelle at Sexy Girls Eat had an accidental encounter with Tony at PDT in New York, and TV Squad has sprung to Sandra Lee’s defense.

On tonight’s new episode of No Reservations, Tony travels to Bangkok, Thailand. Ingrid at Room214 says he and the crew get caught up in “political upheaval…protests, violence, and uncertainty.” Sounds like Beirut. Bourdain hooks up with another runner-up from his fan contest, a Muay Thai fighter named Eric Rivera who may get a lot of footage, possibly for Tony’s wife Ottavia, who studies martial arts.

Tough as he’d like us to believe he is, Tony seems to be going out of his way to make sympathy rounds among his contest’s also-rans.

Since he knows his fans like to see him suffer, tonight’s highlight may be watching Tony harvest cockles while waist-deep in mud in the Gulf of Thailand.

Overdue For My Next Bourdain Fix

August 10, 2009

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain does San Francisco on No Reservations tonight, and I better not miss it like last week’s Street Food special. My DVD recorder had a malfunction.

Even worse, Verizon comes today to switch my TV to FIOS (Your latest rate increase was your last, Comcast!), and Verizon better not screw it up. Both episodes are airing tonight back-to-back and if I don’t capture them, life won’t be worth living.

Just kidding!

Lots of advance buzz on San Fran. Ingrid at Room214 says Tony stuffs his face with interesting things non-stop, and Sand Dollar Adventures has a few words about Ingrid.

SFoodie ran a “Why I Love Bourdain” essay contest last week. I liked this winning entry, which claims that Tony doesn’t “exotify” food. A vegetarian reveals how Bourdain converted him with an oyster. Another fan calls Tony the “anti-celebrity chef.” Excellent description. And here’s a poem.

An SF bartender relates his conversation with Bourdain in — where else? — a bar.

Remember when Cats Working reader Petunia told us she thought Tony is doing voiceovers for Glad storage containers? I haven’t seen the ad yet, and no one has confirmed it, but now another one has surfaced — in Singapore. The Certified Pinoy Blogger wonders if Bourdain is really endorsing chicken rice or if someone’s using his likeness without permission.

And remember all the flak over the Rust Belt episode dissing Baltimore and Buffalo? Well, ModelD offers some tweets on Bourdain’s visit to Detroit and there’s not one kvetch about how he done ‘em wrong.

Scott D Parker in Houston reveals sort of a man-crush on Bourdain by concocting his own version of, “I travel. I write. I eat. And I’m hungry for more.”

Here’s an off-the-wall item: Variety compares Bourdain to fellow reality series Emmy nominees, comedian Kathy Griffin and Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, and they each give their theories on their success.

And even weirder, Sandra Lee would like to have Tony over for meat and potatoes and cocktails.

Sandra Lee Meets Bourdain, Lets Him Live

August 3, 2009

By Karen

No Reservations tonight is a special on street food that sounds like a compilation of sweepings from the cutting room floor. Sort of a cinematic version of Bourdain’s book, The Nasty Bits. Not that I’m complaining. Tony seems most at home eating mystery meat prepared by some wizened, toothless crone who’s been cooking outdoors for decades on a grill that’s never been sullied by soap and water.

In her advance buzz e-mail, Ingrid from Room214 mentioned Ireland, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Mexico, and New York, so we’re in for a world tour. Maybe some of the old footage will provide a glimpse of Tony’s former snark. He’s been too mellow lately.

No so Bourdain’s critics. Dave Zurawik, TV critic for The Baltimore Sun, hated the Rust Belt episode, and the Bourdain bashers came out in force to comment on his post.

Zurawik lambasted Bourdain further on radio at Midday with Dan Rodricks. Scroll down to July 27-30, 1:00-2:00 p.m. to listen.

Buffalo Chow wasn’t thrilled with Bourdain’s visit there, either.

Hot Buffalo provides several clips from the Rust Belt episode without editorializing.

Bourdain blogged his own impressions of the episode.

Too much negative buzz in the blogosphere about Bourdain’s alleged superficial handling of Baltimore and Buffalo to link to here, much of it redundant. Seems nobody liked him saying their city is “bleeped up.”

Perhaps not so oddly, I don’t think I saw a bad word about his treatment of Detroit. After the meltdown of the auto industry, maybe they were grateful for any empathetic visitor.

On July 30, Tony was in New York City attending the premiere of Julie & Julia. Epicurious mentions his “female companion” had a foreign accent. Found a photo in this gallery (#9), and it was Ottavia.

SFoodie wrote a first-hand account of helping Tony find a good taco truck in the upcoming San Francisco episode. SFoodie is also running a contest to attend a view party when the San Francisco episode airs on August 10. All you have to do is write in 60 words or less why you love Anthony Bourdain. The contest ends at midnight tonight (which I assume is 3 a.m. August 4 on the East Coast.)

UPDATE: Bourdain confirmed on his blog my comments about the Street Food episode, that he attended the Julie & Julia premiere with his wife — and they met Sandra Lee.

What I found most shocking was that Sandra Lee dates Andrew Cuomo, New York state’s attorney general.

Bourdain & Waters Face Off: Reconciliation or Duel?

May 11, 2009

By Karen

On May 14, Anthony Bourdain hops over to Hartford to be on a “Food for Thought” panel at the Connecticut Forum with Alice Waters, the California restaurateur who “bugs the living shit” out of Bourdain for advocating that everyone eat fresh, locally-grown produce, even when it’s prohibitively expensive. Cheekily nominating herself to be on Obama’s “kitchen cabinet” to ensure he gets the country eating right was what landed her between Bourdain’s crosshairs.

Now, Michelle Obama did dig up the White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, but admits she enjoys sneaking to Five Guys for a burger, and President Obama and Joe Biden lunched at Ray’s Hell Burger last week. Obviously, fresh veggies only go so far with the First Family.

I’m guessing it will take more than a fruit basket to quell Bourdain’s philosophical clash with Waters. Oh, and the unfortunate bystander on the panel will be The Ace of Cakes’ Duff Goldman.

In other news…

Shades of Grey writes about recently discovering Bourdain. Where has she been? (Warning, annoying music accompanies her post, but you can silence it. Scroll down to the “Spring Mix” heading and click the largest button in the purple playlist.)

And here’s some video of Bourdain and others being asked to compare various recording artists to food for Average Betty at the UCLA Extension 13th annual Restaurant Industry Conference.

Bourdain would appreciate this rant that he and Iron Chef inspired in Chatterbox Sara against Semi-Homemade’s Sandra Lee. I just recently read a bit about Lee’s nightmarish childhood and wonder if all this abuse will ever make her crack. (I know, Tony would say, “Too late.”)

And blogger hungry4morefoodie, who uses the tagline, “Who exactly is this Anthony Bourdain?” and claims her favorite book is Kitchen Confidential, still has the temerity to wax eloquent about a lunch at Olive Garden. Adding insult to injury, she also doesn’t think Applebee’s sucks. Her affection for the chains Bourdain always mentions as what’s wrong with American cuisine makes her brazen hijacking of his catch-phrase (in lieu of composing something clever herself — you know where Cats Working stands on that) seem like blasphemy.

To end on a side note, Top Chef judge Toby Young was recently hit by a car while bicycling around London — in the middle of the night — so his lack of wit would seem to extend beyond the judges’ table.

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