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Jan 16, 2007 06:10 PM

Tony Bourdain Interview on Amazon

Amazon sends me these PLog's, they are more like plugs. Anyways, Bourdain was in the pacific northwest filming the Seattle No Reservations show and they were able to interview him. I just read the bits that they put out but it seems there is a more extensive interview in .wav format somewhere deep in the heart of Amazon.

He talks about how the show is popular in Asia and that the Chinese seem to enjoy getting this foreign devil to eat stuff that they won't touch themselves.

He also talks about how all these celebrity chefs do seem to help the overall food ethos in the world right now. He grudgingly admits that there is, indeed, a place for the Jamie Olivers of the world.

He went off on the dumbing down of Food TV and bemoans the fact that the suits have stated that they don't want good cooks fronting the shows, he bemoans the fact that Sara Moulton and Mario does not have stand up shows anymore.


On the Food Channel
"The Food Network's about food the way MTV is about music, which is to say, not at all anymore." OUch!

On Emeril and the Food Channel:
"Man, he looks like Escoffier these days compared to some of the acts they've got on there now."

On the Food TV "talent" but specifically on Sandra Lee.
"They're growing their own talent--like industry bands--out of Petri dishes, and teach them to cook, I think, then build brands around them. I understand the economics behind it, it works for them, but you look at some of the food--like Sandra Lee, how to feed your family on Cheez Whiz, Triscuits, and a jar of olives--that's not food. "

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  1. I'll come to the rescue of Jamie Oliver any day. He's actually done a wealth of good in England, getting nutritious meals into school lunch programs, etc. He's one of the few Food TV people I do respect.

    1. As I've said in other threads, I would take Oliver over Bourdain any time, anywhere. I agree with the poster (in another thread) who said that it's getting increasingly difficult to watch Bourdain's show w/o rolling one's eyes, and that it's been great watching Oliver grow up. Wish the same could be said for Bourdain. His smugness is becoming more and more unbearable. He does realize that that he's a "celebrity chef" himself, yes? Drinking the same Kool Aid, as far as I'm concerned.

      9 Replies
      1. re: gloriousfood

        I find "No Reservations" very entertaining. Bourdain regularly makes himself the target of his lack of respect for celebrity chefs.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Robert, I would love to hear some of his comments along those lines because they might help to change somewhat my feelings about Bourdain. I'm just really getting tired of his disparaging comments about his colleagues--not a class act. I'm all for expressing one's feelings but have to wonder about someone who can't seem to stop criticizing others, especially when I have no evidence of his culinary skills (one restaurant only as far as I know--Les Halles--a fine enough restaurant as far as those places go, but not enough to rest one's laurels on). Plus, when was the last time he actually cooked there?

          1. re: gloriousfood

            Have you been watching "No Reservations"?

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Yes, but not the new season yet. Have lost interest. I know he makes wry comments poking fun at himself in that show but do not recall
              "him making himself the target of his lack of respect for celebrity chefs."

              1. re: gloriousfood

                Most of the time he just gigs his fellow chefs, I do that all the time with my close friends, just giving each other hell.

                He does have a problem with Jamie Oliver though. I have heard him give Mario, Emeril, and Bobby Flay a hard time but he always makes it known that he has respect for what they do as chefs, he also makes it known that he finds these shows ridiculous. In A Cook's Tour he was positively gushing over what Thomas Keller does so he doesn't rip into every single one of his colleagues. He has gone off on Charlie Trotter over Trotter doing the PC thing with the Chicago foie gras ban.

                1. re: Phaedrus

                  In Anthony Bourdain's updated version of "Kitchen Confidential" he says he has often made Emeril the butt of his jokes, but he admits that unlike some other celebrity chefs, Emeril was once a real chef and made it to where he is the same way he did.

                  So I guess Emeril gets a bit more respect from Anthony Bourdain... or at least fewer put downs...

                  1. re: AlwayzHungry

                    "Mario Battali is a monster of rock 'n' roll and a personal friend. Emeril, in spite of all the terrible things I've said about him, has been very good to me, is actually a very nice guy and a restauratuer/chef worthy of a lot more respect than I've given him (I still hate the show)."


                    "I'd love to do a scene where a supposedly enraged Emeril Lagasse pistol whips me, then jabs a broken bottle of Old Crow into my neck. (I've actually approached him about this.)"


            2. re: gloriousfood

              The general public commentary, like the comments on this thread, about these guys -- this group of celebrity chefs -- make it sound like they all hang out, drink, exchange recipes, have dinner at each other's house, etc.

              They are, with some exceptions, just a club of people with common interests, loads of public exposure and egos as big as -- well -- you pick the analogy.
              How do you think they pick the challengers on Iron Chef America? They are mostly second string buds with the iron Chefs, or Alton, or their posse/mafia. Not that they aren't great chef. That's why the Iron Chefs play the game, Mario wants to see if his buddy can kick Bobby Flay's ass or vice-versa.
              Norman Van Aken and Charlie Trotter are friends, they grew up (in the kitchen) together. Bobby Flay and Michelle Bernstein, friends outside of work. But it's a short list. That's why Morimoto is dissapearing from the show. He doesn't hang with the same crowd.

              I guess Mario and Bourdain are friends, but I don't know.

              Don't read more into this stuff than necessary. It's like Madonna bitching about Brittany on Letterman the other night. It's image versus image for the most part. They still smile and play grab ass when they are together in public, but their buds are mostly people we never even heard of.


              1. re: Bob Mervine

                Thanks to all who shared Bourdain's other comments. In the end, I'm doing what catsailor said below: "If Anthony Bourdain is a little grating to some, it's the same as any other show or article. Turn off the TV, close the magazine and find someone else who you enjoy."

                Amen! That's my philosophy. Except I won't be turning off the TV, just changing the channels.

            1. re: Phaedrus

              not working... i guess it's guest-specific?

            2. I find when these "super star" chefs take themselves too seriously-that's when I tune them out