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Feb 12, 2012 10:07 AM

Good vs. Evil - Tony Bourdain and Eric Ripert in Santa Rosa, CA

We saw their show Sat. night. They started out with a schtick that grated a bit at first - each acting as an interrogator while the other sat in a fold-out chair at the front of the stage, calling each other out, trying to challenge and embarrass each other. While there were some funny moments, it was just a bit too scripted and in my opinion went on a little long. But when they settled into their seats with a couple of beers, they reverted to some of that easy flow that seems to exist between them, and you can tell there is real affection there.

Our enjoyment of the night was only (severely) hampered by a group of women sitting in our section who would NOT. SHUT. UP. Hooting and screeching and "that's right"-ing like rabid teenaged fans on Oprah or something was annoying as hell. Shushing them became an annoyance itself so I finally gave up.

Tony was his usual talkative, ranty and f-bomb dropping self, and Eric his usually beautiful Frenchy, debonaire self. They chatted about eating sustainably, local ingredients, Alice Waters (Tony couldn't hate her, as much as he wanted to), Gordon Ramsey (Eric thinks he is a terrible representation of how to behave in the kitchen), Paula Dean (absolutely irresponsible), Guy Fieri (Eric finds him entertaining, Tony does not). They talked about how Le Bernardin has and hasn't changed over the years, Tony's "talents" as a chef (there was a lot of ribbing from ER to AB about AB not actually knowing how to cook!), Tony being a dad, quitting smoking, both of them being t.v. personalities, and Eric's Sunday dinners at home (he, his wife and their little boy put on a different "restaurant" every week in their home, just for the 3 of them, complete with a menu and the boy acting as maitre-d' (this engendered many "awwwwws!" from the audience!) We learned that ER has banned only one person ever from his restaurant - John McEnroe, for apparently hurting his feelings on an episode of the Letterman show. and he didn't want to talk further about it!

There was a good amount of the evening set aside to audience questions, which was actually the best part of the night for me. They were asked what were their best and worst single tastes on Top Chef: (Tony's worst: butterscotch scallops [he likened it to a filthy sex act with Mrs. Butterworth.] Eric's best: Elan's fideo dish.) They were asked who in all of history would they like to come back as: AB: Bootsy Collins of Funkadelic (which we found awesome, and totally in character.) and ER: the Dalai Lama (also fitting.) To the question, what is the one thing you suck at, AB answered dancing, and ER, pastry-making. ER was asked what his his deep/dark/dirty secret junk food splurge: response? he has none. he literally does not eat junk, and the best he could come up with was "Spanish chorizo?" WTF?? Someone asked what is the first thing ER eats when he gets back to France: charcuterie, un-pasteurized cheeses, and bread.

I had binoculars (so i'm a star-f**cker, so sue me) and i loved seeing ER's face up close as he giggled delightedly at AB's jokes - you can see how much they really enjoy each other. After the scripted stuff in the beginning, i got the sense that this is what they do when they get together - have a couple of beers and shoot the shit about anything and everything food related. Their self-proclaimed best-friendship was very evident and entertaining to watch.

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  1. Thanks for your great report, mc. Sounds like fun, wish I was there.

    1. I really enjoy both chefs and am jealous of your experience! Tony wrote the best short biographical story in "kitchen disasters" (I think that is the name) that had my husband and I rolling on the floor laughing. Also, I have said on more than one occasion that I would leave dh if Eric came knocking. That voice! He could narrate my boring life and it would sound interesting. Too bad about the rude audience members. I once was at a theatre performance in London, a very special and unique opportunity for me, and had to deal with an incessantly coughing, sniffing, noseblowing person to my right that ruined the whole experience!

      10 Replies
      1. re: bamagirl30

        at least that person had a legitimate excuse - being sick! i guess being socially retarded is a legitimate ailment too.... sucks either way!

        oh YES on ER's accent!!

        1. re: mariacarmen

          True, but I think it still goes back to having some courtesy. I mean, it was almost obnoxious and the play was a quiet play with lots of dialogue. I mean, if u are coughing and hocking phlegm nonstop, stay home! But I have definitely been behind OP's crowd before and understand the frustration.

        2. re: bamagirl30

          oops. I couldn't help it! I had a cold. I had tickets. I didn't know about you. Sorry.

          1. re: uninvitedsaint

            she's talking about a show in London, not this show!

            (my uncomprehending sister, everyone.)

            1. re: mariacarmen

              ummm...duh. A joke. I can read. But thanks. MY uncomprehending sister, everyone

          2. re: bamagirl30

            I think the book might called "Don't Try This At Home". It's 20 or 30 short stories from famous chefs about things going very badly earlier in their careers. If that's the same one you're talking about, I agree! Bourdain's stroy had me truly laughing out loud. It's a shame it's not is one of his own books.

            1. re: Bart Hound

              That's the book. A really good one to read. It brought back memories of my own restaurant kitchen disasters!

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Nah. People like McEnroe need to not be idiots.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    Exactly. McEnroe was out of line. Ripert was there to cook, not discuss politics.

                    Love the last two paragraphs in the Observer article. :-)

            1. Damn...they're coming to the D this Friday but the cheapest tix are $100 each. I just can't do it, as much as I would love to see the show.

              2 Replies
              1. re: coney with everything

                Too bad you missed the Groupon for this cwe -- $27 a pop a few days ago. Gone now, though.

                Keep an eye on craigslist.

                ETA: $50ish if you want to drive to GRR on Sunday.

                1. re: oppsie

                  seriously?? My Groupon emails seem to come randomly and I don't remember to check. Bummer...I would have done $27

              2. Love LOVE your recap, mc! Sounds like you had as much fun as I did last March!

                2 Replies