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Anthony Bourdain blogs about the Food Network...

Ouch! I couldn't agree more with about 87% of this:


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  1. That's hilarious. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. This is WAY too funny, esp the bit about Batali!!!

      1. Bourdain is funny....always worth reading.

          1. re: choctastic

            I didn't bother reading Bourdain's blog entry, but I had to reply to say I heart this post. I thought I was the only one on Chowhound who hated him. Thank god I'm not alone.

            1. re: charmedgirl

              I imagine half the board has the same opinion of AB as you. I can't be bothered to read AB's blog on this subject either, but he must be desperate to stoop to shooting fish in a barrel.

              1. re: charmedgirl

                Oh, charmedgirl, trust me, you're not alone. I hope he disappears soon...really soon....

              2. re: choctastic

                Actually, I think of Bobby Flay as the smug little prick.

                1. re: Phaedrus

                  hey i didn't say that AB had a monopoly on prickdom.

                  but at least flay doesn't feel the need to constantly bitch about everyone else. bourdain's show on the travel channel is a POS. did you see the L.A show? I could do better than that by randomly searching on citysearch. and yet he has the gall to make nasty remarks about the others. he's just jealous because he's relegated to the travel channel.

                  i'd take flay over bourdain any day.

                  1. re: choctastic

                    Id take Bobby Flay over Bourdain as well.

                    Bourdain is quite full of himself in this article, and on his show which I can watch for only about 2 seconds before he gets clicked off.

                    It must be great to be as perfect as Bourdain thinks he is. Its too bad he stooped to this level, It seems he has issues, or is jealous of other peoples success. Perhaps sour grapes...

                    What a sad, angry little man.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      I respectfully disagree.

                      I see more of what you all are ascribing to Bourdain from Flay. He really thinks his sh_t doesn't stink. As for Bourdain, I like the fact that he pokes hole in egos , he shows deference to people that he has respect for, when he did the show from the French Laundry or when he did the film about El Bulli, he was almost reverential. So, no, he isn't an ass all the time, contrary to Flay.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        Flay has a brusque manner that doesn’t look good on camera. He’s certainly not a gracious winner, as we saw in Iron Chef. However, as you mentioned, he’s evenhanded about his jackassedness, so I’m not convinced he can help it. Intent is everything.

                        Yes, Bourdain is deferential, obsequious even, to the personalities that he has decided are Cool. Mario is Cool. Thomas Keller is Cool. He fails to mention that Mario was also Boring and his sidekick was Unwatchable. It’s difficult to be entertaining, much less entertaining AND educational. Bourdain should know this since his show “No Reservations” is neither. Perhaps that’s why he has so much time on his hands these days…

                        Bourdain is essentially the foodie’s Howard Stern. While claiming to offer honest opinions, notice his opinions never stray from those constantly repeated on chowhound. He knows his audience. Every pathetic foodie wannabe who doesn’t have a blog, or for that matter much of a life, can feel better about themselves by reading Bourdain trash these personalities with all the authority that he can muster from his second rate culinary background. Throw in some pop culture references and there’s the recipe that has foodie groupies throwing their underwear (and themselves) at him.

                        Also, notice how Bourdain rarely says anything good about women other than to say something about their rack? When he grudgingly says something good about a female chef it’s usually along the lines of, “I can’t believe a GIRL did that”. Flay seemed to treat his girlfriend pretty decently on his show and I don’t recall him ever mentioning anyone’s rack.

                        1. re: choctastic

                          I haven't seen Bourdain be sexist. Doesn't seem to me that he cares whether a man or a woman's doing the cooking, so long as it's good or interesting.

                          In his comments on the Top Chef 2 contestants, he gave Elia a lot more respect than he did some of the guys.

                      2. re: swsidejim

                        Bourdain is hilarious, and he is dead-on with every word he wrote. And he is very far from taking himself seriously, as anyone who watches his show can attest. And I doubt he's angry of anybody's success, seeing as he is so very successful himself. Frankly, I'm not sure if we're talking about the same person?

                        In point of fact, he's very tall, and not at all sad. Angry, perhaps, but no more so than many, many others who lament the dumbing-down of American culture which Food Network is coming to so perfectly represent.

                        1. re: uptown jimmy

                          food network is what it is, I watch for entertainment value, thats it, I have paid my dues in kitchens for years, and most things I find on their are remedial in nature.

                          My reference to "little Bourdain" has nothing to do with height, but class.

                          to each their own.

                          Anyone who gets "angry" over Food Network is pretty pathetic in my world, its mass media tv, what do you expect...

                          With all of the above said, Im not going to argue the merits of Food Network, or debate who is the bigger bully. I just think those who think Bourdain is a "genius" for saying the things that we all think about certain folks on FN are kind of silly. It seems to me these folks are the same people who would take to task the bully who picks on the class nerd, or the weakling,. Isnt this what Mr. Bourdain is doing.?? They are all tv personalities, the real chefs are those who are not on tv, and work in the kitchens night in and night out.


                          1. re: swsidejim

                            Thanks for clarifying the "height vs. class" thing. I never would have gotten that without help. No, irony is quite beyond me, and I would never post anything dry or even mildly witty.

                            It is perfectly reasonable to lament the abrupt and precipitous downfall of a former favorite TV network. It's a channel that drew many of us to a higher understanding of food, simply said, and it is falling down a deep, deep well of mediocrity and silliness. For what it's worth, it's inappropriate to take disappointed former FN fans to task for feeling passionate about it, with all due respect.

                            Relax. Bourdain is harmless. And funny. And dead-on in almost everything he says, IMO.

                            1. re: uptown jimmy

                              you're entitled to your opinion but i hope you understand that others may disagree with you for many reasons. bourdain is your cup of tea, great. he is not mine.

                            2. re: swsidejim

                              You're the only person who has used the word "genius" in this topic.

                              He's got a talent for making some people laugh.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                I'm always surprised about the dislike of Flay. I never see this "prick" attitude everyone speaks of. His new show where he tries to outdo someone elses specialty by surprising them is quite entertaining. It seems like the people are always fine with the twist (they think its a special just about them), they always say how nice he is.He loses A LOT, with great dignity and no attitude. He seems like a regular joe who busted his butt to make a name for himself, and is proud. Why wouldn't he be?

                      3. re: Phaedrus

                        He is a no it all in my opinion, but does not know it all. I think the Trowdown show shows his vulnerable side. Not to mention he is always picked in Iron Chef to prove him wrong.

                        Bordain is Pompass. Im sure what ever he has to say about Food Network is typical Bordain. These chefs are just trying to get a rise out of everyone.

                    2. I didn't find his blog to be the least bit funny. It's 100% accurate and sums just how far FN has devolved in the last few sesons.

                      1. i like the food network...i enjoy watching iron chef, alton's scientific approach to food, and bobby's throwdown. occassionally, i'll watch sarah lee semi-home cooking...it's not the best but i enjoy learning little tricks. probably my two least favorite shows is rachel ray and emeril. just grew tired of them.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: goldenroxy

                          Yeah, it's a little puzzling how many people don't seem to understand that Scripps Howard is trying to reach as wide an audience as possible. It's a business, and it needs to be profitable. Unfortunately for many people, that means you're going to see more of Rachael and Paula and yes, the horrific Sandra Lee. Unfortunately, there wouldn't be enough of an audience to maintain the business if all the shows were aimed at the high-end home chef, or the people who enjoy upscale fine dining. That's a pretty small universe, folks, at least in TV audience measurement terms.

                          Just look at the commercials on Food TV. It's quite a reality check -- there's quite a disconnect between the hosts showing off their recipes, and the commercials, which are touting the convenience of frozen paella....

                          1. re: Neely_Ohara

                            What's to understand? TVFN used to have intelligent programming for people who loved food, by people who loved food. Now there's dumb-ass programming for people who'll line up for anything being dished out by some tits and ass and a smile here and there... wow - I guess it's all about making a profit, so that's all right.

                            Tony was part of that group of food lovers that got the choice of dumbing-down the show or leaving. He left - and he thinks that what was done was a shame. He's being nice.

                            It's not that mediocrity and stupidity shouldn't exist, it's that when mediocrity and stupidity displaces real ideas, real information, we've taken a major step back towards the dark ages. Profitability doesn't have to mean doing away with real information - look at the approach CNET has taken with us. But I would guess Scripps Howard thinks they're providing a public service and making profit too! Sorry if I'm with Tony on this one.

                            1. re: applehome

                              Easy there, Apples.

                              I guess I wasn't clear -- I don't disagree with Tony -- I think his observations are both spot-on ahd hilarious. . But the kind of programming he and most folks here really desire -- it just wouldn't be profitable enough to run as a cable network for the masses. Stupidity and mediocrity sell. High-end, smarter stuff doesn't.

                              Here's an idea for Tony: Rather than simply blogging, why doesn't he leverage his fame and put together a group of investors to start another cable food channel that's smarter and aimed at a more upscale audience? If he clearly believes the audience deserves something better, why doesn't he take the lead in providing that service?

                              1. re: Neely_Ohara

                                Because he already has, by his description, the greatest job in the world.

                                1. re: Neely_Ohara

                                  I have been following , and contributing to the discussion about the general malaise befallen FN.

                                  The key here is that the channel has evolved towards where it is at today, a money generating monolith that caters to the common denominator, for a long time. Nothing wrong with that in a free market economy, except for those of us who loved it in its early years when the dedication to the culinary arts was of the utmost importance. The reason for the dedication is that there was no real bottom line at stake. The stakes were too low and the commercial time not all that important, so they catered to the true foodies and Chowhounds.

                                  But the evolution has taken it further away from the perfectionists and aficionados because that market has saturated and they needed to grow the network in order to expand the watcher base, so they intentionally set themselves adrift, away from the purists and catered to the lowest common denominator to get at the broadest commercial base.

                                  Like Bourdain himself said: "Food Network is to food as MTV is to music, which is not much."

                                  I think the complaining and kvetching about the hosts, hostesses and programming has to do with some of us knowing what it stood for at one time and our nostalgia for those days and for the a posteriori knowledge that the evolution of the FN did not have to go this way. The grand poobahs decided to go the profitable way therebye killing something we all loved, and there is nothing we can do about it except carp about it here, or doing something subversive, but there are too many outlets for one's food passions elsewhere for anyone to really attempt anything truly subversive.

                                2. re: applehome


                                  TVFN is a channel that should compete on its own, but on the flip side, most of the people who get it are already paying a premium price via cable or satellite to see it.

                                  I'm happy to pay for HBO - they deliver great programming, commercial free. They take risks and their products have never tried to appeal to the widest possible audience. I don't always like every show, but it's good stuff aimed at certain audiences.

                                  Along the same lines, the BBC has produced many interesting culinary shows that have been adapted here. It's a public channel in a way, but everyone in Britain has to pay a TV license, so it's akin to subscribing. They do have to appeal to a wide audience, but they can also take risks and also run with shows that might not get killer ratings.

                                  Meanwhile I have to pay for the Food Network. I don't get a premium channel void of crap. In fact it has as many commercials and infomercials and cross promotions to the point where I'm not sure if I'm watching HGTV, DIY, etc.

                                  Now it has cake shows and fashion shows, etc. I can see the argument that says this is what the public wants. But should I have to pay for it?

                            2. i'm new to this but very curious. what are you guys talking about and where can i read it??

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: winebarb

                                winebarb: you can click the link in the first post to view the article.

                              2. way funny...AB is a great chef and the speaker of truth. The Food Network is horrible, except for Iron Chef, Alton Brown, Mario, and watching emeril hack through another show.
                                It was funny...and the truth!!! Down with Rachel RaY I say!!!! It lost its appeal when non-chefs started to crowd it!

                                1. It is sad but true. Most of the FoodTV shows are purely entertainment, not about cooking or cuisine. When it started years ago, they featured really interesting shows like "Melting Pot" and "Chef Du Jour" but now I'd rather watch PBS shows, such as "Diary of a Foodie" or "Lidia's Family Table" if I want to learn anything. Even that nerdy geekish "America's Test Kitchen" has some useful info. This past holiday season I was looking forward to some new recipes on FoodTV, but was disappointed, same old stuff. I rarely watch now, maybe Alton or Mario.

                                  1. He's a fun read as usual. But I have to disagree with Throwdown, it's one of the few shows there I'll watch.

                                    1. Com'n, Pink Flamingos??? Almost made me fall out of my chair laughing.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. I might not be here on Chowhound were I not like Bourdain, exiled from the Food Network. Nothing to learn there anymore and certainly not entertaining. How about CHOWHOUND channel! Take back the airways!

                                        1. Has anyone watched Tyler's Ultimate? That's my favorite -- recipes seem simple enough for an amateur like me and good close ups of the food.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: walker

                                            Yes! great show, I actually learn something when I watch it. You should try his bacon wrapped raost chicken. I used to watch this show all the time, untiil they took it off the air waves. Then they brought it back this year.

                                            I do regret to say I was abhorred to see Tyler's face plastered all over an Applebee's commercial.....another on bites the dust!

                                          2. My take..AB gets too much credit for saying what many people are thinking...and much of his blog-speak has been echoed by C'Hounds on this Board for months. One might even say Mr. AB took a few passages from some of CH's best wordsmiths.

                                            1. Wow, His descriptions are amazingly accurate! And have any of you Chowhounds noticed how Paul Dean's husband is earily cadaverlike? Long live Boudain!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Leper

                                                Paula's husband looked near-dead?
                                                Not surprising...if he eats what she's cooking.

                                              2. Much as I enjoy Bourdain's show(s) I don't know that I'd want him cooking for me. I think he is more famous for being an author than being a chef. His restaurants were never my favorites the few times I ate there years ago.

                                                1. Give someone a T.V. show and people will line up to parrot their delarations as though they are original. As someone above said, it's all been mentioned here before, Bourdain noticing it doesn't necessarily give it legitimacy. Let's not be so naive. I think we all know and have known that Rachael Ray sucks in the culinary sanctum. It's humurous when the Bourdain camp gets all frothy around the mouth in rabid support of their unsung hero smashing to bits the sometimes questionable credentials of T.V hosts who have amassed their own legions of frothy mouthed, rabid support. Nice

                                                  17 Replies
                                                  1. re: cafesimile

                                                    Uhhh, it's called "humor" where I come from. As in, laugh at ridiculous things for fun and pleasure. Some people think he's funny. Nothing profound or tragic there.

                                                    1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                      sad what passes for humor these days.

                                                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                        Bourdain's quick-witted and has a sharp tongue. I frequently find him hilarious. He's definitely got an audience.

                                                        If people don't find him funny, why waste time watching him?

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          if people don't like rachel ray, why is she selling so many books and shows? all you ever hear is bitching about her

                                                          1. re: choctastic

                                                            On Chowhound you hear bitching about her. People in my office (who don't even know about this Web site) LOVE her, and really think she has "it" for TV. So there. (OK, they're starting to think she's overexposed now, but my point is: Non-Chowhounds aren't nearly so critical of her -- there's an inconvenient truth for all of us!)

                                                            1. re: Neely_Ohara

                                                              Well there is the "I hate Rachel Ray" site so I'm not convinced it's just chowhound.

                                                              I see my response to Lauriston is kind of unclear. I should have said that if Bourdain didn't find Rachel Ray interesting, why doesn't he turn the channel as well instead of being a jerk about it?

                                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                            I watched a whole Anthony Bourdain episode once. It was the opening of a new series, and he was in France making stupid jokes about the French and making like he invented going to France. I somehow forgot to check back in on the series.

                                                            1. re: Gary Soup

                                                              Bourdain is French American and IIRC he use to go to France as a kid, so he might know a little bit more about France then the average American.

                                                              1. re: ML8000

                                                                Then why were his yucks about the French stereotypical and bordering on demeaning? Self-deprecation, you say?

                                                                1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                  I think that's part of his "sense of humor". I actually thought his brother was more interesting though you don't see that much of him. For one, he can actually speak French while Anthony Bourdain stands lamely by.

                                                                  1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                    He made fun of himself in that episode. He's sitting in a cafe imagining the conversation at another table, and then when he walks out, the subtitles are something like, "Who wears cowboy boots today? Not even Americans!"

                                                                    1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                      Could be self-hate or getting back at Mom and Pop. My guess is that as a smartass with some inside information he was taking a swipe at the "taking it too seriously" French attitude....just like anyone w/i an ethnic group can do with uncommon skill.

                                                                      Who knows. I mean when you go to China do you find anything funny, shocking and odd and laugh about stuff? I'm sure you have but you probably express the reaction in a normal way according to your personality but you still laugh (inside or out). Bourdain's personality on TV is nothing stays inside and that's why he's a TV person.

                                                                      1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                        He is practicing irony. Poking fun at the usual American distaste for the French. remember the Freedom fries?

                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                          Obvious irony. Blatant irony. Lost on some, nonetheless.

                                                                2. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                  Hey, Jimmy, didn't I say above I find "humor" in this. As in laugh at pathetic irony of T.V. audiences taking sides of one host over another. You're fifty percent fight, though; nothing profound, but it IS tragic.

                                                                  1. re: cafesimile

                                                                    I'm no fan of anybody's. I just hate asinine mediocrity. Bourdain may not be everybody's cup of tea, but he sure has a sharp wit. As for his comments, nobody here is rooting for him in any kind of hard-partisan manner, as far as I can tell, just finding humor in his rants. That's what he does, rant humorously.

                                                                    As opposed to working my nerves half to death with an extremely annoying set of fake giggles and annoying affectations...

                                                              2. Anthony is right . Thats the way i feel whne I wtach the TV FOOD NETWORK. What has happen to the once great televisison program. There is antoher posting about the TV food Net on CH boards.

                                                                1. I've read postings on these boards but never actually posted anything of my own. Mostly because there isn't much to add since everything is so well put. But when I saw this I couldn't resist. Thank God, yes God for Anthony Bourdain. If anyone can save us from the mediocrity of the greater American food landscape it is him. Never afraid to roll his sleeves up and throw the necessary punches, his words are always dead on! I didn't disagree with a single word. I am so glad to hear Molto Mario hailed. I miss it so. My husband and I have been in California for a little while now and the one thing that is clearly obvious to us is that even the PBS station out here shies away from showing the cooking shows that are aired on the PBS station back in NY. That right there is an indicator to us that if PBS is not willing to take a chance on the same cooking shows that fly in NY then there is no chance for the Food Network. PBS is governed by public dollars and it seems what the public wants in most of America is safe cuisine. That's what makes up the majority of shows, and food put forth on the Food Network, safe, vanilla, boring, slit-your-wrists cooking shows. How do we climb out of this horror. Are the bests chefs, and risk-taking-food-lovers of America destined to be a minority forever?

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: LiaNYC

                                                                    Whoa, now let's leave vanilla outta this!!

                                                                    beautiful thing, vanilla is.

                                                                    1. re: cafesimile

                                                                      Yes, yes you are right...when did vanilla get such a bad rap...I'll have to learn to cut that out. We love vanilla...yum, yum. Thanks.

                                                                  2. I couldn't agree more!

                                                                    I used to LOVE watching Food Network for hours on end, but I just can't do it anymore, as the programming seems to be designed for mental midgets rather than an educated
                                                                    audience. It has become painfully apparent that Food Network no longer cares for its base of people who are genuinely interested in food and cooking, but rather seems to be looking for ratings.

                                                                    But are these shows getting those ratings? Most people I know have also stopped watching because of the poor programming. I know I only TIVO a couple of programs now and none of those include Sandra Lee or Rachel Rae. I’ve run into blog after blog bashing Sandra Lee…nobody likes this woman. I’ve written Food Network on several occasions, and not once have I received a response.

                                                                    It is a shame to see such a wonderful concept dissolve into a something so pathetic.

                                                                    1. Food Network c. 2000 = Rolling Stones c. 1967
                                                                      Food Network c. 2007 = Rolling Stones c. 1978
                                                                      Tony Bourdain = Lester Bangs

                                                                      The guy is just holding up a mirror by telling it like it is....and he speaks to my embittered inner elitist. TFN jumped the shark.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: g rote

                                                                        g_rote, you're the man, and succinctly put too. I didn't give up my Rolling Stone subscription until 1980's though.

                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                          Er, I believe g was referring to Mick, Keith, and the boys, not the magazine that covers them. Analogy works either, though, I suppose.

                                                                      2. Yes, Ms. Lee is pure evil with that pantry full of crappy packaged shortcuts meant to save time but what they really save people from is a real meal. Why do so many people in this country think that good food made from straight up ingredients takes a long time anyway? This has always baffled me. I can think of tons of recipes that you can make in 15 to 30 minutes that don't require as a component dried soup from a packet. Yuck! On the rare occasion that she grabs for something like a shallot while conjuring up one of these horrors I think to myself "You are going to put that shallot into that dish?" Oh the agony. I think I've seen 3 or 4 of her episodes trying to figure out what this was all about, only to realize it's about eating crap. Didn't bother to watch again after that, there is too much real pain in life to have to endure this too.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: LiaNYC

                                                                          Sandra Lee is simply doing "White Trash Cooking" by Ernest Matthew Mickler, but w/o the charm and feel.


                                                                          1. re: ML8000

                                                                            Oh...will have to check that out then. Sounds a heck of a lot more interesting.

                                                                        2. the man is an evil genius. I love almost everything that comes out of his mouth and that crazy twisted brilliant mind of his.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: momof3

                                                                            The man is a self-promoting, greedy, 2nd rate chef with bad dreams about being washed-up in a couple of years. "Buzz" ain't brains, and Tony is only about the "Buzz".

                                                                            1. re: chilipalmer

                                                                              If by "buzz", you mean "hype", I can't agree with you.
                                                                              While I'm not a die-hard devotee of Bourdain himself - I agree that he tends to be enamored of his self-destructive, grizzled hipster persona at times - I consider "No Reservations" to be a genuine attempt to explore cultures and the cuisines they produce. His better episodes, such as the recent one that featured Ghana, are much more the stuff of reverant and respectful substance, the desire to learn and to try new things, than they are about hype.

                                                                          2. The old Food TV is what got me into Food. As the cynicism set in after being exposed to professional cooking, two voices still get me excited about food. Alton Brown, whose scientific and anthropological approach makes me curious about technique and history, and Anthony Bourdain, whose travels and cuisine-hopping help remind me that the world is an awfully big place and that not all foodies shop at Sur La Table (and vice versa).

                                                                            Three cheers to AB (both of them!) for his insight. His personality rubs some the wrong way, and that's fine. But he espouses principles that are important: enjoying fresh, local cuisine, and eschewing mediocrity.

                                                                            1. Anthony Bourdain is the Edward Abbey of the food world.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: alanstotle

                                                                                I dunno... maybe Hunter S. Thompson would be more appropriate. A reporter, a novelist, an ex-druggie... He's certainly not the anti-anthropocentrist that Abbey was... his first (and usually only) concern is for the human pleasure of the food experience, and he has little problem spearing wild pigs to death for a delicious dinner. And that No Reservations show could have been called Fear and Loathing in Iceland. Tony doesn't get on many bandwagons, although he does make fun of the raw eaters and other fringe crazies. Pretty much Gonzo, if you ask me...

                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                  I agree with most of what you say here; in fact, I think the analogy to Thompson is spot on! But I do remember vividly that AB spoke somewhat passionately about how unpleasant it was spearing the wild hog and how it would be disrespectful to the animal to make jokes about the experience.

                                                                                  1. re: Fydeaux

                                                                                    True enough. He's certainly no Ted Nugent (as far as I know). But he definitely espouses the position of eating for the pleasure of it - and whether it was that pig or the seal or any other animal, he has eaten them with pleasure - whether he killed it or not. I posted this before, but he makes a point of the pleasure issue here in an episode of Boulud's After Hours:


                                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                                      From his behavior and comments on No Reservations, he'd rather somebody else kill his dinner. If it's his social obligation to do it, he will, but he's clearly uncomfortable.

                                                                                  2. re: applehome

                                                                                    Hunter S. Thompson is a good comparison. The facet of Bourdain's personality that is similar to Abbey's is his willingness to speak his mind to the point of coming across as arrogant. Bourdain is, like Abbey was, one of those folks that people either love or hate; there's not much middle ground. People either love or hate his straight-talking style.

                                                                                2. Re Bourdain's piece on the Food Network: Maybe that's why Bittman will appear on Public TV. Two points: (1) Over-exposure will ruin most people, except such geniuses as Julia who grows on you; (2) TV gets more homogenized each day, more dumbed down, and the Food Channel is no exception. Please remember this channel started out with Robin Leach, so people like Mario are the exception rather than the rule. Who knows? Maybe the pendulum will swing the other way and we'll see some real stuff again.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: EclecticEater

                                                                                    Sadly, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the pendulum. Nosense turning bluer than a blue steak.

                                                                                  2. Tony B. needs to show us that he can cook, rather than: 1. Eat, & 2. Write. The HST comparison is off-target as TB lived his gonzo life without writing it and HST never wrote about food, but lived a gonzo life. Glibness + ego does not = talent. In the land of Chow, ya gotta prove it on the plate.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: chilipalmer

                                                                                      "Tony B. needs to show us that he can cook, rather than: 1. Eat, & 2. Write"
                                                                                      Why? He seems to be doing fine eating and writing.

                                                                                      I've eaten at the original and the downtown Les Halles many times, and the food has been uniformly excellent. He is at least a fine exec chef for bistro fare. I'm not aware he's ever said he's anything more than that, and I don't know what other qualification you expect him to have in order to write books and do TV shows. He quit TVFN precisely because he didn't want to film himself cooking for them (or us) - he wanted, instead, to show us the world of food.

                                                                                      "TB lived his gonzo life without writing it..."
                                                                                      You obviously haven't read Kitchen Confidential.

                                                                                      Eating sheep stomach in Beijing - not just eating it, but seeking it out as a local food, enjoying the experience to the max... that's putting it out there - along with all the other foods he eats - not for the strangeness value, but for the genuine enjoyment of food - the understanding that this joy is universal, that the joy of being a cook is universal - he captures the toothless smile of the guy chopping and cooking various pieces of sheep guts, with obvious pride as AB comments on the generations that have passed down this wonderful food... well it's as much food communicator or impressario talent as I've seen recently on TV - and I don't think that has anything at all to do with glibness or ego.

                                                                                      "HST never wrote about food"
                                                                                      Yeah and you missed the point if that's what you think we were comparing. How about journalism - gonzo journalism - AB is all about making the news wherever he goes (or maybe his camera crew, bustin dishes). Some of HST's favorite quotes fit right in with AB's persona and attitude - "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro", or "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." You can just see Tony saying just these lines (or close - not that he would ever plagiarize). They're both supremely ironic sob's...

                                                                                      AB calls it as he sees it - whether it's Emeril the Ewok (whom he's since apologized to and said many times that he respects as a chef) or the idiocy of certain movie stars and the raw foods they tout. Some folks like his way of showing them foods from around the world - some don't, and some just feel rubbed the wrong way when they see him. That's what makes this work. Rachel Ray is worse than nails on a blackboard for me. Talk about talentless - I sure wish she wouldn't pretend to cook so much. So I don't watch her. Problem solved. But if someone were to say compare RR to Martha Stewart, I'd say go for it. Who knows - RR may yet serve time for some of the crimes she's committed in front of a stove.

                                                                                      1. re: chilipalmer

                                                                                        He's a retired chef. He's now primarily a writer. From what he says, if somehow he could arrange all that gastronomic travel without having to take a camera crew, he'd prefer it.

                                                                                      2. I remember the good old days when the Food Network started -- David Rosengarten, Nina Griscom (sp?), ready set cook. It was so great. Then the Scripps boys decreed that we had to appeal to a younger, hipper demographic. That's why Alton stands on his head with his spiky hair, even though he actually has a great show. But Giada really isn't very good. She hates food. Have you ever noticed, she kind of sneers at it and has a look in her eyes that she's going to hurl out whatever she ate. And Paula Deen? Honey that woman could deep-fry a ball of lard and sugar. She actually has a recipe where she makes a bread pudding by adding SUGAR and BUTTER to Kripsy Kream doughnuts. Damn! Oh yeah AB's right and Mario rocks. Now THAT'S a chef.
                                                                                        AB is also right. The Food Network has lost it's way and tried to be all kicky and fun. Too bad.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                          Actually the Paula Deen recipe for Krispy Kreme donut bread pudding with butter rum sauce calls for the addition of undrained fruit cocktail (the syrup has tons of sugar) and sweetened condensed milk, also a sugar buster. And the butter rum sauce consists of a stick of butter and a pound of sugar -- so, yes, it does call for the addition of butter and sugar.

                                                                                          1. re: Fuser

                                                                                            Oh please. The recipe for the bread pudding does not say "add a stick of butter" or "add one cup of sugar" as your original post implied it did. Fruit cocktail and condensed milk, while sweetened, are different ingredients. You are correct about the butter rum sauce. It is, of course, also an additional (optional) topping to the pudding itself.

                                                                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                              I don't care about the 'extra' butter and sugar the whole things sounds simply revolting. THE END.

                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                Ok. You think it sounds revolting. Fair enough. My point, though the post seems to have been removed, was that to say the recipe for bread pudding called for "added" butter and sugar was inaccurate.

                                                                                                I'd also point out, for what it's worth, that Michael Chiarello, who generally seems to get the thumbs up from chowhounds, also has a recipe for donut bread pudding. And I came across a similar donut bread pudding recipe in Gourmet magazine (or a magazine of similar caliber) within the past year.

                                                                                                Paula's cooking is what it is; she makes no apologies and certainly doesn't mislead anyone about it. Give the woman a break.

                                                                                          2. re: Fuser

                                                                                            Given the decline in TVFN programming, are there food programs on other channels worth watching (besides No Res)?
                                                                                            P.S. If TVFN really cared about food, J. Gold would be in somebody's office right now developing a show.

                                                                                            1. There are people I would call real Chowhounds, people who loves food not caring whether the food came in a styofoam box or out of a dark dank hole in the wall joint, as long as the food is good and it satisfies the palate. Then there are the foodies who care more about the celebrity status of the people cooking it, the amount of money they paid getting it, and how cool they look when they tell people they ate at one of these places. It stops being about the food and more about their ego, their ego Viagra.

                                                                                              Its like haute couture. How many of the clothes you see at fashion week will ever grace the bodies of the average person? How many people will actually taste the food at The French Laundry? Mind you these are all institutions, we need the avant gard to advance our minds and viewpoints, but they don't feed the rest of us.

                                                                                              Tony Bourdain was a chef at a bistro, and he is damned proud of it. He said in his book that the chefs and cooks he dealt with are the paragon of discipline and consistency in their work though mostly not so in their personal lives. They gut it out on the line to make sure that the steak frite that you got today is the same one that you got five years ago, and it will be the same one that you will get five years from now.

                                                                                              Look at all the people who are the respected chefs on FN, who are also becoming extinct at FN: Emeril, Flay, Batali, Moulton, Tsai. They have all worked on the line, they have gotten scarred physically and emotionally while busting their butts. They have been good and consistent. All the other stuff is gravy, the creative presentations and the cool taste combinations and the cooking techniques. What Bourdain does is he calls out the phonies in the world and he savages them because they need to be savaged.

                                                                                              When it is a case of style (RR, Sarah Lee, FN Challenges, 90% of FN programming now) over substance (Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Batali, etc.) I am glad someone has the cojones to call them on it. Marketers have their place, on a leash, tranquilzed and living in a dungeon until we need them.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                Me too. And he's funny. And his recipes work. Smug prick? So is Seinfeld and we all watched him.

                                                                                              2. What is up w/ all the Bourdain bashers? Seriously. For all the people that hate Bourdain, opening this thread is like ordering something at a restaurant that you know you will not like. Why order it then?! Why open this thread then?

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: adkim

                                                                                                  If we were to follow your logic, why did Bourdain even bother to review the netework? Why does he even bother turning it on ? He knows he's not going to like it. I personally am not a fan of his--used to be before his shtick wore thin. So I no longer watch him. It's not rocket science.

                                                                                                2. This isn't a fansite. Maybe you should evaluate your expectations when opening a thread. I always expect to find people on every side of an issue when reading through a thread. A healthy exchange makes for great ideas. Did you really think that this would be just a bunch of people rephrasing "Bourdain is a twisted genius" sixty times? By the way, I like the guy.

                                                                                                  1. I really respect Bourdain and agree with him even if he can get snarky and mean-spirited; I know it's all for the greater good of calling out those food personalities who are promoting mediocrity.

                                                                                                    But even if Bourdain had never step foot in a kitchen, what's wrong with having an opinion about a conglomerate that's regressing? I've never picked up a musical instrument in my adult life and I can definitely say that MTV isn't the same as it was even ten years ago.

                                                                                                    Food is the great common denominator across all cultures and classes, and the cultivation, gathering and preparation of that food should be held in the highest esteem. Bourdain is simply lashing out at the hawkers that have set up shop in the temple.

                                                                                                    1. Bourdain's freaking awesome. I'm so glad his old show has come back in a newer, better incarnation on the Travel Channel.

                                                                                                      1. I love AB. I do like some "food-entertainment" but they really need to reassess their programming. I'd like more Alton type shows, food finds that are actually worth seaking out, etc.

                                                                                                        1. I might not agree with everything Bourdain says but he lends objectivity to the Food World. We should not be misled by the TV chefs or those that lead the Glorified Kitchens.
                                                                                                          Good food is what you like!

                                                                                                          1. Wait a minute, please. Bourdain, stop and remember, is that rare exception in a food writer. He is literate. He claims that Nicholas Freeling's book started him writing; he knows who Orwell was and what Down and Out... is about; he knows who Bemelmans was. So Bourdain writes well. He has actually worked in a kitchen and knows what it's all about. No nonsense here, people. He has elected to pursue some fantasies or interests and televise them, and that's an interesting trip that many of us are interested in. He has written interestingly about food and the restaurant business. And, last, his piece about the Food Network seemed right on.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                Oh, that is just brilliant. If only the Travel Channel WOULD have a two episode "Bourdain, the Vampire Slayer". :-)

                                                                                                            1. We need someone like Bourdain. Someone with a public voice who says plain and simple that FN is what it is, and that is not good. There needs to be a dissenting voice to call them out. After all instead of trying to improve their programming or try anything new and original they throw themselves an award show.

                                                                                                              1. Granted Rachel Ray is not a chef, she doesn't claim to be. However I wonder if Anthony Bourdain offered enough to go to Food Network, would he then become a "bobblehead". As for Sandra Lee, no she should not even be on the food network.

                                                                                                                Also there is also a couple buttons on the remote control to change channels or turn off the tv for that matter.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: rbjllj

                                                                                                                  He had his show on the Food Network (A Cook's Tour), he left because he wasn't able to do the show he wanted. Now he's on the Travel Channel. So, he was offered enough to get him on the Food Network, but he left. Perhaps if they'd offered more money, he'd have stayed and shelved his ideas about what he wanted to be doing....but the only data point right now says he opted out (or got booted, I don't know the details).

                                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                    FN wanted to dictate where he travels to (probably to feature sponsors' products, who knows?) and Travel Channel lets him decide where he wants to go (see interview link below). I love the show, even if I don't agree with everything he does, every pose he strikes. I find him honest and he demonstrates that he learns from his travels, which is really the ultimate goal of travel.


                                                                                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                      It occurred to me while watching his scenes with the fishermen in the French Polynesia episode that all of the people he meet seem to love him. It's one thing to get on with the foodie types (that he also seems to have in all of his episodes), but another to really connect with working people who are preparing simple, authentic food. He totally gets that and its great at it.

                                                                                                                2. the link to AB's blog is dead, does anyone have another link to it?

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: The Engineer

                                                                                                                    If you go to Ruhlman's blog, it's in the Feb 07 index.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sophie fox


                                                                                                                      Bourdain is kind of a joke around our house, but that is one funny read!

                                                                                                                      One drawback to our celebrity and "personality" obsessed culture is that once you've decided the artist is a jerk/buffoon/whatever, its harder to see the art on its own merits.

                                                                                                                  2. I just now got around to reading the ultra-shocking blog entry, and I find myself asking "what's the fuss about?"
                                                                                                                    Surely it comes as a surprise to no one - at Chowhounds of all places! - that the production emperors of the Food Network are - gasp! - unclothed, as it were.
                                                                                                                    Bourdain isn't bashing the chefs, not even Rachel Ray - whatever you think of her, it's not her fault by any means that she is very gainfully employed.
                                                                                                                    Like many of you, a few years ago, I watched the Food Network more than any other network, and it made me a better home cook, and taught me a lot. Over the past couple of years, however, the dumbing-down has become impossible to ignore. I could handle Rachel Ray for half an hour when her show was surrounded with more useful, informative ones - Mario, Alton, Ming, and many more - and could certainly see the value of shows aimed at less accomlished cooks.

                                                                                                                    But Sandra Lee? I first saw her on the truly horrifying (if not as intended) Halloween show. I couldn't believe I was seeing anything so inane on the Food Network!
                                                                                                                    "Unwrapped"??? please!

                                                                                                                    I like Emeril very much and use his cookbooks all the time, but find Emeril Live generally unwatchable - but not always.
                                                                                                                    Alton is really good at what he does, and I nearly always learn something from his show, and he always makes me laugh.
                                                                                                                    I think Flay's food is terrific, but I find him hard to watch - I keep thinking that he could have a great show if they'd let him do what he does best.
                                                                                                                    (do I see a trend emerging?)
                                                                                                                    The worst food crime FN has committed is removing Molto Mario, one of the best, smartest, most intelligent shows EVER on TV, never mind just food - as important, I think in a lot of ways as "The French Chef." Removing it? Unforgiveable!
                                                                                                                    Giada was a welcome surprise - "who's this skinny girl with the celebrity last name?" but damn! she can cook, and clearly loves to eat. FN did get this right!
                                                                                                                    RR? all I can say is that the mere appearance of Ms Ray brings terror to all in my household, running, screaming, leaping at the remote before she can utter the horrifying "Y" word (but wait, it's not a word) and I'm sorry, but $40 A Day? It's creepy top watch her go to a place that I know well and proceed to rave about the least worthy food in the whole town - I followed her recommendations once - never again! and if you can't eat well for less than $40 a day anywhere in America or around the world, you're really not trying very hard.
                                                                                                                    I love Paula Deen, as much as her food really scares me - I worry about her. There are some good, non-scary things in her cookbooks, but stuff on the show is just too frightening.
                                                                                                                    And in closing, I'll pay money (I think) to see Martha Stewart vs Sandra Lee.
                                                                                                                    Thank you, Tony, for saying what needed to be said - if only FN could learn a thing or two!

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: sophie fox

                                                                                                                      Emeril's recipes have never worked for me -- not once!

                                                                                                                      1. re: sophie fox

                                                                                                                        I so agree with you about Molto Mario. He taught me Italian technique the way Julia taught me French. No one "cute" recipe is ever as enduring as learning how a culture thinks and puts it all together. If you know how to do a sauce, and know what stuff goes with what, you'll have a lifetime of fun.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sophie fox

                                                                                                                          Being nasty and negative is not the equal of being straightforward and clever. Bourdain starts each episode being reverential toward the culture he's covering. Then about half way through the episode he becomes sour and bellicose. It seems like a formula to me. He seems like he's reaching for some kind of joy and then afraid of really experiencing it in all its fullness.

                                                                                                                        2. I wanted to read this blog, but the link no longer exists. Dern!

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. Wow. I'm surprised how many people on this thread dislike Bourdain. I lov e the guy. And, he's not all smart ass. THe episode of A Cook's Tour in which he and his brother visited the French village where their family vacationed was quite touching.

                                                                                                                            Anyway, his blog he referred to Greg Achatz "and that guy in Australia who stole all his recipes". Who was the Aussie in question?