No Reservations
October 23, 2006 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Although he’s been mentioned here before, and in some detail, it was related to a specific event. He’s a TV star, but he was a chef first, and it wasn’t until he became a writer that his star really began to rise. He’s been endless interviewed, profiled and excerpted--in his hometown and in mine. His latest effort is an homage to the place and product that was really his jumping off point. How can one man be so godlike, yet so irreverent? Ladies and gentlemen: presenting Anthony Bourdain...
posted by spacely_sprocket (17 comments total)
He needs to get his ass back to Les Halles. Especially the one on John Street which according to word around town is a complete disaster. I love the guy though.
posted by spicynuts at 12:34 PM on October 23, 2006

I don't think he's going back to working in the kitchen any more. Loved his book and show, but is there really a need for such bum-kissing?
posted by jsavimbi at 12:45 PM on October 23, 2006

"How can one man be so godlike"
What are you talking about? To me the appeal is that he seems like a regular guy that would be fun to have a beer with.
posted by 2sheets at 1:03 PM on October 23, 2006

Spicynuts He's said he's only ever been responsible for what comes out of the Park Avenue location, and has also said as jsavimbi noted that he's not going back any time soon.

2sheets In an increasingly crowded world of celebrity and psuedo-celebrity chefs, for me his rarified status is justified because he comes across as a regular guy; a regular guy who also is a journeyman chef, a writer, world traveler, show host, and wit.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 1:25 PM on October 23, 2006

To be honest, I liked his old show more. Maybe just because 30 minute doses of Mr. Bourdain are more palatable.

The Cook's Tour book is interesting if you're a fan of the show. It gives some insight into how manufactured even a seemingly "raw" TV show is.
posted by smackfu at 1:32 PM on October 23, 2006

"godlike"? How about a "nsfw" warning? I didn't realize this post was going to contain a sloppy blow job.

And I ate at Les Halles (in Gramercy) a couple of times when he was the chef there; not bad, but definitely nothing to spawn a tv career over.
posted by Gamblor at 1:33 PM on October 23, 2006

I read _Kitchen Confidential_ three or four years ago, and handed it to my wife when I was done; "Hey, you might like this".

Thus began an obsession. We voraciously devour every episode of No Reservations, and of course have TiVoed and burned-to-DVD copies of both seasons of A Cook's Tour (along with multiple copies of the book).

As spacely sprocket said above, one of the reasons we like him is that he *is* just a regular guy.

The "special episode" of NR about he and his crew getting trapped in Beirut during the recent skirmish is one of the best episodes of television I've seen lately.
posted by mrbill at 1:35 PM on October 23, 2006

Dunno about godlike. I did quite like Kitchen Confidential, though. It's the writing and not Bourdain's exceptional reputation as a chef (he mocks his skills constantly) that launched this new TV career. He's an excellent food writer.
posted by kosem at 1:54 PM on October 23, 2006

Never heard of him
posted by A189Nut at 3:11 PM on October 23, 2006

Well, see? Now you have.
posted by Cyrano at 3:20 PM on October 23, 2006

And I ate at Les Halles (in Gramercy) a couple of times when he was the chef there; not bad, but definitely nothing to spawn a tv career over.

I don't think he'd disagree with you. On a number of occasions he's referred to his usual style as "French comfort food." And I think his tv shows reflects the fact that his success is a result of his personality and wit, not his cooking style or genius. I suspect the only reason his time as a chef comes up at all is an effort on the part of publishers and publicists to give him some 'cred' they feel he needs.
posted by phearlez at 3:25 PM on October 23, 2006

I read one of his mystery novels, and it was better than I expected.

So yeah, I like the guy but talk about treacle. Eww.
posted by bardic at 3:37 PM on October 23, 2006

To me the appeal is that he seems like a regular guy that would be fun to have a beer with.

I saw him speak in Vancouver earlier this year and that's exactly the vibe I got from him. He is down to earth and more than a little incredulous that he's so popular.

His Les Halles Cookbook is a good book. Pretty basic French bistro fare for the most part, with a few surprises. I agree with him that knowing how to roast a chicken is how you tell a chef from a cook and a cook from a useless tit. I disagree with him on how long it takes to make stock and how to do it. But he makes his points with style. He can write, and he writes well.

Bourdain is the kind of man who is rare these days: a renaissance man who isn't a pussy in any way, shape or form. A guy's guy who can put pen to paper and still go nuts for sissy French food prepared well.

I don't like fandom. I am, generally speaking, anti-fan. I wouldn't say that I'm a fan of Bourdain, but I think he's damn cool.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:53 PM on October 23, 2006

so what's the deal? it seems like it would be pretty hard to be a chef if you smoke as much as this guy seems to.

i mean, doesnt it just totally blow your taste buds?
posted by joeblough at 5:51 PM on October 23, 2006

What happened to the first TV series? Did he have some sort of meltdown or something? He sure looks like he's having fun when he's eating, though.
posted by fixedgear at 7:07 AM on October 24, 2006

I met him at a talk and it's really solidified my high opinion of him. He's an everyman cook and that's how he talks about himself. He dislikes the title of chef and has said so. When talk turns to Les Halles, he makes constant references the hardworking Central American immigrants that make up his former cooking staff. He's never pitched Les Halles as the epitome of cooking in America - for that he defers to Eric Ripert's Le Bernadin and Thomas Keller's French Laundry.

When you talk to him about the places he's been, you can really see his passion for food, people, and the culture of food in stark opposition to Food Network's program of 30-min meals and food porn overload.

I'll admit - I'm not a big fan of his No Reservations show. But I like who he is. And I'll be looking forward to whatever material comes out of his planned sabbatical in Thailand.
posted by junesix at 3:31 PM on October 24, 2006

His cookbook, Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking is one of the best, most readable cookbooks I own.

That said, based on his TV series and the book about it, he really needs to excise the word "unctuous" from his vocabulary.
posted by crunchland at 3:57 PM on October 24, 2006

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