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Mar 31, 2011 06:30 AM

Eatocracy versus Anthony Bourdain on the James Beard Awards

Has anyone been following this? What did you think of Eatocracy's comeback:

Caitlin |

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  1. Eatocracy is right on. As much as I loved Kitchen Confidential and the first few seasons of No Reservations I have been thinking more and more that AB has gotten just a little too big for his britches. When anyone, especially someone that many respect and admire, starts looking down his nose and criticizing his peers not only do I find it a turn off; I fear that it may become a slippery downhill slope for a celebrity that originally showed much promise. The whole thing with Rachel Ray was cute and I agree with him regarding Sandra Lee but I do think he has carried his arrogance a bit too far for his own good.

    8 Replies
    1. re: LiveRock

      When I watched AB in Vienna recently on No Res, I thought what the hell happened to him in that episode that he would be so smug and callus? F-bombs left and right, mocking the very people he was filming. More crass than I every recall.

      1. re: HillJ

        yeah, I started to watch it and just turned it off, very distatesful- I still think he has avery good point re: James Beard

        1. re: karenfinan

          Perhaps but when you have a high profile for public opinion and the opportunity to sway thinking, I think your own public behavior, especially for all cultural education, should be consistent.

          1. re: HillJ

            I'm not trying to defend him, I have pretty mixed feelings about him, I just think he had a very valid point re: the awards

          2. re: karenfinan

            Actually, it's a shame you didn't watch it all the way through. I liked it a lot, & found it typical Bourdain.

            First off - definitely liked the veiled takes on that fabulous film "The Third Man". Secondly, Bourdain openly stated that he'd avoided visiting Vienna for many lightweight reasons, but at the end of the show, he'd thoroughly & openly changed his opinion & was glad that he'd had a chance to do so.

            How does that differ from many of his other episodes (especially those in the U.S.) where he's visited spots that he's previously had a poor opinion of?

            1. re: Breezychow

              I can't say I've seen every episode of NR but I saw the entire Vienna show and I found it a bit more snarky than usual AB and I kept wondering why he even bothered to go there. In comparison to shows were his "food guide" taught AB something he didn't know beforehand, Vienna appeared to be a different experience.

              For someone like AB who has clear opinions about fairness, I didn't feel his tour of Vienna was fair to his viewers let alone the people he filmed while producing this episode.

              I like AB usually. This episode took me off guard.

              1. re: HillJ

                The Vienna episode was one of the weakest ever. Very disappointing.

      2. I read a Bourdain artcle about the Beard Awards a long time ago. If I remember correctly he gave a speach during one of the ceremonies. He said that he couldn't help but notice everyone in the room congratulating each other were overwhelmingly white while the people that do the actual work were mostly from Mexico and Central America. The just of the article was when do these people get their awards? And why are there people taking credit for their work?

        I think this is where Bourdain is coming from rather than disparage any single winner of an award.

          1. AB is spot on. However, it's the same in corporate America. The CEO gets his several million $$ package per year, and his assistants, without whom (s)he could not function, get maybe $50K..... Where's the parity here? pay the assistant commensurate with their value...

            And since y ou mention when do they get promoted and recognized? I can think of only one... Sottha Khun (Vietnamese) from Le Cirque who followed Daniel Boulud as Executive Chef, and had worked up the ranks. He's retired now, but one of the only non-whites I can recall in a top New York restaurant.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

              thanks for an insider's perspective

              1. re: ChefJune

                Let's not forget that Tony's sous (and entire staff) at Les Halles was Mexican and that he took over as exec when Tony left - I forget his name but Tony goes down to his home town in Mexico in one of his episodes.

                I find it interesting that the Eatocracy/Beard guy chooses to pick on the second paragraph, about the "newly found" aspect of humor, rather than stay on topic, as to why Tony has continually pissed all over the Beard organization for ignoring the racial inequalities in the business.

                BTW, after 30+ years at Fortune 500's, I'd like to see the corporate CEO assistant that makes only $50K. I guess you haven't heard about the bonuses...

                1. re: ChefJune

                  I was working for a national company and my store got store of the year. The manager got a new car, a trip to Disney and $10,000. The assist got promoted and a large bonus. The three other employees and I got a thank you card. Took me another year to be promoted

                  It not just the food industry, Its American business.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    There are plenty of top notch chefs that aren't white in NYC.

                  2. Bourdain's advocacy for his kitchen compadres and by extension, all the Hispanics working in the back of the house, is nothing new. I remember him talking about it out of the public eye at a near-spontaneous restaurateurs party when he was in town for an earlier book. And interestingly, his conversation was virtually free of the language that offends some.