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Bourdain [moved from Houston]

I've never watched any of his shows and actually don't know much about him or know other people's opinion of him but this just set me off. I can promise I will not be watching anything of his ever after reading this. If loving food makes you a nerd in his book then I guess he's Grand Master Nerd. I just never associated a love of food with being a nerd. I guess everyone in Louisiana south of Alexandria is a nerd too - lol. And the next time someone posts they had the best so-and-so in ???, I'll think it's him.


Bourdain's slightly more rascally approach? Invoke "nerd fury." Hit up any message board with an active international or travel community, and rather than simply asking them for advice, outright lie to them.

Get online and write something along the lines of, "hey guys, I just had the absolute best chicken rice at [restaurant x] in Singapore, no questions asked, hands down, everything else pales in comparison," then sit back and enjoy the show as the internet foodie elite each jump into the fray to defend their own picks to the death. You'll get a much bigger response, more passionate praise, and it'll probably end up being a little fun to boot.

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  1. Actually the next time I see someone post as if they've taken his advice, I'm going to make up a bunch of garbage in a reply to them. Checking the responses to his article, it seems a number of people are going to use that idea.

    1. I watch his show and have read several of his books, that said, my impression is the dude has bad karma, very bad.

      1 Reply
      1. Bourdain is in the business of being provocative, so this fits right in. It doesn't make any difference to me, because I have never been inclined to get restaurant advice from strangers, anyway, except in an occasional one-on-one exchange. I'd rather smoke places out myself and take my chances. If anything, the fact that everybody is touting someplace is a reason for me to avoid it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GH1618

          It's not even that provocative. Not everyone considers being a 'nerd' a terrible thing. By Bourdain's standards, 'nerd' isn't much of a put-down. It comes off as downright affectionate, coming from him.

          Bourdain used to post on CH sometime around 2000. I've seen the occasional old post by him.

        2. he's referring to people on message boards as nerds. is that a mischaracterisation?

          2 Replies
          1. re: BarackHObama

            I don't think "nerd" is a particularly helpful descriptive term. But I suppose it's no worse a mischaracterization than falsely claiming to be POTUS.

          2. Dude, relax. Bourdain is sacastic and "no offense", but what is wrong with being a food nerd? I am one and so aré most people on this site. His idea has merit and probably does get better responses than general queries for recs. Do yourself a favor and read some of his short stories or books.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bamagirl30

              yeah, he actually did a bit of a shoutout to Chowhound in one of his books...a place to find knowledgeable food nerds, IIRC

            2. Wow, he's either really bored or back on drugs. Or both.

              4 Replies
                1. re: BarackHObama

                  Yeah, he is funny-looking. But I don't like to comment on people's looks.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I personally think he's a good-looking guy. And he pushes the envelope to get just this kind of reaction.

              1. There's an element of truth in his recommendation. I often find that a wrong opinion brings out the experts faster than a simple question. I don't intentionally lie or same something I don't believe, but I've become less afraid to be wrong, because I learn more that way.

                2 Replies
                1. re: paulj

                  Agreed. If you want a lot of responses here (or elsewhere on the web), post something that people will argue about.

                  (yes, I've already noted the irony that I responded to this thread and not the earlier one you linked below where the OP just found Bourdain's statement funny)

                  1. re: paulj

                    There's and element of truth in most everything he writes and speaks about.

                  2. This topic was posted last week
                    but for some reason didn't get as much attention

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paulj

                      Probably has something to do with your previous response.


                      Guess Bourdain was right. Time to invoke nerd fury by trolling the boards and proclaiming that Panda Express has the best kung pao chicken ever.

                    2. After paying to see AB live I came away believing he holds loyalty to no one and nothing. I've met food professionals who one minute believe so strongly about a particular dish and a few days later "over it" and talking serious nerd-trash about another dish. No loyalty of palate. I've read his books, watched his show, followed his blog and his hard working crew. He's a lucky bastard and I mean that in the most nerd-loving way, texasr. Some folks you just have to take with the same loyalty as they profess. In AB's case, very little. Entertainment value sometimes works that way.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ

                        I find him to be a good journalist. a talented communicator. That said he has a typical East Coast NYC badass attitude. It's his milieu and sarcasm comes with the territory. He *is* a lucky bastard and I believe he knows it and as a result lives somewhat farther back from the edge these days. He's also hilarious if you give him half a chance.

                        1. re: SharaMcG

                          Oh I believe what I described above more than qualifies as giving AB and his work a chance when I said, "I've read his books, watched his show, followed his blog and his hard working crew."

                          I didn't say that I didn't find him funny. I thought the topic at hand was nerd-ness.

                          Love that he added this OP/thread to his own Twitter.

                      2. He's obviously using the term loosely, as these days a "nerd" can refer to just about anybody with an obsessive passion for something. It doesn't necessarily refer to a math genius with a pocket protector, high-water pants, and poor social skills.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: d8200

                          It may be used that way, but incorrectly, I think. "Nerd" definitely implies poor social skills to me, and doesn't pertain to intelligence or knowledge, either way.

                          A person with normal social skills who is knowledgable about some arcane subject, and willing to talk about it long after everyone else is bored, is a "wonk."

                          1. re: GH1618

                            I think it's a generational and also a regional thing. I've known a lot of younger people who proudly proclaim to be 'nerds' and don't think it has any implications on their social skills. 'Wonk' is not commonly used in this crowd. There's no correct or incorrect - words have different connotations in different places and to different people.

                            One of the best things you can say about hipster culture is that there's generally less of an anti-intellectual bias there than among other popular cultures. In some crowds, being good at and/or interested in math (or insert ______ traditionally-uncool subject here) doesn't equate to having poor social skills.

                            Even though he's older, I get a sense that Bourdain uses 'nerd' more as said younger people do, without condemnation.

                              1. re: Manybears

                                Today's hip & happening Nerd doesn't mind a little irony. ;)

                            1. re: GH1618

                              That's right, all people who post on the internet, especially chowhound are all socially well-adjusted people.

                          2. I think you missed the memo. Being a nerd isnt considered a bad thing anymore.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: twyst

                              I don't think I was offended so much by the nerd remark as the dishonest part about posting some BS and creating a ruckus. I'm big on being up front and honest and appreciate that in others. I guess his way of creating board fury seems kind of like Junior High antics.

                              1. re: texasredtop

                                But notice that your thread got more traffic than the other one that linked this article. Why? Because you expressed a strong opinion. Intentional or not, you played this game.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I played no such game. Those were my honest feelings not something I dreamed up to stir people up. I've never been a game player nor have I understood games being played. It's such a waste of time and energy. Attempting to manipulating other people's feelings is not something I do nor is it something I allow the people in my life to do to me or others. I strongly believe in each person's right to their own opinion.

                                  I originally posted this on the Houston board and it was moved, rightly so. Had I seen it posted previously I would have commented on the other thread instead of starting a new one. My apologies to the original thread originator.

                                  Strong opinions do not equate to dishonest opinions.

                                  1. re: texasredtop

                                    But it's not a waste of energy to him (or anyone using the tactic) if it provides results. In fact, it may save him time and energy.

                                    I like it.

                                    So why would anyone go anywhere but Cheesecake Factory for anything since EVERYTHING at Cheesecake Factory is the best ever?

                                    Now play along.

                              2. re: twyst

                                Unfortunately, precision in the use of language isn't considered a good thing anymore.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  Is that supposed to be an example of imprecise use?

                              3. That strategy is simply hilarious. I can't help it but I like him, even though his schtick is a getting a bit tired.

                                1. Doesn't this threads existance lend at least a degree of credence to his point?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. He's just being like a lot of other internet people. His show is actually the best combination of food and travel on TV. You're missing out. He goes to lots of fancy restaurants, and often eats at somebody's home. He also usually ends up saying the mom's home-cooked meal is better than the restaurants he ate at while in that country.

                                    1. LOL He just referred to this thread on his Twitter

                                      Bourdain 1 Food Nerds 0

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: CallAnyVegetable


                                        The tweet:
                                        "Nerds deny nerdliness in paroxysm of nerd fury. Observe: [link to this thread]"

                                      2. Oh, come on. I can't believe anyone was actually offended by this. For one thing, his suggestion would totally work. For another, have you never been called anything worse than a "nerd"? HE'S a nerd, for christ's sake!

                                        1. Bourdain is an "eater" while the nerds he rags on are "foodies." big difference

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: broz0rs

                                            I think bourdain would admit he is a food nerd as well. Besides, is there really a difference between foodies and food nerds?

                                          2. Anthony Bourdain is an excellent writer, and on TV, he's basically an entertainer who is extremely knowledgeable albeit also very opinionated about food. When you keep in mind that he's paid big bucks to entertain, and obviously many people enjoy him (including me), perhaps he deserves to be given a bit of slack by those who may not like what he says and may not want to be fans. When you consider the hate and vitriol that has recently been emanating from other highly paid media "entertainers", Tony Bourdain is really pretty benign. If you don't enjoy him, don't read his books or watch him on tv.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              I think the OP is worried that Tony will sign on to Chow (under a fake name, of course), and suck him into some faux argument about Houston restaurants. :)

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Must be! And then, oh my god, can you imagine if you had a conversation about which restaurants were good and then found out it was all fake?! WHY MUST PEOPLE PLAY SUCH CRUEL GAMES??

                                                  1. re: ca262626

                                                    No one said his games were cruel, they are just childish.

                                                  2. re: paulj

                                                    I am a "her". Actually I'm not worried in the least, I can and will stand up to dishonesty on the internet or in real life if I am aware of it. I think it's disrespectful to others' time to play games and be sneaky. He falls in with millions of others on the internet, it's very common, so be it. That still doesn't make it acceptable behavior especially for an adult. Like I've said several times before and will say one last time, I don't like game players and people that are dishonest. If you do, that's your right.