Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Posted to Teevee at 11:12 PM on Aug 26, 2005
The Robert Mitchum of chefdom has a new show.
Two themes run through every episode: Tony's love of the 007 films and his disdain for his fellow celebrity chefs. If he doesn't turn to the camera and say "Bourdain. Tony Bourdain" at least once or make a shaken-not-stirred joke every single time he walks into a bar, he makes someone else do it. He is nothing if not consistent.
Tony travels all over the world and experiences various places as a local would. Sometimes, he goes places even locals wouldn't dare. In Vietnam, he holds a funny and frightening audience with some kind of bigwig who lives in the boonies in an incredible palace. He is quite obviously nervous. He attempts to drink various partygoers under the table hoping they won't notice his awkward silences.
He's so funny, though. If I had to travel the world, get loaded, and watch people cook, I'd want to go with Tony. He has an all-consuming reverence and passion for food, yet a sense of humor. It's a highly un-P.C. sense of humor, so you didn't see much of it on his Food Network series. No Reservations is probably heavily edited, too, but there's no way the Food Network would have shown Tony in the middle of an absinthe-fueled freakout.
As much as Tony loves to make fun of his colleagues, he's got a healthy sense of self-parody. He is aware of the "ugly American" stereotype and makes light of it. He's excruciatingly polite.
Yet, he's a pissed-off New Yorker. He does not suffer fools gladly. He's catty. Sometimes he is oddly humorless for someone so funny. In the New jersey episode, he chases down a little kid on a snowboard for running over his skis. Once in a while, both in this show and on Cook's Tour (his Food Network show), I find myself rolling my eyes. He does this whole sequence on Cook's Tour: he's in New Orleans and he's repeatedly beaten up by angry Emeril fans. Yes, Tony. You don't like Emeril. You've told us.
I'd love to see a cooking show with Tony. An actual cooking show, on the Food Network, with Tony in the kitchen. I know it'll never happen, but think of how much fun it would be: pissed-off snarky Tony, among the prissy little Martha Stewart wannabes who rule the channel now.
No Reservations airs on the Travel Channel
Interesting - the real Bourdain has a new show. (I've been thinking about getting the Les Halles Cookbook myself, since I don't have cable.) Which reminds me, have you seen the previews for the Kitchen Confidential series yet? And will you reviewing that one when it finally goes on air?
1. I would love to see Tony in a cooking show. He is probably a helluva chef (CIA grad, good resume).
2. Is Tony involved with or getting a cut of that new sitcom "kitchen confidential".
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