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huiray

Top Chef: New Orleans

271 posts in this topic

Yes, let's buy some clean national exposure to offset all the national exposure of 19 people shot at a second line parade on Mothers Day. After enduring Swamp People, various duck themed reality shows, redneck millionaires, my big fat redneck wedding/vacation/trailer makeover, and a thousand other televised and filmed cliches about laissez les bon temps roulez, you might say I'm rather tired of the states film subsidy program and relentless tourism marketing efforts.

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Well, Celeste, write to them and express your concerns. We'd be happy to host those shows here in Oklahoma.

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Well, Celeste, write to them and express your concerns. We'd be happy to host those shows here in Oklahoma.

Being from Louisiana I find them quite embarrassing. You can have them for all most of the people I know care.

One good thing from this whole twitter dustup is Cafe Reconcile getting some recognition, and hopefuly some donations will come rolling in. I've gone and done some demos there and they are a very worthy charity.


Edited by Twyst (log)

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I find them embarrassing, as well. Something tells me they don't care how I feel. None of us here in the South West like to be surrounded by Nyers who feel the need to dress up like dime store cowboys and try to say "y'all" ironically every time a national show does a feature here. The TC Texas was cringe-worthy with the brand new bandanas and Tony Lama boots.

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"Oooh oooh oooh," we all said. "He's so brave. He's so daring. He's so cutting edge."

Since I've already self-identified as a Bourdain fan - and called him out in the same thread - I'd like to point out that what you imagine that 'we' said is in fact, incorrect and a naïve mischaracterization. You are not a part of 'we' who like him. That's okay. Just don't pretend that you have an insight into why I like him.

Whether you or I or anyone else "likes" him is, in my mind anyway, beside my main point.

Which is that, whatever other attributes he may have possessed, or may still possess, a great part of his original "schtick" was to shock.

It brought him a LOT of publicity and notoriety and admiration, which I believe was the intent, and which he exploited.

And which doesn't work any more.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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...Which is that, whatever other attributes he may have possessed, or may still possess, a great part of his original "schtick" was to shock.

If we were talking about Howard Stern, I might agree. But we're not. Bourdain's original work ("Schtick", if you must) was Kitchen Confidential. There's not much shocking in there. Okay, maybe a certain bride and chef (not him). Beyond that, the shocking stuff is pretty much about his own drug use, "Don't order fish on Monday", and "We do recycle bread from the bread baskets." Truly shocking stuff.

I happen to believe him when he says that he thought no one would ever read his book. But, if this was part of a grand plan to go from a journeyman chef to an international star, well, I guess the only thing I can say is that I underestimated him.

And which doesn't work any more.

Actually, I think it does. I did enjoy watching him last night on the DVR.


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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It brought him a LOT of publicity and notoriety and admiration, which I believe was the intent, and which he exploited.

He found his cash cow and milked it 'til it kicked... exactly what I would do in the same situation.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I think Bourdain always wants to be something that he isn't. He goes to college, a Seven Sisters college, because his family is wealthy. He drops out and goes to culinary school where he cheats until he gets his degree and then goes to work at an old, landmark restaurant where he is tasked with making the buffet for its wealthy patrons, for whom he fairly drips contempt and does mediocre work. He limps his way through heroin addiction and alcoholism (he really shouldn't be drinking, with his history). He cleans up, writes a book. It takes off because it is "shocking". He dumps his wife of 20+ years and marries a girl young enough to be his daughter and has a child with her. ( A girl for whom he purchases $1000 shoes, many a pair. Just sayin'.) Now he's old, gray, "respected" if not respectable and still trying to be a badass.

He's always wanted to be James Dean and he's really Arthur Fonzerelli.

So, I'm with Jaymes on this one.

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I think Bourdain always wants to be something that he isn't.

Rich? Check. Influential? Check. A doting father? Check. Relatively clean? Check. In demand? Check. Respected by his peers? Check. Fast friend to people who would generally be perceived to be his superior (e.g. Ripert)? Check. Writing for Treme? Check. Doing the Lucky Peach or Mind of a Chef with Chang? Check. Judge on Top Chef? Check? World traveler? Check. Book maven? Check.

If he wants to be something he isn't, I'd say he's making a hell of a job of trying to figure it out. A damn sight better than most of us.


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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He still entertains me when he isn't in pompous mode.

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He's a narcissist and they can be entertaining when they aren't being repetitive and annoying.

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It brought him a LOT of publicity and notoriety and admiration, which I believe was the intent, and which he exploited.

He found his cash cow and milked it 'til it kicked... exactly what I would do in the same situation.

Me, too. After all, how many working chefs are there? And out of that number, how many have achieved his fame and celebrity? Not many. So the schtick worked for him.

All I'm saying is that, especially after watching him on "The Taste," and in a few of his other recent efforts, I get the feeling that he's trying pretty hard to come up with a new schtick since being "brave and irreverent and raw and real" is no longer the attention-getter that it once was.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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New Orleans? Again? I knew it. It's as if there are no other major port cities with a rich food history in the South.

I feel cheated.

Let's face it, New Orleans is one of the very most-famous "food towns" in the US. It's inevitable that they would eventually choose it as a location for the whole show, not just a finale. And New Orleans can use the good publicity. If I were a tax-paying business owner there, or even worked at a tax-paying business there, I'd consider efforts to lure Top Chef to my city to be very well worth it.

Perhaps after we get this behind us, the producers will look a little more deeply into the south. I'd love to see Charleston featured.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Just want to add that another reason for considering Charleston (or Savannah) would be, in addition to the obvious Low Country cuisine, a foray into the food and culture of the Gullah community. Fascinating: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gullah


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Just want to add that another reason for considering Charleston would be, in addition to the obvious Low Country cuisine, a foray into the food and culture of the Gullah community: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gullah

Indeed. I think we discussed how nice it would be in the previous TC thread on Season 10 if the next one would be in Savannah or Charleston, with all that low-country and Gullah cuisine. Besides, there would have been lots of photo-ops too. Maybe even a link-in to how low-country/Gullah cuisine tied in with the food of the West Indies and places such as that place where the finale of TC season 8 occurred. (The Bahamas)

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I think most people who watch Top Chef don't give a crap about learning about Gullah or Low Country cuisine. They watch it for the drama and for what they perceive to be "cutting edge" or "top notch" cooking. Much of the cooking on Top Chef is neither, but most of those who watch the show wouldn't know the difference. It sure as heck is fancier than Olive Garden or Chili's stuff, that's for sure.

So of course the show will be set in places that are different enough to be "exotic", yet familiar enough not to turn off most of the general audience. Think of the general audience as the types who travel to far-off exotic countries like Mexico, Dominican Republic, or Cuba yet stay in all-inclusive resorts. Or those who travel to Asia or Europe on group tours that follow pre-determined itineraries that include all meals.

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I think most people who watch Top Chef don't give a crap about learning about Gullah or Low Country cuisine. They watch it for the drama and for what they perceive to be "cutting edge" or "top notch" cooking. Much of the cooking on Top Chef is neither, but most of those who watch the show wouldn't know the difference. It sure as heck is fancier than Olive Garden or Chili's stuff, that's for sure.

So of course the show will be set in places that are different enough to be "exotic", yet familiar enough not to turn off most of the general audience. Think of the general audience as the types who travel to far-off exotic countries like Mexico, Dominican Republic, or Cuba yet stay in all-inclusive resorts. Or those who travel to Asia or Europe on group tours that follow pre-determined itineraries that include all meals.

Seriously? Honestly, I don't think the "drama" is high enough to drag the drama crowd away from the Real Housewives or whatever or whomever of wherever... Lord knows there are more than enough drama shows that I wouldn't think Top Chef would be a threat to any of them.

I do think it appeals primarily to people interested in food, cooking, cuisine, travel. And the fact that there are a great many copycats out there (speaking of AB) tells me that the food competition and the locales are the main draw. It's been my personal experience, anyway, with my friends and family, that as the babyboomers age and retire, the kind of leisure interests and hobbies that have always appealed to a more affluent crowd with more time on their hands are becoming more and more popular.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Prasantrin, Savannah has all that and more. It is one of the only cities in the old South that wasn't torched and burned to the ground by General Sherman during the Civil War. Because of this, there are many, many antebellum mansions. It is a beautiful city with a lively tourist trade. There is voodoo, too, if people want "edge-y" without all the drunks in NOLA. If you've seen the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", it recounts an infamous murder that took place in Savannah years back and was shot in the city and the actual homes. There is a prosperous shrimping trade and the city is much cleaner than NOLA with lovely river views, wide boulevards, trolleys, landmark restaurants, bed and breakfasts and a large number of minority owned businesses.

We can listen to all the chefs belly-ache about how weird everyone talks. This will happen no matter where they film in the South since, as Bravo demonstrates each season: New York is Mecca and the rest of the country is an afterthought.


Edited by annabelle (log)

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New Orleans? Again? I knew it. It's as if there are no other major port cities with a rich food history in the South.

I feel cheated.

We'll have to watch the obligatory drunken revelers, watch the chef's make gumbo that the judges will all gripe about, shuck oysters and probably make King Cake, make a trip to Antoine's where they must act reverent, and of course, Emeril will be a judge. It's just cliché to me. So, yes I feel cheated when other cities like Charleston or Savannah get overlooked time and time again.

Prasantrin, Savannah has all that and more.

There is voodoo, too, if people want "edge-y" without all the drunks in NOLA.

There is a prosperous shrimping trade and the city is much cleaner than NOLA

We get it, you don't care for New Orleans and think it's a dirty city full of drunks, but it doesn't change the fact that tourism in NOLA is a $6 billion per year industry, and most of it is because of the food and beverage scene. It was inevitable that New Orleans was going to get a season of top chef before other cites in the south that don't generate the same numers. If you asked a lot of people to name the 5 best food cities in the country, most of them are going to name New Orleans as one of them. No other southern city can make that claim.


Edited by Twyst (log)

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That's fine, Twyst. I don't like it there, obviously, but that doesn't mean you can't think it's the bee's knees.

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All I'm saying is that, especially after watching him on "The Taste," and in a few of his other recent efforts, I get the feeling that he's trying pretty hard to come up with a new schtick since being "brave and irreverent and raw and real" is no longer the attention-getter that it once was.

http://www.thebraiser.com/parts-unknowns-second-episode-ratings/

But yes, my dufus rating for him goes way up on The Taste. But they even gave that a second season. Hopefully, they'll learn something from the final shows of the first season and do a tournament style where each chef works one-on-one with a contestant each week. When it came down to this at the end of the first season, it actually started to work (too late, I thought, but perhaps not.)

Anyway, Savannah would be really cool too. If there is a problem I have with this whole controversy, it's that Bravo isn't choosing the location solely on entertainment value and/or deservedness. Charlotte would be great too.

Presumably, if Akron, OH felt they would be a good location, they could get it with enough money. And if anyone in Akron feels that they deserve it on their own merits, having to pay wouldn't serve as an endorsement of that fact.

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All I'm saying is that, especially after watching him on "The Taste," and in a few of his other recent efforts, I get the feeling that he's trying pretty hard to come up with a new schtick since being "brave and irreverent and raw and real" is no longer the attention-getter that it once was.

http://www.thebraiser.com/parts-unknowns-second-episode-ratings/

So, okay, I stand corrected. It seems that "swearing, boobs, and prolapsed buttholes" are still as much crowd-pleasers as ever.

Dear Tony, still as uplifting to the human discourse as ever.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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So, okay, I stand corrected. It seems that "swearing, boobs, and prolapsed buttholes" are still as much crowd-pleasers as ever.

Dear Tony, still as uplifting to the human discourse as ever.

"If swearing, boobs, and prolapsed buttholes are, as a Fox News contributor put it yesterday,..."

I haven't noticed much of any of them (most distressingly, the boobs). But the Fox News crew contributor is on the case I guess.


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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I think most people who watch Top Chef don't give a crap about learning about Gullah or Low Country cuisine. They watch it for the drama and for what they perceive to be "cutting edge" or "top notch" cooking. Much of the cooking on Top Chef is neither, but most of those who watch the show wouldn't know the difference. It sure as heck is fancier than Olive Garden or Chili's stuff, that's for sure.

So of course the show will be set in places that are different enough to be "exotic", yet familiar enough not to turn off most of the general audience. Think of the general audience as the types who travel to far-off exotic countries like Mexico, Dominican Republic, or Cuba yet stay in all-inclusive resorts. Or those who travel to Asia or Europe on group tours that follow pre-determined itineraries that include all meals.

Seriously? Honestly, I don't think the "drama" is high enough to drag the drama crowd away from the Real Housewives or whatever or whomever of wherever... Lord knows there are more than enough drama shows that I wouldn't think Top Chef would be a threat to any of them.

I do think it appeals primarily to people interested in food, cooking, cuisine, travel. And the fact that there are a great many copycats out there (speaking of AB) tells me that the food competition and the locales are the main draw. It's been my personal experience, anyway, with my friends and family, that as the babyboomers age and retire, the kind of leisure interests and hobbies that have always appealed to a more affluent crowd with more time on their hands are becoming more and more popular.

Yes, seriously.

The type of drama in Top Chef is different from the type of drama in [fill in Bravo reality show here], but it's drama nonetheless. Who's going to tank? Who's going to get the win who shouldn't? Who should have gotten voted off who didn't? Or shouldn't have who did? Who's a dick/bitch/psycho/incompetent/star? People still get wrapped up in that stuff--look at the discussion that has taken place on eG regarding Top Chef for examples.

People who go to all-inclusive resorts are also interested in food, cooking, and travel.

I won't argue that those who watch Top Chef or Food Network are or aren't more affluent than those who might watch (for example) Duck Dynasty, but there are many types and sources of affluence. In my experience, people I know who watch these shows are those who are relatively new to food, travel, etc. They did not necessarily grow up being exposed to different kinds of food or even being exposed to different countries (I mentioned travelling to Angkor Wat to one of my Top Chef-watching, Food Network-loving "affluent" co-workers and he said, "Where's that?" He's about 10 years older than I, and makes almost 3 times as much, and he does travel--Europe, Mexico, Caribbean cruises ...). Again, this is based on my experience, my frame of reference. I live in a city that's probably very different in socio-economic make up than where you live, so this would, of course, colour my experiences and my opinions.

@annabelle--I don't doubt Savannah has all that and more, but Savannah has not yet reached the trendiness that NO has. Amongst the general audience that probably watches Top Chef, even Austin is more well-known than Savannah because of barbecue and food trucks (both of which have probably received attention on the Food Network). What kind of food-related publicity has Savannah received that would entice people to want to go there? NO has received loads of food-related publicity (as others have mentioned), so people are probably more familiar with the food available there, even the more "unusual" items. Therefore, it seems it would be a more natural choice over Savannah. I would guess of cities in the south, Memphis or Nashville might be in line for a show if neither has already hosted one.

(FWIW, Savannah is on my list of cities in the US I most want to visit--I'm speaking of the general public, not personally).

re: Tony Bourdain (staying on topic), he's providing what people want so he can still make a living. He's kind of like the Starbucks of food-celebrities. Don't fault the product. Fault the society that demands/encourages the product.


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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even Austin is more well-known because of barbecue and food trucks\

We also have Uchi/ko which is getting a ton of national attention now :P

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