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No Reservations - Anthony Bourdain

by evilbeth | Published on July 24th, 2007, 11:36 am | Food
Speaking of Exotic, perhaps my favorite television show this summer is Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the Travel Channel. If you haven't watched this show, MY GOD, you're in for a treat. It normally comes on Monday nights about 10PM here in the boro, and make sure your belly is full, or you'll be starving after watching it.

Talk about dream jobs, this guy gets to travel to remote, unique places and share their culture with his viewers via exotic foods. It's humanity at it's best, and Tony is somebody you fall in love with almost immediately. In a culture of water-bottles, low-carbs, and healthy living- Mr Bourdain comes across as a likeable, even lovable contrast.

On no reservations, Tony is often cussing like a sailor, smoking like a 30s movie, and quite honestly making that same subtext verbal that most of us are thinking in our heads. It's reasons like this, that makes him unique, almost sexy.
tony_bourdain.jpg (31.9 KiB) Viewed 2261 times

It's really the lack of "Hollywood" image that makes the show interesting to watch. As a viewer you actually trust what he's saying. It was after watching an episode of No Reservations, and Anthony's overwhelming response to Guinness beer, that I myself had to try it. I was hooked.

No I probably will never get a chance to eat Fried Rhino Stomach, or Moose Eyes, or whatever weird and national food he find in exotic locations around the world where he and his camera crew are helicopter lifted in to, but I can watch this Emmy Nominated show in lieu of "Real Life 17" on MTV. Yes there might not be much on TV this summer, but Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations gives me the chance to escape reality and visit different parts of the world, see various people, and eat different foods... all with a guy you'd love to; as my grandfather would say, "shoot the (expletive)" with.

That's probably one of my highest level on endorsement. This is quality television.
Did you see him complain last night that Gordon Ramsey has an Aston Martin?
July 24th, 2007, 4:57 pm
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Fecund Stench
Actually I was advised last night was a re-run that we had seen, so we didn't watch it... But supposedly, yes I had seen that one before.
July 24th, 2007, 5:04 pm
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I show you something fantastic and you find fault.
Location: Greensboro, NC
Anthony Bourdain proves that reality tv is possible, just not within the Hollywood/MTV framework. He's been there, done that (including pharmaceuticals), lived to tell about it and made it as a chef of a well-respected French restaurant (Les Halles). He's an author and yet cynical and jaded enough to tell it like it is. He is a refreshing voice in the culinary world not known mostly for his recipes but for his experiences at the global table.
November 1st, 2008, 2:22 am
Rather enjoyable read here....

What's the worst thing you've ever eaten? —George Brozowski, San Francisco
Fermented shark in Iceland. They celebrate their hardy Viking roots by eating shark that has essentially rotted and is then marinated in lactic acid for six months. There was also the warthog rectum in Namibia. Steer clear of that.

How do you avoid getting parasites when eating in so many places around the world? —Malaika McKee-Culpepper Broomfield, Colo.
It's always the breakfast buffet at the major-chain hotel that gets you. It's almost never street food. But some of our crew got subcutaneous larvae, which I thought was pretty cool. In the book we have a medical-anomalies chapter that I'm very proud of.

Do you think your show has a positive impact? —Clifford DuVernois Long Beach, Calif.
If I'm an advocate of anything, it's the virtue of curiosity. But mostly the show is about me having a good time and someone else paying for it.

On the show, you seem squeamish when an animal is slaughtered. Isn't it good for a chef to see every stage of the main ingredient? —Erasmo Zayas, Calexico, Calif.
I think it's both useful and appropriate to experience the shame, guilt and discomfort of seeing what the real cost of dinner is. That said, who likes to see an animal in pain, except for Ted Nugent? I dearly love pork, but seeing a pig die is a pretty bloodcurdling experience.

Did your travels ever influence the menu at your restaurant? —Bryan Johnson, Hamden, Conn.
I'm an old-school French chef. I ended my career cooking very rustic French food. So I'm not suddenly going to open Tony's Pan-Asian Fusion Pit. It ain't gonna happen.

Do you worry that smoking dulls your palate? —Anthony Dauer, Annandale, Va.
I'm amused by food nerds who say, "I'd never eat at a restaurant where the chef smokes." Almost all the chefs I know smoke. That said, I'm also a new father of a 6-month-old girl. I don't want to encourage anyone to quit smoking. In my experience, it really does make you cool. Chicks love it. But after 38 years, I quit.

Why do you always pick on Rachael Ray? —Trandafir Albrando, Manila
She can take it. She's incredibly powerful and far more loved than I am. But she genuinely offends me. Julia Child, for example, raised people's expectations of food. When Rachael tells you that it's perfectly O.K. to buy prechopped onion from the supermarket... I mean, how hard is it to chop an onion? The takeaway is, I could cook, but [instead] I'll finish this bag of Cheetos and that gallon of Diet Pepsi before dying of diabetes.

Do you think Vietnam's rapid modernization is affecting its food scene? —Lien Murakami, Oakland, Calif.
Yeah, I worry about that... With any rising middle class and exploding economy come fusion restaurants with crappy food and novelty martinis.

Are you ever going to open another restaurant? —Irwin Chen, Brooklyn, N.Y.
I'm 51 years old. From age 37, you don't get any smarter or faster in the kitchen. Your palate is in decline. So God, I hope not. Though this TV scam could all go wrong, and I might need the job. [Laughs.]

Do you have any advice for an aspiring French chef? —Sarah Lautengeo, Shizuoka, Japan
Go work a month or two as a dishwasher in a really busy restaurant, and see if it's still for you — the adrenaline and futility and craziness and cruelty. If you're over 30 and you think you're going to live your dream as a professional chef, sorry, Pops. It's too late.

I'm astonished at your ability to survive spicy foods. What's your secret? —Richard Kirkeeide, Tingwood, Tex.
I think it's just a jaded palate. When you've tasted so much extraordinary food but within the western flavor spectrum, it's really exciting. There's a sadomasochistic dimension to it, a combination of searing hot peppers and the flower peppers that go in a Szechuan hot pot. And you look around and it's not just you, but it's the people from Szechuan as well, sweating flop sweat and holding their stomachs and shoveling this stuff in near agony. And yet you want more immediately.

I just finished Kitchen Confidential. Is that really the norm in that industry? —Douglas Vandor, Victoria, B.C.
I wrote about my life. It was very much a product of the times. Doing cocaine in the kitchen during service is something that most reasonably professional operations really frown on these days. 'Twas not always so.

Should politicians who support anti-foie gras laws spend an eternity in the deepest level of hell, or would some other punishment suffice? —Sandy Toyen, San Diego
A lesser punishment. They should be punished for being disingenuous, for pandering. I think making them spend six years at Applebee's would be enough.

Are there foods that seem normal in the U.S. that would be taboo in other cultures? —Jason Dreier, Green Bay, WI
It really offends me when I hear, "What have you eaten that's weird, strange, bizarre?" For example, Thais have a non-dairy food culture. Show them someone eating cottage cheese or the ranch dressing at the salad bar, and they'd be horrified. Or the size of our food. I mean, you see some 425-pound human being with a Stetson in the Houston airport shoving a Cinnabon into their face, you know, and a 89-pound Thai grandad seeing this just thinks he's in another dimension — a really scary one.

How would you compare writing to cooking? —Vince Cogan, Redlands, Calif.
Cooking is much harder. Cooking is real work. I don't miss standing in the kitchen 15 or 16 hours a day, but I do miss the satisfaction of sitting at the bar at the end of the shift knowing that I did really well in the kitchen. Even on a really good writing day, no matter how good, you're never really sure whether it was good.

Are you really as arrogant as you seem, or do you do it for the ratings? —Laura Bee, Los Angeles
I think like a lot of chefs, I'm actually very shy in the real world. Maybe the hyperbolic nature of my writing and the way I talk comes from my years in the kitchen. It's either "you're fantastic, you saved my ass" or "you are a miserable rat bastard, I want to kill you, go to the funeral and kill anyone who shows up to mourn you." It's a world of absolutes. Emotionally, I'm kind of like that. Yes, I'm arrogant. But I also regularly entertain the possibility, if not the likelihood, that I'm absolutely wrong about everything.

Have you ever refused any food that was offered to you? —Vishwajeeth Naik, Bangalore
I try really hard to not send things back. I think it's important to do your best and try to accept whatever if offered with gratitude. That said, everyone has to draw a line. For me, it's the line between meat and pet. It hasn't come up yet, but I'd like to think that, given a choice between violating my deeply held principles about what is adorable and offending my host, that I'd eat the puppy heads.

Best line evar:

I mean, you see some 425-pound human being with a Stetson in the Houston airport shoving a Cinnabon into their face, you know, and a 89-pound Thai grandad seeing this just thinks he's in another dimension — a really scary one.
July 5th, 2009, 10:33 am
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I show you something fantastic and you find fault.
Location: Greensboro, NC
evilbeth wrote:It's reasons like this, that makes him unique, almost sexy.

there's no almost to this man's sexy. i think a big part of his sexy, for me, is the intimidation factor. he's been there, done that and it was better the first time for him - so, there's no sugarcoating from him and i respect that. it also makes for an entertaining judge's table when he guest judges on top chef. you can see the utter fear in the contestants eyes and their humility when he offers a sort of compliment, even the men seem to swoon like schoolgirls when anthony bourdain says their name.
July 5th, 2009, 11:32 am
Location: Greensboro

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