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Food-industry people you'd invite to dinner?

Four people, you included.

Name the other 3 you'd invite (living, not dead).

My guest list:

Anthony Bourdain
Alan Richman
Jonathan Gold


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  1. Anthony Bourdain
    Marcus Samuelsson
    Mario Batali or Jeffrey Steingarten

    1. it depends on whether we're allowed to let one (or more) of them do the cooking ;)

      4 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        C'mon now!

        We're not heathens here. We wouldn't ever invite dinner guests over and expect them to do the cooking, right?

        Heck, we chowhounds have enough of a quandary figuring out whether to open that bottle of wine guests always seem to show up with. :-)

        1. re: ipsedixit

          you know i was kidding, right? well, sort of ;) anyway, there's no way i could choose just three...there are at least six that immediately come to mind in NYC alone.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            That's what makes it interesting!

            If it were 10 or 20, it would be almost too easy.

            Come on ghg, play along! :-)

            1. re: ipsedixit

              compromise. several of my top choices have already been mentioned so i'll toss out three that haven't:
              - Ed Levine
              - Wolfgang Puck
              - Jamie Oliver

      2. Andrew von Eschenbach
        Margaret A. Hamburg
        and maybe
        Rachel Ray.

        1. Tough one!! I'll assume I'm doing the cooking.

          Ming Tsai
          Marcus Samuelsson
          Andrew Zimmern

          Would make for some groovy dinner conversation. Ipse, I thought you misspelled Alan Rickman, and wondered how he was related to the food-industry. Google solved it though.

          1. That's easy!

            Eric Ripert
            Eric Ripert
            Eric Ripert

            (Horney Old Broad)

            3 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              you're gonna have to fight LindaWhit (and his wife) for him! ;)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Okay. I'll order a martial arts manual. '-)

              2. re: Caroline1

                Michael Chiarello has the right charisma for me. And Jacques Pepin for charm. And Anthony Bourdain for being so outrageously himself.

                If I were a guy, it would be Nigella Lawson for sure. She's overflowing with sensuousness and gorgeous to boot. Yes, I'm jealous!

              3. Anthony Bourdain
                Marcus Samuelsson
                Sam the Cooking Guy (what? I like his demeanor!)

                1. Ghost of Julia Child
                  Anthony Bourdain
                  Nigella Lawson

                  OK, just saw the not dead part so I will subsitute Jamie Oliver.

                  After dinner and LOTS of wine, we would all head over and TP Bobby Flay's house.

                  1. Jacques Pepin
                    Eric Ripert
                    Anthony Bourdain

                    I'm pretty sure all know each other and each has demonstrated that they can listen as well as talk. While I wouldn't ask them to cook, I certainly wouldn't decline an offer to help.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Let's see...

                      1. Ronald McDonald
                      2. The Frito Bandito
                      3. The Trix Rabbit
                      4. Charlie Tuna
                      ...well, you get the idea...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Tripeler

                        that could actually be a fun thread - recalling all your favorite food mascots.

                      2. Gordon Ramsay
                        Anthony Bourdain
                        Thomas Keller

                        1. I'm surprised at the number of people who'd want to spend time with Anthony Bourdain. He strikes me as pretentious wannabee who tries so hard to be cool w/ his swearing and smoking but it seems like such a calculated act. It kind of reminds me of middle school kids trying hard to be jaded and cool.

                          I'd pick someone w/ a "golly, gee, wow" type attitude about things, like Rick Bayless. He seems to embrace new and different w/out being jaded. Maybe Jose Andres because he seems to have a science, geeky approach to food. Jacques Torres, just because he does chocolate and dessert and has that great way of speaking. Although I'd rather turn over the reins and let them do the cooking. But, that would lead to long threads about gauche hosts asking guests to do the cooking...:-)

                          34 Replies
                          1. re: chowser

                            Well, I picked Bourdain and Richman because they hate each other. Gold because I figure he could be a good moderator.

                            I did my guest list for the fireworks, not for pleasantries amongst the guess.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              That's funny. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at that dinner.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                oh, then if I'm having Gordon, I should have Marco Pierre White and "Fanta Pants" Mario Batali.... damn, it's hard to pick just 3.....

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I'm currently reading Bourdain's latest book. The chapter I just finished was "Alan Richman is a douchebag." Fireworks, indeed. After reading the chapter, I do have to say I tend to agree with his assessment.

                                2. re: chowser

                                  If i can't have AB, can I trade him in for my other favorite AB? Alton Brown?

                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                    You could have both! I was wondering why so many people like Bourdain. Maybe Bourdain and Sandra Lee would be a fun pair. Add Martha Stewart to the mix and it could be the dinner party of all dinner parties.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      If you have Martha, then you'd need Rachael... I'd love to spend an evening with Martha.... Rachael...not so much.

                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                        Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray and Dzintra (from TNFNS)

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          Ha, didn't even think of Dzintra.... that made me laugh.... that would be one crazy dinner party.....

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              oh. my. god. okay. that would be awesome.... if she would spin for us. if we have that pair, I want Debbie who is korean, for my 3rd.

                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten that Debbie was Korean...

                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                  Watch the fireworks when Dzintra shushes Bourdain!

                                                  I like Bourdain myself. When he did No Reservations from the Rust Belt cities, he actually showed some compassion and respect.

                                                  My triple B list:
                                                  Burrell (Ann--I think she'd be a hoot)

                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                            Ooh. No way, I mean it would be amusing, but how long could you watch Martha rearrange your place settings and tell you how SHE makes the dish you've prepared, and give Rachel some quiet tsk regarding her technique. She's too OCD for my table. SUPER knowledgeable, but I can't even watch her interact with guests on her show without getting irritated.

                                            1. re: WhatThePho

                                              How long warching her mess with Rachael Ray? ALL DAY LONG. I'd even unroll a sleeping bag for her....

                                                1. re: WhatThePho

                                                  I'd like to say you're the first person to tell me that..... however, if Martha comes to dinner, at least you won't be the last :D

                                      2. re: chowser

                                        I'm with you on the Anthony Bourdain rejection. There aren't a whole bunch of answers (yet!), but I'm surprised that Rachel Ray was named before Emeril Lagasse. I get a bit irritated with him at times when he mispronounces culinary words he should have down pat, but hey, some people just aren't all that good with language. How many years has the guy lived in N'Orleans, and he still doesn't sound even a tad "Southern." And I've seen him make a few gaffs in front of a camera that I *KNOW* he would never do if he wasn't feeling pressure. Bottom line is he is an incredibly generous man, cares deeply about others, and he's a grand and glorious chef! So I will kick the very delicious Eric out of ONE seat at my table and invite Emeril to sit down. I'm still trying to think of what to cook. Maybe Bavarian pork chops? So it's two Erics and one Emeril..

                                        I do like your idea of Jose Andres! Love the man's sense of humor! Have you seen him when he has appeared on Vraig Ferguson's show? The man also has infinite patience! Still thinking about whether I want to stay with two Erics. '-)

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          LOL, Eric Ripert goes w/out saying. Emeril does seem like a great guy.

                                          I saw Jose Andres (I think it was on Bourdain's show) take apart a tomato, just pull out the center and be excited just about that. He can see/appreciate the basics and then take them up a notch.

                                        2. re: chowser

                                          Part of the reason I picked Bourdain, (other than I like his foul-mouthed schtick) is how well-traveled he is. I'd love to listen to him talk about all the countries he's been to and what really goes on behind the scenes of the show. Since he's not cooking, and I need conversation..... he's for the travel talk, Gordon is my eye candy, and Keller is my God. Who am I kidding... I could never cook for Keller.... I'll swap him out for Lynne Rossetto Kaspar because I think she'd keep up her end of the conversation... and if I ran out of food she could tell me what tomake with just five ingredients in my fridge...

                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                            I think the attraction with Bourdain -- at least for me -- is that he's not only opinionated, but that he's unabashedly opinionated.

                                            If he thinks you suck, he'll tell you to your face and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe it's the recovering coke addict in him, but that kind of brutal forthrightness is quite refreshing is this overly PC-age we live in.

                                            And FWIW, for anyone who wants or needs a good summer read, I highly recommend Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw. Not life altering, but amusing in a very insouciant way -- and isn't that what both homecooking and summer reading should be all about?

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              I loved Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour. Haven't read Medium Raw yet. I also loved his Les Halles Cookbook.... it is a good book just for reading. I enjoyed it.

                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                +1 on all counts.

                                                I'd invite him, Ina Garten with Nigella Lawson because they're both a laid back, unfussy god time, and Jacques Pepin because I love his accent and his food.

                                            2. re: Firegoat

                                              I make no bones about my thinking Tony's attitude is what draws me to watch him all the time. He's a lot like me in that I just say what's on my mind and don't apologize about it. I think he's great to watch & he loves to travel as do I. He'd be great to sit and talk to around the dinner table.

                                              On another note, most of the cooking "personalities" that we see on tv today are about ratings and thus have changed my view on their shows. I used to love Emeril when he first hit the air but I can't sit through even a piece of his show now because it's all about entertaining the crowd. I think he's a great guy and maybe he will entertain me at the dinner table but he's not among my "three" guests. Oh, and if Rachael came to dinner, I'd have to slit my throat.....

                                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                                She could totally entertain with that :D

                                              2. re: Firegoat

                                                That's one of the reasons I picked Bourdain also. Having traveled a bit, it would be fun to discuss things with him.

                                                They would all get a good laugh at my traveling across France and being so broke at the time that I couldn't even afford an everyday common French meal.

                                                1. re: SanityRemoved

                                                  I remember those days. I can't count the number of meals that consisted of baguette, canned sardines, nutella and fresh apricots or whatever cheap fruit we could get from the farmers markets.

                                                    1. re: WhatThePho

                                                      Add gelato and chocolate and that's how I came back 10 pounds heavier.;-)

                                              3. re: chowser

                                                bourdain is way more like my friends than anyone who has ever said golly gee about anything....

                                                1. re: thew

                                                  Superficial jaded wannabees who pretend to be cool? Maybe because I'm in the midst of kids in middle school that I can't deal with that type of attitude. I've never heard anyone actually say "golly gee" but I mean someone with an open unprententious attitude and not afraid to show it.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    i know what you meant. and no, not wanabees who pretend to be cool. worldly people, friendly and cynical at the same time, with a gung ho attitude and an edge of NYC cynicism. None of which precludes an open mind (in fact i'd say an open mind requires some cynicism) or an unpretentious attitude

                                                    1. re: thew

                                                      I think that comes down to how we see Bourdain. I don't know him, have never met him, have never met anyone who's met him so I'm just going on what I perceive from TV. In Kitchen Confidential, he slams celebrity chefs and then he becomes one. I think he does believe in his persona, I just don't buy into it.

                                              4. Susan Feniger, Hubert Keller, and Tim Love.

                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                    nice choices. i left off Bruni because i already had Ed Levine and i didn't want it too NYC critic-heavy. forgot about Buford!

                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                      Interesting. I was ready to say Batali, Bourdain and Hazan. But I like your list.

                                                    2. Anthony Bourdain
                                                      Jonathan Gold
                                                      Wolfgang Puck

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Nicole

                                                        I have to do a swap...I almost forgot about my (no longer secret) crush on Ludo Lefebvre! I think I will go for:

                                                        Ludo Lefebvre
                                                        Jonathan Gold
                                                        Anthony Bourdain

                                                      2. Shirley Corriher
                                                        Martha Stewart
                                                        Jacques Pepin

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          As a corollary to this topic: "And what would you cook?"

                                                          I'd make dishes that I've developed myself, in the hope of serving my guests something they haven't had before. Main course would be meatloaf made with coleslaw in the mix or veal stew with apples and raisins, and dessert a combination compote of dried and fresh fruit stewed in apple cider and Tokaji Aszu or my own tweaked oatmeal cookies.

                                                        2. Would I be stretching the definition of 'food industry' by including somebody in brewing? Either way, Ken Grossman (founder of Sierra Nevada) is invited.
                                                          As well as-
                                                          Michael Colameco
                                                          and Rick Bayless

                                                          not much in common between them, I suppose, but then again that's why <I'm> there ;)

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: TongoRad

                                                            see, this i why i said i couldn't choose three. i want Bayless at my table too!

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Fun topic! My long short list would include Eric Ripert, Hubert Keller, Jamie Oliver, Tony Bourdain, Govind Armstrong, Tom Collichio, Susur Lee, Denis Leary and John Bishop. Yes, I think/know they can all cook. And yes they are all Chow crushes to a greater and lesser degree.

                                                              For my final three, I would go for a women's night. I'd like to cook for Elizabeth Falkner, Susana Trilling and Mahur Jaffrey, but I'd be sure to make something that didn't require a lot of last minute prep, as I wouldn't want to miss any of that conversation.

                                                          2. Bourdain,
                                                            That Mikey guy from Top Chef a couple of seasons ago,
                                                            Sandra Lee

                                                            What a party

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: chileheadmike

                                                              I'd love to be a fly on the wall at that one, especially if Sandra Lee cooked. But, maybe they'd enjoy a few cocktails and have a great time.

                                                            2. A spicy California round table could include:
                                                              Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters. New Jersey's own Tony Bourdain would be cast in the roll of corrupt judge/mediator as JT and AW try to rewrite history according to their own unique and opposite perspectives.
                                                              I wouldn't cook. Rather, I would make martinis and cold compresses.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  Here's an update:
                                                                  He was a fine chef, terrific restaurant owner. One of the seminal chefs when California Cuisine was born. I hold him in high regard.

                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                    I guess he'd be considered one of the early "celebrity chefs." Written about in newspaper columns, recognized on the street.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      Tower was a hoot. His food was very good.

                                                              1. Dead food industry folk that I would like to arrange a sit-down with down the road include:
                                                                R.W. Apple
                                                                Pierre Franey
                                                                Julia Child
                                                                Normally I would have an ambulance waiting outside in case of bodily harm but since all these good people are beyond redemption, I would simply channel their statements accurately and acknowledge my place at the end of the table.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: steve h.

                                                                  Gee, if we're allowed to play the ghost game, then I want Antoine Careme, August Escoffier and Henri Babinski (aka Ali Bab) at my table! But I want them to do the cooking. AND to speak English.... Or that I would magically be fluent in French. Oh, well... <sigh> But wait! If I can raise them from their graves, surely I can master French in a flash!

                                                                  1. re: Caroline1


                                                                    I like to invite the following then. The first person who discovered the fire (who will likely beat me up). The first person who created the bacon and the first person who invented Chinese BBQ buns. There you go.

                                                                  2. re: steve h.

                                                                    Oh, well if we're doing the dead, I'll take Justin Wilson...

                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                      I'd go for Jane Grigson, James Beard, and Mme Benoit. Should be a congenial group.

                                                                    2. Bourdain, Colischio, Bruni