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Bourdain's take on the Cheftestants (Top Chef)

wingman Jan 29, 2007 05:15 AM

Great guest blogging by Bourdain - found it pretty interesting and made for a fun diversion from work.


  1. notmartha Feb 1, 2007 02:26 PM

    Bourdain is an entertaining guy, but he's obviously out of a different mold than Marcel. I think Bourdain can probably execute the dishes, and can tell when something tastes good, but he's not an inventor nor creative in that sense.

    Marcel is an inventor/creator, and sometimes that trait is at odds with running a successful business. That's when you need to bring someone in to do the running of the day to day operations, and leave the creator to dream up concept dishes that other cooks can execute. You need both types in this world, otherwise life (and food) will be pretty boring if it's the same old, same old, or very inconsistent if it's one wild experiment after another.

    1. kloomis Jan 31, 2007 08:15 AM

      I thought it was interesting that Bourdain seems a little obsessed with TC, like the rest of us. I thought his comments were pretty much spot on. His comments about Marcel and Ilan were harsh, but true.

      1. s
        solange Jan 30, 2007 05:57 PM

        I'm surprised the judges and commentators in general haven't had more of a problem with Marcel's science kit food prep. Sam was knocked by head judge TC for not actually "cooking," but Marcel was delighted with his Xanthan Gum Pineapple Poi that spared him having to cook with poi -- actual food. Xanthan gum is made from the outer coating of a laboratory-grown micro-organism called Xanthonomonas campestris. How is that keeping it "all about the food" as the mantra is supposed to be on Top Chef? Clearly, never having tasted any of the food it's easy for me to sit here and think Sam should have won the whole thing, but it was nice seeing an expert and insider who had tasted the food articulate why the popular fan favorite deserved the crown.

        1. Caitlin McGrath Jan 30, 2007 12:09 AM

          I thought Bourdain's assessment's are pretty much on, although while I think he's probably correct in his general assessment of Sam, I think he gives him too much credit when he says he "took responsibility for his actions, didn't blame or explain when things went sour." There was the weight-loss camp episode and Sam's olive oil allegations, which was certainly blaming when things went sour (his team was losing). And there's Sam's out-of-the-kitchen instigating and his actions/lack thereof in the assault on Marcel.

          1. g
            gyp7318 Jan 29, 2007 01:25 PM

            I love Anthony Bourdain! I think his commentary was pretty much spot on.

            1. c
              Claudette Jan 29, 2007 12:59 PM

              Bourdain's too macho for me, but he's smart, and I do agree with all of his assessments. But I just can't stand Ilan the Weasel.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Claudette
                sivyaleah Jan 29, 2007 01:01 PM

                Frankly, there wasn't a single person this season who is worthy of the title "Top Chef". Each and every one of them had some fatal flaw which would prevent them from being able to run a restaurant effectively, IMHO of course.

                1. re: sivyaleah
                  Caitlin McGrath Jan 30, 2007 12:14 AM

                  Interesting, though, that two of the contestants who distinguished themselves only in truly non-culinary ways (Betty and Mia) DO run restaurants.

              2. sivyaleah Jan 29, 2007 10:18 AM

                Thanks for the link. Very entertaining, as Bourdain always is (at least, to me).

                1. e
                  elrushbo Jan 29, 2007 09:41 AM

                  Bourdain sounds very whiny...of course none of these people are Grant Achatz, if they were they would be running their own gazillion dollar restaurants instead of working at cafes or as assistants to assistants.

                  1. macca Jan 29, 2007 09:35 AM

                    Thanks- what a great read. Had me laughing out loud. And it was great to see that Betty was so bad she did not even merit a critique!

                    1. Robert Lauriston Jan 29, 2007 09:29 AM

                      "Being a great chef is about first knowing what gives people pleasure. And caring about that."

                      "... a manipulative, conspiratorial, vindictive, weasely little shit....(Hardly impediments to a career as a chef)."

                      1. LindaWhit Jan 29, 2007 06:55 AM

                        Great read! And he was dead-on with his "reviews" of each cheftestant, especially Marcel and Ilan. And yes, Katie, I think Bourdain means Carlos when he names "Alex".

                        1. Katie Nell Jan 29, 2007 05:50 AM

                          Who's Alex? I guess he means Carlos?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Katie Nell
                            rumgum Jan 31, 2007 08:03 AM

                            Thanks, I was asking myself the same thing while reading the blog.

                          2. m
                            mojoman Jan 29, 2007 05:27 AM

                            Good find wingman. I agree with Bourdain's assessments.

                            1. TrishUntrapped Jan 29, 2007 05:24 AM

                              He's dead on. I called Marcel a 'putz' but Tony explained very eloquently why he is one. Very amusing and astute commentary.

                              1. marthadumptruck Jan 29, 2007 05:23 AM


                                That was entertaining!

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