HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Bourdain: Love Him? Hate Him?

I started this post after reading through a good deal of the posts in the Mario Battali left the Food Network thread and noticed that the replies took a sharp turn toward Bourdain.

Here are a few thoughts and observations about AB:
I love reading him (he's a good writer and writes about things I find interesting--haven't read the fiction so I guess I'm not a true groupie).
When I ate at Les Halles, it was during the time when he was still executive chef. I forgot to look in the kitchen to see if he was there. The food was great.
Yes, he's the king of snark, arrogance, egocentricity, etc, but he'd be the first to tell you that. I believe it's all part of his public persona.
After watching the last episode of No Reservations, which was filmed in Hong Kong and featured the stick-riding noodle maker, I was in awe of Bourdain's humility as he watched, and in his narrative.
His blogs about Top Chef, however snarky (I swear I never use that word as much as when I'm talking about Bourdain) have consistently offered clarity and humor. He also manages to find someway to relate to each of the chefs in question, as he did with Howie this past week, that makes me think this guy has a bigger heart than he might anyone to think he does.
In terms of tv personalities, I think I'd take Bourdain any time in lieu of Rachael Ray, the southern lady, Giada, or any of the rest of the middle america tv chefs, who are meant to appeal to the masses.
When Bourdain starts to get on my nerves, I stop listening or reading. for a minute. then I always go back.

Anyway, it seems that people either love him or hate him. I'm curious about other CH folks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Love Him. Unabashadly, and to a fault. His writing style is smart and funny, with just enough attitude to let you know he KNOWS just what he's talking about. His shows are amusing, especially when he's put in an akwards situation. He's respectful in every way of the culture/country he's in, even if it means eating warthog excrement bits from the unwashed colon.

    Does he come off as smarmy to some? Yes, he can. But, keep in mind, some of us are highly amused by this, and are probably this way ourselves. (maybe not as much..)
    I wish I could have eaten at Les Halles while he was still executive chef, but it wasen't meant to be.

    Oh, and I know for certain that a good number of his female fans find him SEXY. For me, he's not Brad Pitt gorgeous, it's all in the attitude, and that's pretty sexy, when it comes to AB.

    3 Replies
      1. re: Honeychan

        it's the lanky, hyper, mick jagger-ish sex appeal - totally my thing ;-)

        I'm somewhere in the middle. I enjoy watching him and reading his work. I haven't seen the Hong Kong show yet, but his show in Beirut really moved me.
        I think he's a great commentator and plays his role well. I'm not a groupie though.

        1. re: pescatarian

          I agree with the exception of the fact that I am a groupie.

      2. Oh boy, are you going to get some heavy-duty responses to this one! Yeah, I'd say "snarky" is a good adjective. I've read all his books, he's an excellent writer. Check out his little history book on Typhoid Mary! I unashamedly enjoy "No Reservations". Hey, who else would even think about getting Marky Ramone to eat dinner with him? He's bad boy sexy, he does know how to cook (despite other posts to the contrary) and I'd certainly like to hang out with him. But, he does get to be a little predictable in his bashing of vegetarians, how old and out of shape he is. But he can take me out to dinner any time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: houndgirl

          Yes, Houndgirl...Having a meal with AB would be a treat. And thanks for the tip about his Typhoid Mary book...I shall have to check that one out.

        2. I like him. I recently read an article, I can't remember where, that said he will absolutely eat anything they give him on No Reservations, and go for seconds, because you never know when you'll run into someone again and he wouldn't want to offend his hosts, who are giving you the gift of their best food. I thought that was a great attitude to have. Also, he said how disappointed he is with Rachael Ray, who has a ton of power in the industry but wastes it on the safe bets. I couldn't agree more. Another subject all together, but I've never seen Rachael Ray do anything that's made me understand why she's so famous and popular. I was glad HE said it.

          Also, I think it's a pretty amazing feat to write entire books about food and the restaurant industry that are interesting enough to keep the attention of people who aren't foodies and/or in the business.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

            On the note of comparing him and Rachel Ray: When I watch Bourdain I feel immediately compelled to jump on the next plane to whereever he is, so much so that it hurts that I can't find the exact items here in Seattle. Meanwhile Rachel Ray once featured a restaurant directly across the street from my house (which I just moved into) that I still can't be bothered to get to.

          2. Like Honeychan, I love him. Unabashedly. Your last sentence about him getting on my nerves doesn't happen with me. I truly appreciate that he will try virtually any food that is put in front of him, out of respect to his hosts. His writing is compelling, and it draws in people like me who've never been in a professional kitchen and makes me feel like I've *been* there.

            Yes, he has a snarky persona he puts out to the public, but reading his writing about he and his daughter shows me he's a real person - a pussycat in real life.

            9 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              I've given some thought to my last comment about AB getting on my nerves. I think I'm over it.

              1. re: pfarrell

                LOL! He can grow on you, that's for sure. But I also know he can irritate beyond all get-out.

              2. re: LindaWhit

                Oh, AB dosen't get on my nerves AT ALL..*LOL* I could watch him 24/7, as I am in love with his voice as well as his personality onscreen. I wrote what I did, as one of my good friends can only watch him for so long, before "he gets on her nerves". So, after hearing her thoughts on AB, i'm well aware he's not everyone's cup of tea.

                BTW Linda, what news have you found about his new daughter?? She was born on me and my husband's anniversary, April 9th. I bet being a father has melllowed him, just a bit, hopefully giving him new insights on life. It will be really nice to watch a "newer" AB, and hope the things his fans love about him are only made better with her in his life.

                1. re: Honeychan

                  Honey - my comment re: "...your last sentence..." was referring back to the OP. I can see you are as much in love with AB as I am. :-)

                  Re: his daughter; just the brief comment I believe he made on Ruhlman's blog, about 3 months after she was born - said comment I guess would have been just a few months ago! You can check to see if it's here: http://blog.ruhlman.com/

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  what???? he has a daughter???? this is the first i'm hearing of that! i knew when he wrote Kitchen Confidential he had a wife, and i assumed that he got divorced because he never talks about her anymore. but daughter??? am i mistaken, is he NOT divorced? or is this a new relationship?

                  i got to eat at Les Halles when he was still there (tho maybe not THERE) - it was wonderful. i saw him speak at City Arts & Lectures in SF. he is really bright, quick, and funny. i sometimes find his shows a little "canned" - sometimes focussing too much on personalities when i want it to be all about the food. but he has a true understanding of food and i love his respect for all cultures, as well as his fearlessness when it comes to trying anything.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    I'm pretty sure it's a new relationship, maria.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      ok, interesting. i was kinda sad when it seemed like he was no longer with his wife, because it seemed he had a lot of respect for her in his first book.

                      but what do i know about a person's private life? maybe he was a pain in the ass to her!

                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        New relationship. I mourned when I heard he had remarried. I was still holding out hope!!!!

                    2. Hate him. Unabashedly. I'm sure he has some very positive qualities. Posters to this thread have referenced some of them. But I can't stand him long enough to ever see those things. I can never make it past his incredibly arrogant and obnoxious, pseudo-intellectual, desperate-to-impress, even more desperate-for-attention, always over the top delivery and writing. His whole demeanor, including his writing style, stirs nothing but loathing in me. I forced, forced my way through Kitchen Confidential, searching eagerly for something to like. After all, so many posters who know alot about food and writing and whom I respect are such fans. Plus, I freakin' LOVED my roast chicken at Les Halles. I WANTED to like him. But no dice. I finished the last page of that book and swore I'd never read another. I cringe when I see he's the guest judge on Top Chef -- in large part because I know it'll inspire a large number of posters here to wax poetic about his wonderful-ness in all the threads about the show. And that's almost worse than sitting through him for an hour. Blech.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: charmedgirl

                        LOL! I guess you're not thrilled that he's on TC3 this coming Wednesday night. :-)

                        1. re: charmedgirl

                          So we can put you down as undecided??

                          DT

                        2. He's cool, like his show,would love to go some of those odd places with him,and learn about foods that are strange to me.

                          1. pro Bourdain. I love the fact that he is respectful of the culture and food of the places he has been to. He knew that eating the wild boar anus was going to hurt later, but not to do so would be disrespectful. I respect that. I have read all his food related books and I like his POV. I feel that he isn't wearing rose colored glasses when he talks about something or someone and I like that.

                            In his book Kitchen Confidential he states, " Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn."

                            If that is snarky, so be it, but it is a great statement. Note: I was a vegetarian for years.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: septocaine_queen

                              I thought he referred to raw foodists as the Hezbollah of vegetarians? Maybe he said that later, years after KC was published? I do notice he uses the same lines/jokes in variation at different times. (Hey, if it's a good schtik...) I swear I heard him say that on an episode of NR, but maybe I'm mistaken...

                              1. re: amyzan

                                I am sure you're right. It is not like he would have changed his thoughts on militant vegetarians. KC was published in 2000 well before NR and A Cooks Tour were on TV.

                                1. re: septocaine_queen

                                  Yeah, a lot of his lines from KC are repeated in The Nasty Bits, a compilation of articles and essays. In "Woody Harrleson: Culinary Muse," he makes the Hezbollah crack about raw foodists.

                                  Thing is, I have a copy that has commentary in the back, written a year later, and most of it is very self deprecating and backs off the original pieces' bad assness (a real turn off, since I love the bad boy snark so much). I am a huge fan, and forgiving of the phrase repetition, because, after all, he is a chef turned writer and not the other way around.

                                  His is the only blog worth reading on Top Chef (sorry Ted Allen). And I loved it when he skewered Rocco.

                                  Not sure I would like to have a meal with him as half as much as I would like to get fall on the floor drunk with him!

                                  1. re: julietg

                                    Um... ok. eew. What would be the point in that.

                                    1. re: julietg

                                      I think I'd love to have the meal with him first, than toss back a few stiff ones. Best of both worlds. :)

                              2. I think he's a very entertaining author. It's sad that they cleaned him up so much for television. The cynical Hunter S Thompson style doesn't quite work as well when it's edited down to a 'G' rating for TV.

                                1. I like AB and appreciate his sense of perspective on things. His coverage of Beruit was great and a lot that has carried over to the rest of his show. He has general respect for other cultures and food and while that's something you'd expect from other food personalities on TV...you rarely see it (at least not with the new(er) breed). Mostly however you get a real sense he actually enjoys things, or hates them.

                                  He use to be much harder to take and frankly I couldn't get through Kitchen Confidential because he was a bit full of himself at that point (which he now admits) but he's calmed down and presents well on TV. Sure he's snarky but in there is the truth. Right now I'm a fan of his blogs on Bravo...while he gave Howie a bit of a hard time, AB admitted w/o much fuss that he was also a journeyman chef. Not many people would be so frank. In that sense, his self-deprecating sense of humor balances the snark.

                                  1. I absolutely adore him, and I guess the word "unabashedly" should follow :)

                                    I do have to agree that, with Kitchen Confidential, he was very full of himself, I believe he has mellowed with age to become, simply, sure of himself. I find it fascinating that he can do all he does so well, even if he does proclaim himself to be a "journeyman of a chef". And if I wasn't over-the-top about the guy, the Hong Kong installment of No Reservations definitely put me there. For the people who don't understand the allure of watching "food shows", as some of my friends call them, I would only point them to this episode and hope they'd get it. And, if nothing else, any Top Chef fan would have to agree his blogs are spot on every week.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: phee

                                      Love him....grrrr think he is sexy as hell. The attitude, the heavy smoking, drinking, over eating all with that wit, flat out dreamy!

                                    2. His best episodes of No Reservations, such as the recent Hong Kong segment, are the stuff of great television: substantial, fascinating, entertaining, reverent and mouth-watering. His sub-par episodes, such as the one in India wherein he decided on a James Bond type theme, are disappointing though still more worthwhile than much of whatever else is on the tube. At times, I find myself missing the shorter Cook's Tour format, where the focus was much more consistently on the food. Although I realize that the shtick segments are imposed, in large part, by the network's desire to play off of Bourdain's persona, it ultimately falls upon the host of the show - and its' guiding spirit - to stand behind all creative decisions. That said, again, it's an excellent show.

                                      Bourdain the man? Can't say I know him. The persona has been covered extensively, both on this board and in the press at large - what to say that hasn't been said? I'll just add that, if I could have anyone's fame, it would be Bourdain's type of fame: a guy who just can decide - as he discussed in a recent on-line article - to move to China and Southeast Asia, seemingly at the drop of a hat, in order to travel, eat and write a book. That's an enviable, good type of fame. Can't say the man hasn't earned it.
                                      P.

                                      1. Love him.
                                        Love the snark, love the humor, love the sarcasm.
                                        Love the fact that he's in love with not only the food, but the methods and the people who make it.
                                        I'm not ashamed to admit it.

                                        1. Love him with no reservations.

                                          1. i really like him too. his tone is harsh but it's for humour and it's what makes him different from the rest. for me, his appeal is in his honesty, whether about his own writing and role in food to his commentary on other celebuchefs. he says and eats what others only wish they could but are afraid to do themselves but instead of coming off like a jerk or a daredevil, his taste/experience descriptions and ability to back up his commentary make him good at what he does. I also feel that as much as he puts certain ppl down, he isn't afraid to pile on the praise where he feels it's deserved.

                                            1. I dont really hate him(lifes too short to hate anyone, especially a t.v. "charactor"), but I know I dont really like him.

                                              His pompous attitude, and comments are over the top, and not groundbreaking, or really that insightfull. Odd that so many seem to place him on a pedestal for being such a jerk sometimes.

                                              I do however like, and agree with his opinions on vegetarians.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                And I completely disagree with you on his view on vegetarians. He finally realized -- or at least was told -- that he was insulting millions and milions of vegetarians around the world. So he (grudgingly, IMO) added a disclaimer about religious reasons. That to me is incredibly simplistic. There is *huge* variety of reasons why people don't eat meat, and for him (or anyone) to single out one reason for removing his wrath shows (self imposed) ignorance.

                                                If he's referring to "militant" vegetarians he should just -- and always -- say so. And even the self-righteousness of those vegetarians aren't any worse than those of "militant" carnivores/omnivores like himself. He can barely contain himself. He went to the place where Taoism was born and spent most of hs food commentary on how good it tasted *even without meat*. Talk about back-handed compliments -- he's a chef; why should he be surprised vegetarian food can taste great?

                                                Other than that I love and dislike him. He has a sharp wit, is verbally creative, and is often spot on, but is so full of himself that even when people agree with him he can't shut up -- witness the Bizzare Foods where he was a guest.

                                                1. re: Richard 16

                                                  Its a free country, and I find his views on that subject refreshing. Few will voice their views, or opinions on it knowing they will catch hell for saying how they feel.

                                                  Either way, I dont watch him on t.v, or read his books, so he really does not matter to me.

                                              2. MMmmm...yup, a big crush on AB.
                                                Would love to eat an exotic meal with him, drink, and make-out.

                                                1. I thoroughly enjoy No Reservations and try to never miss it. Reruns of NR are preferable to most anything else likely to be on at the same time. I read and enjoyed Kitchen Confidential, and have Cook's Tour and Nasty Bits waiting to be read. I have also read Bone In The Throat, and enjoyed it enough that I also have several of his other fiction works in my reading pipeline. The Lebanon show was a masterpiece and deserves any award it gets. If he is 'snarky' about other food/media personalities, at least he is 'snarky' with a great deal of humour. I love the reverence that he shows to the least of those he visits on NR, and his attitude of "I'll have what he's having the way he's having it" should be the watchword of Chowhounds everywhere. And the places that he visits on his show become more interesting to me after viewing them.

                                                  So count me as a fan, but not a fanatic. I am not a Tony-head and never will be. I couldnt watch a NR marathon any more than I could watch all the Sharpe's movies in a sitting, read all my Harry Turtledove novels one after another, or listen to all my Muddy Waters CDs end to end.

                                                  I am surprised at the vitriol he brings out in people. Turn him off if you don’t like him. Other than Bill Clinton and Howard Stern, I cant think of anybody who generates the same type of love/hate dichotomy, and I am amazed by it.

                                                  1. i don't know about love-- i like him very much, though. his total entertainment ratio is very high in a pretty martha stewartified mass media environment, though i agree he's been scrubbed and censored a great deal for general consumption.

                                                    1. Love him. Love his style, both on tv and in writing (I read part of Kitchen Confidential and LOVED it - such a great writing voice!).

                                                      I don't care if he's "snarky" or "obnoxious" - I think he's earned his place to say what he feels on the subject of food. He's run a VERY successful restaurant.

                                                      I also don't think he's disrespectful - he just tells it like it is. And I'll take that over soothing the masses any day. (Can't wait to see him on TC3!!!!)

                                                      Not only that - he relented when Howie quoted from his book - he was amused, flattered and agreed.

                                                      1. Hate to love him.

                                                        BF and I really enjoyed the labor day "no reservations" marathon. I do, now, like him very much.

                                                        1. LOVE LOVE LOVE HIM!!!!! His shows are always very entertaining and educational. And he is a good writer...
                                                          Oh, and yes he is sexy!!!

                                                          1. I have loved his books and his TV programs. Atteneded a booksigning he did and he is in person exactly as he appears on TV and in his books. Hysterically funny IMO.

                                                            1. Bourdain is great. I love his shows and books. His schtick does get a bit old but he's on balance he's great. Though I don't think I'd like to meet him... he strikes me as a guy that you'd meet and be disappointed with the encounter. I've met a number of celebs during my time as a newsphotog and usually the experience is a disappointment.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: slotcarnews

                                                                I think he is great! I had the pleasure of meeting him at one of his book signings a couple of years back and was not disappointed at all.

                                                                Here is the link to my report after meeting him:
                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/64519

                                                                1. Totally adore him. Everything I would have written has been said already by everyone else as it relates to his attitude, his take on food, his passion, his writing, etc.

                                                                  Wish I could keep up with him to party, would have had to meet him when we were younger.

                                                                  And yes, I would have jumped him too like many of the other women have mentioned - way sexy ;-) I might even excuse his cigarette smoke breath to be near him like that!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                    It's also nice to have someone around who doesn't insult your intelligence!

                                                                  2. Hate him. But like what he does for adventurous eating in general.

                                                                    But I personally find him to be such an egotistical jerk. Something about his personality just rubs me the wrong way. If I were a professional celebrity food person, I would not feel free to say this.

                                                                    Yes, he is more talented and less twit like than Rachel Ray and many others, and he can cook circles around me with both hands and feet tied behind his back., but he's not too great in that he, as a media figure, publically insults them left and right. Very few other chefs come out publically and say bad things about him in return.

                                                                    It's great to be good at what you do, it isn't so great to be that good and then put other professionals down. Pros just shouldn't do that to each other, at least in such a public forum.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Diana

                                                                      I like him despite his gargantuan ego, but I guess that comes with the territory these days.

                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                        You consided Rachel Ray a professional?

                                                                      2. Bourdain?

                                                                        Two thumbs way up. He's the most entertaining guy in the food business ... or at least alongside it.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: EastBayMike

                                                                          I would say one of the two, oddly enough the other guy's initials are A.B.

                                                                        2. "Love" and "hate" are such strong words to attribute to a TV personality, as one poster pointed out. So I can only say I dislike him. Diana articulated my thoughts better than I could. As for those who would want to "make out" with him...ick! I'd rather wrap my arms around Mr. Roly Poly, Pillsbury Doughboy, Andrew Zimmerman.

                                                                          To each his/her own!

                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                          1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                            It's Zimmern, not Zimmerman! AB is much more than a TV personality, as we've been trying to point out.

                                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                                              Thank you for the correction on his name! I don't know why I always thought it was Zimmerman.

                                                                              I don't agree with your comment on AB--but as I wrote--to each his/her own.

                                                                              Btw, I just went to his website: http://www.andrewzimmern.com/. Pretty amazing. I heart AZ (sorry, Diana, about the "cute nickname." I couldn't resist!).

                                                                            2. re: gloriousfood

                                                                              Yeah, it's sort of going too far when a celebrity chef becomes a "dreamy dreamy idol" for adults.

                                                                              When you Idolize someone, you tend to ignore certian things and focus totally on good points, real or imagined. They create cute nicknames or such-"AB" for example about someone they don't really know, and will defend him to the death.

                                                                              People Idolized Michael Jackson (the singer, not the beer guy), and some do, despite the fact that he is an utter freak. Remember all the nuts outside of his last trial?

                                                                              Women were utterly in the spell of Liberace, and swooned over him, wanted to be his main squeeze. Well, gosh, they missed something big.

                                                                              Heck, Charles Manson had a cadre of devoted followers. People are still ardent Tom Cruise fans, and he's lost it.

                                                                              When I was a young thing below legal age, I adored Patrick Swayze, and I can't figure out quite why now. I do still watch "Dirty Dancing" once a year, on my annual "Dirty Dancing Cheese Party".

                                                                              I dunno, I wouldn't want to make out with anyone who smokes that much, or smokes at all. Bourdain is sort of gangly and crusty, but I'll imagine his "bad boy" image attracts a lot of ladies who go for that kind of thing,.

                                                                              But like him or not, I can imagine that a conversation with Bourdain (I would never be rude to anyone wheter I liked thier public image or not) would be pretty darn interesting.

                                                                              One thing we all must remember is that as a media celebrity, what you see on TV, in blogs and at book signings may not really be the way the man really is.

                                                                              I should amend my stand by saying, "I dislike the image he puts forth in the popular media". Since I've never met him.

                                                                              I mean, it's not as if he beats baby seals or anything.

                                                                              1. re: Diana

                                                                                Oh come on - "cute nickname?" AB is just way easier to type than Anthony Bourdain or just plain Bourdain. I certainly don't think of it as a cute nickname, nor do I idolize him, the way a young tween idolizes the actors on High School Musical, or their parents idolized Donny Osmond. :-) However, I am impressed with his background and how he worked his way up the culinary ladder (despite many falls from grace along the way).

                                                                                And his faults? Smoking is a big one for me. But that's his choice. We've all got flaws. AB just doesn't care whether you know his or not. He's a take 'em or leave 'em kind of person.

                                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                                  "I mean, it's not as if he beats baby seals or anything."

                                                                                  But he happily eats them.

                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                    He does? I missed that episode. My cabe company was bought out by Time Warner, who decided I didn't need the Travel Channel anymore.

                                                                                    1. re: Diana

                                                                                      Diane - I freaked out a few weeks ago when I thought TW had done the same thing to us in Charlotte. I called them and they told me they just moved it way up the dial. So I can only watch it from the Tv with the cable box but it's still there, thank God.

                                                                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                        You lucky thing! They told us if we wanted it, we'd have to pay extra! That and Animal Planet.

                                                                                      2. re: Diana

                                                                                        Read the preface in his book, The Nasty Bits. It's a collection of magazine articles he has written.

                                                                                2. I take him with several grains of salt and love him flaws and all. For a guy who looks like he could be the lead in a midnight theatre production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and wears earrings, the man has serious machismo. That's my biggest bone to pick.

                                                                                  1. I believe Anthony Bourdain is to be put on a pedestal and worshipped for the following reasons:

                                                                                    1) He is a trained Chef who actually COOKED most of his life producing terrific and memorable dishes and perfecting his craft. He knows a professional kitchen and what it takes to run one and cook in one . . .day in and day out.

                                                                                    2) He had the guts to want to be more than just a Chef and the courage to believe he might actually have something memorable, interesting and humorous about his profession, which he certainly did starting with his book Kitchen Confidential. (Can you image how many times he must have second-guessed himself when writing that first book? Will people like me? Perhaps, I am just a Chef fooling myself? Am I a good enough writer? Trust me, it is tough to one day wake up and call yourself a writer. It takes guts.)

                                                                                    3) He has a sense of adventure . . .in his travel, his ability to eat or try anything placed in front of him and generally in his outlook on life (switching careers, smoking, tattoos, roller derby). As a FOODIE, he makes me want to get out of my armchair and go with him to the farthest reaches of the world to understand their culture and traditions around food. I want to think and believe that I also would have the ability to at least try anything placed in front of me that was cooked by human hands for my pleasure and enjoyment. No Reservations is an extension of his philsophy and relationship with food and how it continues to change his life. He is presenting it to us to accept or reject . . .but it is his view of how diverse the foodie world can be.

                                                                                    4) His personality does not strike me as egotistical, it strikes me as honest. I think Anthony wants to try (as much as he can) to continue to be true to himself and his opinions on what is going on in the world of food. It is part of his personality and has infused his public persona as well. It must get very difficult with agents, handlers and TV censors to really say what you think and have the courage to stand behind your opinions in such a public way. Anthony does not strike me as a "hater" of the food biz and those people in it. How hypocritical would that be considering he is one participating in that frenzy as well? I think he would be one of the first one to admit that to us. I think when he says what he says, it is with the intent to be honest and true to himself and to all of us. Frankly, I agree with him on Rachel Ray and others. I don't want all of my food entertainment to be sugar-coated and EVOO spoon-fed. I want to see some grit, I want to see some raw foodie experiences as well. Anthony delivers.

                                                                                    5) He is not following the Food Network, cookie-cutter, celebrity chef formula to achieve his success. He it choosing to do in on his own terms, using skills he believes he has and clearly enjoys - writing and traveling etc. If he were interested in following the pack he would have his own line of Cooking with the Rock Stars cookbooks, he would have a cooking show on probably on MTV, he would own one funky little restaurant and one French coffee shop and bakery in NYC and be opening a new place at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. He would have his own brand of cigarette's and be hocking plain black T-shirts for the Gap while he was quietly working with a designer on developing his own clothing line called "DIS-DAIN". He would be working on taking over David Letterman's spot on night-time TV, and with that voice he would be looking to start his own satallite radio station and finally he would star in his own rock and roll band. To my knowledge he has done, none of those things.

                                                                                    Like him or not. He is REAL. And he might be one of the best things to happen to this whole "celebrity chef-dom" phenom . . .Rock on Anthony, rock on!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: jvergara

                                                                                      I think the man himself would object to being put on a pedestal and worshipped.

                                                                                      NO ONE should be put on a pedestal and worshipped.

                                                                                      I'll wager odds that he has a whole cadre of people working on the image he presents. EVERYONE who is big in the public eye has publicity and image consultants.

                                                                                      Also, he is not the first or only food adventurer. The thirsty Traveler, Andrew Zimmern, Howard Johnson, Mark Twain, Rick Steves, Micheal Palin and many, many more have done the same thing-either as parts of their shows/travels or as the main focus.

                                                                                    2. Like him a lot, but very tired of him.

                                                                                      I read "Kitchen Confidential" in 2001, gave everyone copies. I was a HUGE fan for a few years. Went to a cooks-and-books dinner where he was the guest of honor. I've been following almost everything he does over the past 6 years and am growing very weary of his schtick. I do still like him, however, but I roll my eyes a lot now.

                                                                                      1. Love him. Anyone that can make a joke about fisting a samoyed, can't be all bad. Oh, & the term I use to describe him is Ugly-Sexy.

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: louweezy

                                                                                          "Anyone that can make a joke about fisting a samoyed, can't be all bad."

                                                                                          I think I love you.

                                                                                          1. re: Atomica

                                                                                            To me he represents genuiness to the 'nth degree...he can get away with his attitude simply because he has to knowledge and depth of experience to go with it......the complete opposite of Rachael Ray who, to me, seems contrived.

                                                                                            1. re: tony noriega

                                                                                              I dunno, in my mind, there is no excuse for such an attitude.

                                                                                              His experience is there, but imagine someone with the same experience without the "tude', which to me actually seems forced and fake.

                                                                                              I think we saw more of the real man on that old episode when he was in France with his brother.

                                                                                              1. re: Diana

                                                                                                Somehow given Bourdain is French American, who traveled to France (quite a lot if I recall) as a kid...I think the attitude towards the French needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Not saying the attitude is all good but I think some of it was some bemused self-loathing and he can't help himself...i.e., he's the kid in the back of the room who occasionally gets beat up but he's funny and he's often right just the same.

                                                                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                  Oh, I thought that was a nice episode. Full of nostalgic love for his childhood and fun with his brother.

                                                                                                2. re: Diana

                                                                                                  That episode brought a tear to my eye. Awe!

                                                                                              2. re: Atomica

                                                                                                Atomica-Thank You. I find his sense of humor, delightful. It's dark, & obscene.
                                                                                                He smokes, he drinks, he swears, AND he can cook. What more could a girl ask for?

                                                                                                1. re: louweezy

                                                                                                  someone who will be alive to cook after 50?

                                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                                    Bourdain is 51 so you get your wish.

                                                                                                    We get it you don't like the man. He drinks, smokes, and has bad things to say about other food professionals (gasp). Like most of the others in this thread I like him. He is smart, funny, curious and knows of what he speaks.

                                                                                            2. Love Love Love. I watched part of "Feasting on Asphalt" with the other AB, and found him to be downright condescending to his interview subjects, and just plain annoying. A.Bourdain seems to genuinely mesh well with the individuals he encounters in his travels, and I don't ever get the "Let's mess around with the locals" vibe I get from A. Brown. The fact that A.Bourdain used to be "bridge and tunnel" like me scores points as well.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: anna banana

                                                                                                Love him, and excited he is going to be talking in DC! I wish I could just sample everything he eats, everywhere.

                                                                                                1. re: anna banana

                                                                                                  I so agree here, about the other AB (is that like "the other white meat?). We eagerly anticipated Feasting on Ashphalt 2 and found nothing but smugness and rudeness and holier than thou crap. And they way he treats his crew, even if its just mugging for the camera, brings to mind the term "insufferable b*stard". But I love him still, yet love the crustier and wiser AB much more.

                                                                                                2. I find him hilarious and strangely charming. I think this season of NR is much better than last year. He seems to have mellowed out a bit and spends more time poking fun at himself.

                                                                                                  I'm another person who met him on a book tour a number of years back. He was inordinately pleased that I had Bone in the Throat (I had purchased it in hard back years earlier). I was hugely pregnant at the time and he wrote all over my books "Old Skool" but and comments that I could obviously no longer hack it (sounds obnoxious but was truly funny - I was about two weeks from my due date and the baby was sideways so I was HUGE. The baby started moving around while he was talking to me and we made all sorts of Alien jokes.)

                                                                                                  He told some really funny stories not in his books and was generally very charming and polite.

                                                                                                  1. I don't have cable or get to watch much TV so I can't comment on that but Kitchen Confidential is real and Anthony Bourdain has my respect. I've worked in kitchens for almost half my life, he reminds me of a lot of people I have enjoyed working with. All good chefs have strong opinions and aren't afraid of voicing them. Sometimes people in the outside world have trouble dealing with it.

                                                                                                    1. Really like him because he seems to know he's 'playing the game' but he's trying to play it to his advantage. Recently, he made a statement, I believe at a James Beard dinner, that he wasn't going to take part in any more of that type of event unless there's a greater acknowledgement of all the Latino guys who cook 70 percent of all the food in the kitchens. (paraphrasing here).

                                                                                                      (BTW a shout-out to Just Visiting on the WDC board. Can't reply there cause the topic's locked, but I did manage to get tix to the Bourdain Smithsonian event.)

                                                                                                      1. I love Tony Bourdain. He is very opinionated,but he did his time in the trenches and knows what he is talking about. He can be extremely crass and snarky, but he can also be very humble and self-depreciating.
                                                                                                        I loved the show where he went back to revist the food of northern France, and his show about Beirut had me in tears.

                                                                                                        He obviously loves food and is willing to eat anything. Id jump at the chance to travel with him anywhere, If he could overlook the fact that I worked the pastry station. The man is very sexy and I envy his wife.

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                          It's a good thing we all have different opinions of sexiness. Some people find guys lie that jus the hottest thing. I sorta see Bourdain and Jagger as overly skinny, crusty and rather unhealthy.

                                                                                                          Than again, I don't like bulging muscles and such, either.

                                                                                                          Like any of that matters to anyone else.

                                                                                                          But there are plenty f sexy jerks out there, and ugly nice people, and vice versa.

                                                                                                          Sexiness has nothing to do with cooking, thank goodness.

                                                                                                          But I suppose what a lot of people find really attractive is the person within-the intellect, attitude, values, that sort of thing. Of course, cooking ability helps, too.

                                                                                                          1. re: Diana

                                                                                                            actually, sexiness has a lot to do with cooking. people who aren't sensual can't cook very well.

                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                              Sure. every great chef in the history of cooking was a studmuffin.

                                                                                                              Sorry, I ain't swallowing it. Sensuality can be seen in different ways, and some chefs who were fabulous (and are) are not what you'd call sexy.

                                                                                                              Seunsuality, sure. sexiness in terms of physical attraction value, no. then again, sexiness is a subjective thing. It often can be determined by the viewer. Sensuality is really an attribute within the individual which can be expressed in many ways besides appearance and attitude.

                                                                                                              I really agree with you, though. I would find a good chef sexy, especially if he cooked for me!

                                                                                                              1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                Once upon a time, in a land called LA, I was totally "woo-e" by a chef who would not be considered conventionally attractive (totally had a belly, was short, bit his nails, a bit sloppy sometimes, messy eater) but his skills in the kitchen were exceptional and he knew how to turn me on...he's cook my dream dishes while I ate at the bar in his rest., he'd make an amazing dessert and leave the rest early once a week and we'd take the dessert home, curl up in bed and watch a video...sometimes we'd just soak in the tub (he's scrub my back and feet) sipping something good and nibbling on something from a thai place or something....it was his passion for food and decadance and his ability to always know what I wanted in my mouth...sometimes scallops and risotto, somtimes a refreshing dessert...going to Korean BBQ and ordering anything we've never seen/eaten before...he was adventurous, sensitive, artisitc with his pasion, sometimes volitle and crazy with his staff, but always a pussycat with me.
                                                                                                                Biggest turn -on was his gift with all things edible and that won me over in those days....then I moved away.

                                                                                                                1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                                                                  So he wasn't so sexy you hung around for him? or was he taken by another lucky gal?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                    I booked a job outta state for 5 years...I would come to town some times and do some food-styling with him for photo shots or go hang out at odd ethinic places...by then, we had grown older, he found another, we moved on.
                                                                                                                    I was only 23 when we had met.
                                                                                                                    But wow, I miss some of those times.
                                                                                                                    I may take a peek at his new place sometime soon. I hear it's doing well.

                                                                                                                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                                                                      What is it called? Any chef who takes complete joy in eating is worth a visit!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                        I'd be happy to tell you over a drink sometime, but I don't want to put it on the boards.
                                                                                                                        If you want to meet me in Culver City while I'm on my Culver City Food Crawl next week, let me know.
                                                                                                                        I'll be hitting Beacon on Tuesday and I think Fraiche on Wed.

                                                                                                                        1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                                                                          oooh, ooh, or I could drop you an email addy. I'll also be at the beer tavern at the LA county fair on the 30th.

                                                                                                        2. LOVE HIM!!!! Great sense of adventure! How does he stay so slim?

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: luswei

                                                                                                            yeah especially after he had the honor to kill the pig to feed that village. He was sucking on that cancer stick like it provided oxygen to him.

                                                                                                          2. Hot, hot, hot, smoking...... Huge crush on the guy since reading Kitchen Confidential. Used to work in bars and restaurants and he really nailed a lot of experiences. Charming, smarmy, intelligent, obnoxious, loves punk, my kind of man!

                                                                                                            1. Love him. His hybrid brand of food, drink, travel and anthropology is fascinating. He isn't flawless, but he knows that and makes sure that his viewers/readers know that too. His show has not been dumbed down to a lowest common denominator like the majority of food or travel shows and he makes a real effort to show you about the places he visits and why they are what they are. It's like the difference in taking a trip with a tour on a bus or going to a place and intentionally going off the beaten track.

                                                                                                              His obnoxiousness, smarm or whatever you call it is a breath of fresh air. Vodka and Marlboro laced fresh air. In an era where too many people are afraid of having an opinion, to have someone who is so overt at his likes or distastes for things or people really makes for far more entertaining television than the vast majority of anyhting that is pumped out of the networks.

                                                                                                              Vive Bourdain!

                                                                                                              1. I LOVE him. Always entertaining.

                                                                                                                1. I love him and I don't easily like people who dislike him. However, I also think that he is not as tough as he wants us to believe.

                                                                                                                  1. Bourdain was and is a much needed antidote to a great deal of current food idiocy. Where fashion and celebrity seem to trump quality, he's fearless in saying that the emperor's cook has no apron. He's arrogant in the face of pretense, but is humble in the face of quality. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see No Reservations, but I recall his tremendous respect for the Vietnamese, as a people with a cuisine, and as a people, period. And when he cries "old School!", and offers me up some unspeakable morsel lovingly braised, I shall follow him.

                                                                                                                    1. Ya, he's loud, unabashed, cynical, typical NYer, whatever all you people said.
                                                                                                                      To me, what ties all of this together and makes him so appealing is he has humility. It makes him a much more complete personality than most of the other talking heads out there.

                                                                                                                      DT

                                                                                                                      1. This just occured to me:

                                                                                                                        Bourdain has disdain (ooh, a rhyme!) for "celebrity" chefs. We could call them "Bubble Gum Chefs"-the type who would appear on "Tiger Beat for Chefs" magazine and have oodles of swooning followers who dream of "making out" and such. He pooh-poohs chefs who have fanatic fans and such. He has contempt for people who minlessly adore and go all goopy over Tyler Florence or Emeril or Giada or such. he pokes fun at them and their followers.

                                                                                                                        So, what do you think he would think of people who call him "dreamy" and "Sexy" and "are jealous of his wife"? I imagine they creep him out, sort of.

                                                                                                                        or maybe not. maybe he is the Gene Simmons of the culinary world. Probably that's it.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                          great post, I was wondering the same thing, but didnt know how to word it as well as you.

                                                                                                                          1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                            thanks, but I sure am gonna catch it from certain factions for putting the thought out in the open.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Diana

                                                                                                                            Well many people have a tendency to idolize, it's gotten us into trouble throughout the history of humankind.

                                                                                                                            That being said, what's the harm in thinking Bourdain is sexy or wishing one was married to him? I'm sure they're just tongue-in-cheek comments.

                                                                                                                            Sure Bourdain himself has a strong distaste for mindless celebrity chef worship, and the cult of mediocrity that is gaining steam on the Food Network et al. He'd probably just be bemused that some fans want to jump his bones. He's decided to be a public figure after all, and some people will goo-goo and ga-ga accordingly, is that a crime?

                                                                                                                            I like him alot because as others have said, he's basically brutally honest and funny as hell, and can back it up with real culinary experience and intelligence and common sense. As a writer myself, I enjoy his crackling turns of phrase. Maybe he's snarky for snarks sake, but I don't mind that because he actually snarks when something ought to be snarked about, snark snark. I haven't seen other celebrities with his blend of NY cynical wit and underlying humor. And I suspect, and from things I've heard, he's probably more bark than bite and is more of a prep school softie at heart (yes he's a bit of a poseur, but not enough to bother me). And as others have said, he can be warm and humble when such things are warranted. I just find him refreshing and entertaining, and I certainly don't think he is faultless either (remarrying once you get famous is so cliche). But he isn't just cocky for cockiness' sake like, say, Bobby Flay (who does get on my nerves) or Rocco DiSpirito (who I hope has learned some lessons from his precipitous crash, facelift notwithstanding.)

                                                                                                                            1. re: jeanki

                                                                                                                              Yeah, at least he doesn't stand on cutting boards in foreign countries.

                                                                                                                          3. He actually appeared to be tearing up (as in crying) on his show in Beirut. I like him a lot.

                                                                                                                            1. Love him. Really like his writing style and think his shows are great.

                                                                                                                              He's also the first to admit that he's got a checkered culinary past and was never a top rated chef.

                                                                                                                              After his show on NYC aired, I tried the places he featured. At Hagi the following Monday, who strolls in while I'm eating? Anthony Bourdain with two young men who I assume work on his show. He walked past me on his way out so I took it as an opportunity to introduce myself and thank him for recommending the place in his show. He was very friendly. Not as tall in person as I imagined (probably 6'2").

                                                                                                                              1. Big fan. He lives in my building and my mom and I usually ask him questions in the elevator. He's always gracious and polite. Looks like he has a girlfriend, though. My mom has a terrible crush on him.

                                                                                                                                1. Wow. I know several guys who constantly complain about being single. They're smart, hot, and all of them make well into six figures. Yet they can't find a decent girl to go out with them. So am I correct in thinking that instead of dressing well, working out, and working hard at their profession, these guys should instead cop a tude, start smoking, and make fun of people they hardly know? Women...

                                                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                    Yes. But they shouldn't ever use the word "tude."

                                                                                                                                    1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                      Maybe they should try making seven figures, write some books, and become world class hedonists. You've got to admit he has the coolest job in the world and seemingly lives life on his own terms. There are lots of people who dress well, work out, are good at what they do. How many Anthony Bourdains are there? How many could the world take?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: GastronautMN

                                                                                                                                        Tyler Florence has gotta be making seven figures and I personally think he's a better looking guy. Yet, I dont think he gets as much action as Bourdain. I guess it pays to be a snarky bastard. Interesting. I'm learning a lot reading this thread, lol.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                          Tyler Florence is married, for the second time. Bourdain is married too, and has a four month old daughter.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                            I have no idea what relevance this holds.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                                just because they're both married twice means nothing. They could have married and divorced for completely different reasons.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                                  My point is that they're both currently married, and both have children. I was not making any point about the number of marriages, but rather the fact that in their personal lives, these two men clearly have at least somewhat monogamous tendencies. This, even with the seven figure incomes and busy schedules, and having had at least one marriage go kaput. Their public personas are another consdieration entirely. You said you didn't think Tyler "got as much action" as Bourdain and came to the conclusion women like "snarky bastards." Maybe you were being tongue in cheek?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps I should clarify. When I said Tyler didn't get as much action as Bourdain, I meant on these types of threads. I see some Tyler lovers but they don't seem as...rabid as the Bourdain fans I'm seeing here. Therefore, their marriage status is totally irrelevant as I am not talking about their personal lives, like you apparently assumed.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                                      In reference to your post at 10:43 pm on the 14th, it seems to me a perfectly normal understanding of "gets as much action." I suppose I'm sensitive to misogynistic generalizations and I addressed it as such. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                                        Why do any of us have to care how much action a tv chef gets? Does it somehow make one better than the other?

                                                                                                                                                        One can have little sex with many wives or husbands, lots of sex with one (which may keep a marriage together..someone with many wives had the marriage crumble for a reason) and vice versa. How this adds to one's value as a human is beyond me. Some of the biggest positive contributors to society were celebate.

                                                                                                                                                        Some women DO like snarky bastards.

                                                                                                                                                        how monogamous can one be with more than one wife (not at the same time, mind you, there are laws in this country)

                                                                                                                                                        I guess it boils down to if the question "Bourdain: Love Him? Hate Him?" is referring to him professionally on TV or personally. Since few of us have ever had a personal relationship with the man, how can we judge the latter

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                            exactly diana, as usual you are right....lol my tongue is firmly implanted in my cheek

                                                                                                                                        2. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                          I find the intelligence, confidence and snarkness very sexy. I'm not sure I would marry Tony bourdain but a weekend road trip and cooking with him would defiantly be unforgettable.

                                                                                                                                        3. i like anybody, anything, any idea that makes some people nervous..i like him

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: intrepid

                                                                                                                                            Nuclear war, child molesters, odd men in dark alleys, food past it's "enjoy by" date, spiders, heights, loaded guns, kids playing with matches, dark empty parking lots, Pauly Shore movies, are among the many things that make lots of people nervous. Please tell me you don't like them.

                                                                                                                                            But I see what you're saying. Bourdain exposes something worth experiencing that is beyond a lot of people's comfort zone. Many people are stuck in a rut of boring, dull foods and refuse to touch something different that is not really a danger. These people refuse anything labeled sushi, or spicy (I knew a guy from Encenitas who refused to touch anything that even might be spicy) or from a different plant or animal, or from a different PART of an animal or from an "exotic" locale.

                                                                                                                                            These people lead sad little lives and enjoy going over and over again for bottomless breadsticks pasta and salad at Olive Garden. They drink Bud Light and make fun of the "college boy fancy pants beer" (read-anything not Bud, Miller, Heineken and other pilsner),. They feed their kids Lunchables and Oreo Cakesters with fruit roll ups every day.

                                                                                                                                            Even if their watching his show for the "gross out factor" these people are being jammed into a world they would normally refuse to venture in to.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                              Very funny and painfully accurate description of the standard American diet. Your post was actually quite Bourdainesque.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jeanki

                                                                                                                                                :) I tried! Was anyone offended?

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                I am not sure about the child molester sarcasm or dark humor about kids. I would like to think Bourdain is a little better versed.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Niftynoodle

                                                                                                                                                  I Think so.. He does strike me as rather more intelligent than the norm.

                                                                                                                                                  Jeanki just said liked anything that made people nervous

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                  Oh my Goodness, DIANA,

                                                                                                                                                  "Nuclear war, child molesters, odd men in dark alleys, food past it's "enjoy by" date, spiders, heights, loaded guns, kids playing with matches, dark empty parking lots, Pauly Shore movies, are among the many things that make lots of people nervous. Please tell me you don't like them."

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the crack-up!!! Pauly Shore Movies...eek.
                                                                                                                                                  I could scare you more, since the videos I used to watch with the chef I mentioned above, were Pee Wee Herman Videos...I think I creep myself out now too.

                                                                                                                                              3. Anthony Bourdain is the Carl Sagan of the Culinary Cosmos. Bourdain, like Sagan, is an intellectual with style. Sagan produced entertaining, yet very educational, chapters about the cosmos. Sagan lectured with the eye of a exobiologist and traveled the world to reveal to us the history of scientific knowledge, the desire to discover and to set-sail beyond, and the necessity of demonstrating respect of our earth, ourselves and other cultures so that Extra-Terrestrial Intelligent life could also respect us. Bourdain produces entertaining, yet very educational, chapters about the Culinary Cosmos --the Earth’s peoples, their cultures and their cuisines. Bourdain lectures with the eye of a chef and travels the world to reveal the history of culinary knowledge, the desire to discover and to create, and likewise he tempers his chapters as a cultural anthropologist with respect for the cultures he visits. Every new episode is like another chance to climb aboard the Spaceship of the Imagination and visit far away places and learn new ides. Yea, I love this guy Tony. He reminds me of Carl.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                                                                  "Bourdain produces entertaining, yet very educational, chapters about the Culinary Cosmos --the Earth’s peoples, their cultures and their cuisines. Bourdain lectures with the eye of a chef and travels the world to reveal the history of culinary knowledge, the desire to discover and to create, and likewise he tempers his chapters as a cultural anthropologist with respect for the cultures he visits. Every new episode is like another chance to climb aboard the Spaceship of the Imagination and visit far away places and learn new ideas"
                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                  Now THAT has to be one of the best descriptions of Bourdain and what he's all about that I've ever read. Perfect comparison, JeetJet. Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                2. Sometimes I like him and sometimes I don't. I think he is an "acquired taste, lol.....like you can always close the book or change the channel.

                                                                                                                                                  1. The problem with even asking this question is you invite those with polarized views. The indifferent don't tend to bother to post in such threads and you're also going to attract more positive responses than negative as adults don't like to just come in and say they hate people because it can come across badly unless they phrase it well and offer maturre and "valid" justifications.

                                                                                                                                                    Personally, I have a mixed response to Anthony Bourdain. If his travel shows are on and I'm flipping channels, I'll watch for awhile and I've probably seen about a dozen episodes of various things he's been on in their entirety. He's clearly talented, witty, and knowledgeable but he's also a reverse ethnocentric when it comes to dealing with American food and food culture. He'll go out of his way to be respectful and open-minded about every other culture's food including the most mundane fare but be brutally critical and bigoted about Americans. For instance, he gives a thumbs up to street yakitori in Tokyo (which, as someone who lives in Tokyo, I can tell you isn't really great 99% of the time) or praise the simplicity of a banana, Nutella and crepe sandwich in some European country but will spend half an episode druing a visit to Mexico on how stupid Americans are for liking nachos. If you missed this episode, he claims it was a handful of stale chips, cheese and peppers served up to some diplomat's wife and friends that started it all. The absurdity of this defies belief. A huge food trend doesn't start with one isolated serving but that story fits his premise that Americans are idiots for enjoying nachos (which actually, I'm not a fan of but I don't believe my tastes should define what is good food or not).

                                                                                                                                                    There is clearly a school of thought that feels admitting you're a jerk makes it okay to behave like one but I wouldn't be a member of that school. If you can't manage to show wit unless you're doing so at the expense of others then you're little better than a grade school bully. Bourdain does it with a sharper edge, better insight, and a more sophisticated vocabulary but that doesn't make it any better. The women who idolize him or find him sexy baffle me. This is not the sort of person one would want to spend a lot of time with. Eventually, you'd be the target of all that disdain (if you aren't already in a generalized fashion).

                                                                                                                                                    That being said, I do feel he educates people and his "adventures" (which are performed with a film crew and a producer in tow so it's not exactly a case of him winging it around the world by the seat of his pants) are entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                      I love AB, and so does my husband. We would BOTH like to meet him someday, and spend even just a little time with him! And if he disdained us (I doubt it somehow) then maybe there'd be a reason, like we were jerks.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                        Orchid64, AB made a point of telling himself and viewers that treating Minnesota or Las Vegas as if they were far off and exotic (which they are to me) and with similar respect he has shown for such places, his assessments couldn't continue to be dismissive and negative.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                          Orchid64: "A huge food trend doesn't start with one isolated serving"

                                                                                                                                                          Pangolin: Caesar salad.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                                            Nachos
                                                                                                                                                            Ice Cream Cones
                                                                                                                                                            Potato Chips
                                                                                                                                                            The sandwich
                                                                                                                                                            Toll House Cookies
                                                                                                                                                            Fried Ravioli (st Louis thing)
                                                                                                                                                            Beer
                                                                                                                                                            A lot of foods and trends have started with one serving or an accident int he kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                              Fried Ravioli (st Louis thing)

                                                                                                                                                              Hey, get it right, even though it is fried, the official name is TOASTED raviolis.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, but in actuality, it is fried.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                                  Diana - I'm starting to think you may BE Anthony Bourdain.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                    What if I was? ;) how else am I..I mean he supposed to know what my fans think?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                                      It should be noted that he used to post here, many, many moons ago.

                                                                                                                                                                      Here's one from 1999: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/286136

                                                                                                                                                                      He started to shift over to eGullet along with a lot of other CH originals as they found CH to be stifling.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                                    But it is CALLED TOASTED RAVIOLI. So use the name the originators gave it not by your petulant whims.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                      but I feel so very petulant today.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                                                        "Fried Ravioli (st Louis thing)." I like that. It does have a Anthony Bourdain realist ring to it. It also makes me wonder if "potstickers" are actually Toasted Chinese style Ravioli (st Louis thing) or whether "Fried Ravioli" is really just Fried Itallian style Dumplings (Chinese thing)? That is the kind of realist thinking that Anthony Bourdain’s show inspires. The realization that in so many ways the different cultures of the world are not all that different. It is kind of like "Just the names have been changed," and to compare / contrast is a good thing because it helps us understand each other.

                                                                                                                                                                        IMO, the lesson of "No Reservations" is to have no reservations about other peoples, to try to understand each other, and not to impose any names or ideas upon each other. Otherwise the show would be called, "Reservations Required," or maybe even, "Bizarre Foods."

                                                                                                                                                                        Toasted ravioli (also called “fried ravioli”)

                                                                                                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toasted_...

                                                                                                                                                                        Guotie, "pan stick" (Also called "potstickers")
                                                                                                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsticker

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                              >He'll go out of his way to be respectful and open-minded about every other culture's food including the most mundane fare but be brutally critical and bigoted about Americans. For instance, he gives a thumbs up to street yakitori in Tokyo (which, as someone who lives in Tokyo, I can tell you isn't really great 99% of the time) or praise the simplicity of a banana, Nutella and crepe sandwich in some European country but will spend half an episode druing a visit to Mexico on how stupid Americans are for liking nachos.<

                                                                                                                                                              I guess you missed the Cleveland episode, where he "forces" Ruhlman (who actually is a food snob) to have skyline chilli. Or the New York episode where a Papaya dog is praised beyond reason.

                                                                                                                                                              Maybe, just maybe, a banana & nutella crepe is indeed better than nachos... and don't give us that who's got the right to say such things crap. This is Chowhound. We've all got the right. And we've all got the right to post right back that nachos are indeed better - great conversation - great debate (ok... sort of...). Pulling "reverse ethnocentricity" out of a show intended to introduce America to new and different foods is like accusing a science teacher of being anti-god... oh... never mind... us great, worldly and non-provincial American thinkers have taken care of that one too...

                                                                                                                                                            3. He's grown on me. I love his no nonsense appraoch and I trust and appreciate his honesty and expertise.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I see some interesting lines drawn regarding the apparent CH love affair with these two AB's (Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown). First, southerners still apparently like southerners (even southerners raised in California), and not so much, New York Yankees.

                                                                                                                                                                Next - there appears to be many comments of a personal nature - I mean people really want to love these folks. That's really weird to me - I get weirded out enough with people doing that with rock stars. Sexy cooks? Are they married? Do they have kids? weird...weird...weird... What the heck does that have to do with food?

                                                                                                                                                                The good news, I think, is that most CH/foodie's like the two AB's because of their food knowledge and ability to communicate. They disllike those that obviously don't have the knowledge (like RR) - people that have nothing to teach us.

                                                                                                                                                                You can detract from both - Alton is just rehashing Corriher's, McGee's, and This's books, and Tony is a snarky egomaniac that insults his peers. But ultimately, so what? Alton is making the stuff from these books presentable to many who would not otherwise be exposed to the material. Both the ewok and the '"thatsa speecy, spicy meatball!" shill-for-hire and ex-reality show personality' seem to have forgiven Tony, at least publicly. Meanwhile, we are fully entertained, not treated as idiots (as we are by all the FNTV chefs), and once in a while, we actually learn something new. What else could we want from a TV food personality? And don't say sex...

                                                                                                                                                                1. Love AB. I agree that the arrogance, sharp-edged writing, chain-smoking, and tough persona are, for the most part, his public persona, and that he does have a soft and warm heart. His writing is laugh-out-loud funny, endearing, engaging, and illuminating. If I ever had to turn off his shows, it's bec. I had errands to do.

                                                                                                                                                                  I hope we see more shows and books out of Mr. Bourdain.

                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: starlightjulian

                                                                                                                                                                    My read on Bourdain is that he's the smart-ass kid who sat in the back of the room and mouthed off...smart yet bored and/or unwise...or too smart for his own good.

                                                                                                                                                                    I've seen a few photos or chips from his show where he looks up towards the camera with a slightly drool/bored/sullen look and then cracks a goofy smile that tells you he knows he's a dope but also a wise acre and don't take this too serious but yes sometimes the mouthing gets out of hand.

                                                                                                                                                                    I think he now has a better handle on the snarkiness. Ultimately you get his humor or you don't. Given some kids in school didn't get his humor he probably got punched a lot which only made him snarkier. Once a defense tool...now it's a money maker. Ironic huh?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                                                                      yeah, right whatever..........

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: budlit

                                                                                                                                                                        What did guys like AB pick on you in school?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                                                                          OP really mirrors how I feel. Used to hate him but thought he was funny. Then saw the No Reservations from Ghana and Mexico and I was won over. The man is real. He's genuine. He hates phony, he hates BS. He respects and admires real, hard work, and people who are themselves. I've never seen him snark even the least little bit when on the road except with Ruhlman but hey that's different - they are buddies. I am reading Typhoid Mary now and looking forward to reading the mysteries, too. Can't wait until he comes to DC. I want to know how he stays so thin. Does he eat only when he's on camera?

                                                                                                                                                                          And he's from Jersey. What more do you need to know?

                                                                                                                                                                          Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Does AB do any regular cooking in New York anymore? At Les Halles or elsewhere?

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: clepro

                                                                                                                                                                        This is pretty funny...I agree with pretty much everything everyone has said, on every side of the question. Especially MLB8000. And yes, he is much less tolerant of other places in the U.S. than he is of other, non-U.S. cultures, though you can't cite the Cleveland episode as evidence, because that was deliberately snarky, over-the-top ironic on purpose. It was one big inside joke. And I have to admit to being the same way...much less tolerant of things in the U.S. I guess I'll have to figure that one out some time. Though I just saw the South Carolina episode and he seemed totally respectful and genuine in that one, as he did in the joints on the Texas side of the line in the Mexico episode. I guess I agree most with whoever said, "this is a guy I'd like to drink with."

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I like his work, I respect his talent, but there's no way I could survive hanging out with him for anything over a couple hours. He functions at a level that my body never could. I envy his zeal. He is a zen master of food.
                                                                                                                                                                      And just to take a crack at Tyler...he sure has put on some weight now that he's cooking for Applebee's. ;) (Actually, I like Tyler, too. I try not to be too judgemental towards people who make a good living in food, no matter what they're selling.)

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: podunkboy

                                                                                                                                                                        To 'weigh' in on Tyler Florence.... I once quite liked him, and his current series is fine (and helpful) for the neophyte, but useless for anyone who knows there way around a kitchen. I also liked his previous series (Food 911?) because it made food approachable, and I'm convinced that the first step is courage. HOWEVER... some months ago I was flipping through one of his cookbooks in a book store, and his recipe for steak tartar instructed dear reader to use a food processor. Need I explain how wrong that is?

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Just watched the HK show -- great show and food was shot like porn or cheesecake (not that kind) and it's being edited very nicely. The funniest thing however was when AB did the wire fu stuff and his line, "Hey Keanu how ya doing?" That had me rolling on the ground. Throw away line...funny as hell.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Love him... the only episode of no res. i didnt like much was the one in Tuscany (last night) but that was due to the little director who really bugged me.

                                                                                                                                                                          I love his wit, and snarkiness...(great word). There are times I feel that the bad boy thing is a little contrived.. but I'm ok with it. He is obviously knowledgable and I love his outlook on food and culture.

                                                                                                                                                                          And I have to admit.. my inner groupie finds him pretty hot in a dirty rocker boy kind of way. (wink wink)

                                                                                                                                                                          coconutgoddess
                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.coconutgoddess.typepad.com...

                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coconutgoddess

                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't like the Tuscany show much either. Too contrived. Those stuck up Italians who would not eat the food he cooked, saying carbonara is made with linguini NOT spaghetti. I think it was just a script -- people would not be that rude. I wanted to dig right in with my fork! Did it seem like he's drinking less now? I only saw him drinking wine. I really look forward to his shows. I, personally, would not eat bear anus, or whatever, just to be polite. In my home, I'm never offended if a guest does not eat one or more items I've prepared. We all have our preferences. I don't eat raw fish -- I don't think I'll ever get so hungry that I'll eat that.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                              Many didn't like the Tuscany show but I did. You can read my post on this thread:
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444614

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                                I wouldn't say that it was one of my favourites but I sure got a good laugh out of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                DT

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Love him.
                                                                                                                                                                            His show is the only on television I try to watch regularly. I read Kitchen Confidential and enjoyed it greatly, but am now reading A Cook's Tour and like it even better. He comes across as a crass bastard, but in his books and in snippets of his show his softer side that really appreciates different cultures and walks of life comes through. Also, I ate at Les Halles for the first time this week, and though he is no longer directly involved, the food was solid which makes me a happy girl.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                                                                                                              I came out of the subway yesterday searching for lunch before a downtown meeting and there was Les Halles, at the top of the stairs.

                                                                                                                                                                              So I sat at the bar and had the duck leg confit . Very, very solid.

                                                                                                                                                                              The decor was a little odd, though, unless it is meant to be ironic...

                                                                                                                                                                            2. When he traveled to Ghana, he won my heart! so, despite his 7ft stature, I'm sold on his opinions :)

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Quest

                                                                                                                                                                                Where does AB blog? Is it only on Rulman's? I have read a few of his posts, and he was a guest blogger there.
                                                                                                                                                                                thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: italiana3

                                                                                                                                                                                  blods about Top Chef on bravotv.com

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Love or hate is not the emotion I think of. After taking his "class" at Macy's once, "schmuck" is mostly what comes to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ELFZ

                                                                                                                                                                                  Care to elaborate on the "class" at Macy's and the "schmuck-ness" of AB, in your opinion?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ELFZ

                                                                                                                                                                                    yeah, I can't wait to here this .. I don't get the 'schmuck' vibe from him .. freak, yes, schmuck no .. maybe you were busy thinking about shopping to pay attention? I would be too .. but still