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huiray

Top Chef: New Orleans

271 posts in this topic

Rona, I think you are contradicting your own original post about the viewership of the Top Chef franchise not being interested in the food. I happen to agree that post and with your point that many people watch the show for the hijinks, not the cooking (persons reading this blog excluded, of course.)

Austin, Atlanta, NOLA, and Los Angeles all tend to skew younger in demographic age. Obviously, NOLA has name recognition through its tragic accidents and natural disasters of the last decade. The fact that it is a party destination for Spring Break and Mardi Gras and that the city itself is in parts quite charming, haunted and very, very old, both in its cultural melting pot and its style of cooking does make it a natural destination city for Top Chef and an obvious one.

It could very well be that the cities of Savannah and Charleston have been approached by Bravo and turned them down as not being something they thought their cities needed. It could also be a matter of creative control over final production. Savannah and Charleston have a well-crafted identity as being genteel and Old Southern Charm personified. I'd need a better ear on how Bravo chooses its host cities or if it is just a bidding war to be able to give a better answer.

Re: Bourdain: still trying to be a hipster at nearly 60.

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I was thinking of cities in the US that might be chosen to host Top Chef. The list I came up with was:

Seattle

Portland

San Francisco

Los Angeles

Chicago

Memphis

Nashville

New Orleans

Austin

somewhere in Florida

New York

Cleveland

Washington, DC

maybe Boston

Then I looked up cities that have hosted Top Chef and crossed those off my list. The only one I missed was Las Vegas (which brought an "Of course! I can't believe I missed that one!" head smack).

After this season, I bet Cleveland or Portland.

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Rona, I think you are contradicting your own original post about the viewership of the Top Chef franchise not being interested in the food.

Where did I say that? I said "They watch it for the drama and for what they perceive to be "cutting edge" or "top notch" cooking."

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Obviously, NOLA has name recognition through its tragic accidents and natural disasters of the last decade.

Yeah, before Katrina and the BP oil spill nobody had even heard of New Orleans or cajun/creole food.

After this season, I bet Cleveland or Portland.

My money is on Portland! (although I wouldnt be shocked to see them go back to SF and do some Napa with it either since SF was season 1)


Edited by Twyst (log)

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Rona, I think you are contradicting your own original post about the viewership of the Top Chef franchise not being interested in the food.

Where did I say that? I said "They watch it for the drama and for what they perceive to be "cutting edge" or "top notch" cooking."

I'm sorry. I was going by memory.

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Obviously, NOLA has name recognition through its tragic accidents and natural disasters of the last decade.

Yeah, before Katrina and the BP oil spill nobody had even heard of New Orleans or cajun/creole food.

>After this season, I bet Cleveland or Portland.

My money is on Portland! (although I wouldnt be shocked to see them go back to SF and do some Napa with it either since SF was season 1)

Twyst, that isn't what I meant and if you read the rest of my post you'd be honest and acknowledge that instead of trying to crack wise. You can stop being angry because I don't like your town and was explaining that it does have some good things to it. They won't bring me there, so don't leave the light on for me.

I wouldn't be surprised if Top Chef filmed in Portland. Portland, ME would be much more interesting, but I can't see that happening any more than I can see Top Chef filming in any other part of the country that isn't a major media market.


Edited by annabelle (log)

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You can stop being angry because I don't like your town and was explaining that it does have some good things to it. They won't bring me there, so don't leave the light on for me.

Actually I live in Austin, but Im sure you probably hate it here too.


Edited by Twyst (log)

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No, my little brother and his family live there and have for about 22 years. I don't hate New Orleans, either. In fact, I never think about NO at all unless it's in a book I'm reading.

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Rona, I think you are contradicting your own original post about the viewership of the Top Chef franchise not being interested in the food.

Where did I say that? I said "They watch it for the drama and for what they perceive to be "cutting edge" or "top notch" cooking."

I'm sorry. I was going by memory.

s'okay.

I'd like to add the following cities to my list:

Minneapolis

Albuquerque / Santa Fe

maybe Phoenix (I don't know it as a food-oriented city, but I hear a lot of things about it as a tourist city. Well, Canadian tourists, anyway)

Of the above, I think only Albuquerque / Santa Fe has real potential based on my criteria (plenty of exposure on Food Network, different enough to be exotic, yet familiar enough not to freak people out)

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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

:laugh:

Surprisingly, I had heard of Uchi/ko before Paul Qui appeared on Top Chef and I've never even been to Austin. It was on my list of places to eat (if I ever made it to Austin). In fact, Paul Qui and Uchi/ko were the only reasons I watched that season of the show (haven't watched any since, nor had I watched any more than one or two of the earlier seasons).

Which makes me wonder if the general audience of Top Chef gets their food/travel/culture/dining information primarily from Food Network and its ilk.

I've been thinking about conversations between my co-workers who profess to be "foodies" and who watch Top Chef. They day after a Top Chef episode, their conversations usually go like this:

1: I can't believe x got kicked off.

2: I know. But if you think about it, x didn't follow the spirit of the challenge, and y did, so of course x would get kicked off.

1: Yeah, but y is such a jerk. Y won't last much longer, anyway.

No mention of cooking at all--not off the techniques, not of the likely taste of the food, nothing.

Again, these are people who provide my frame of reference. ymmv.

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:laugh:

Surprisingly, I had heard of Uchi/ko before Paul Qui appeared on Top Chef and I've never even been to Austin. It was on my list of places to eat (if I ever made it to Austin). In fact, Paul Qui and Uchi/ko were the only reasons I watched that season of the show (haven't watched any since, nor had I watched any more than one or two of the earlier seasons).

.

Paul left uchiko shortly after top chef, but it definitely helped its national visibility when he won. Tyson cole (exec. Chef) won the best chef sw. James beard award right before top chef aired, then Paul won it as chef de cuisine the following year, which is pretty crazy!

Austin is really lucky to have these restaurants, they would hold their own in any city in the world and they are a great training ground for up and coming cooks. There is really a heavy emphasis on teaching in those kitchens once you prove yourself, and cooks who have gone through their kitchens are starting to do great things.

Paul has his east side king trailers open right now, and qui should be opening soon.


Edited by Twyst (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

:laugh:

Surprisingly, I had heard of Uchi/ko before Paul Qui appeared on Top Chef and I've never even been to Austin. It was on my list of places to eat (if I ever made it to Austin). In fact, Paul Qui and Uchi/ko were the only reasons I watched that season of the show (haven't watched any since, nor had I watched any more than one or two of the earlier seasons).

Which makes me wonder if the general audience of Top Chef gets their food/travel/culture/dining information primarily from Food Network and its ilk.

I've been thinking about conversations between my co-workers who profess to be "foodies" and who watch Top Chef. They day after a Top Chef episode, their conversations usually go like this:

1: I can't believe x got kicked off.

2: I know. But if you think about it, x didn't follow the spirit of the challenge, and y did, so of course x would get kicked off.

1: Yeah, but y is such a jerk. Y won't last much longer, anyway.

No mention of cooking at all--not off the techniques, not of the likely taste of the food, nothing.

Again, these are people who provide my frame of reference. ymmv.

Quite true - but your colleagues are not the only ones who watch TC. There have been many discussions about the cooking aspects, or lack thereof, or what one could learn from the show, amongst folks I know or on forums - such as this one or others.

I pointed out earlier that TC has been acknowledged to now be a "Game Show" by the chief judge (Tom Colicchio) - which ought to answer part of your question. It has been discussed (at least elsewhere) how TC used to focus more on the cooking and less on the drama and how it has slipped more into the reality show realm, overall, with the progressive seasons - even though it has had many "drama" moments right from the beginning (the attempted Marcel's head-shaving included, in Season 2) It has even been stated by the producers how they wished to "get back to the cooking", even if their success is debatable. I for one will continue to treat it as a "Game Show" in the main, unless they prove otherwise in the new NOLA season.

As to whether the general audience who watches TC gets all their food info from the show or from the Food Network (which is NOT Bravo, BTW :-) ) - I would question the thought that they may...I would be inclined to think that they get info from other sources - even if it might be Yelp, heh!!! (This also feeds into the arm-waving we all had about what sort of folks "foodies" were on another contentious thread here on eG)

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Some further tid-bits about the Bourdain-Cohen flap and others drawn into it:

http://eater.com/archives/2013/05/17/bravo-gets-defensive.php#more

http://eater.com/archives/2013/05/16/david-simon-comparing-treme-tax-breaks-to-top-chef-funds-applestooranges.php

http://www.blackenedout.com/2013/05/top-shut-f-up.html

@IndyRob: regarding your "thanks" to Simon about putting out "Treme" (http://forums.egullet.org/topic/145021-top-chef-new-orleans/#entry1918887) - you might have a particular interest in what he had to say about this BP funds hoo-ha. :-)

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Mr. Simon has the vocabulary of a middle-schooler. I quit reading after "F*** Twitter."

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Oh, come on. Don't tell me you haven't at least muttered "F**k" under your breath at least on one occasion. :-)

As for the rest of Mr. Simon's response, I encourage you to get beyond that "F*** Twitter" and read the rest of it.

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I swear like a sailor, but I am not a public figure and I know when to clam it up. The point being, the article is entitled (I paraphrase) " Blah Blah Bravo Bullshit" and then lauds Boudain as an expert on NO (news to me) and introduces David Simon with "F**k Twitter". Sorry Dave, saying "F**k" isn't quite the attention grabber it used to be, if indeed it ever was.

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Some further tid-bits about the Bourdain-Cohen flap and others drawn into it:

http://eater.com/archives/2013/05/17/bravo-gets-defensive.php#more

http://eater.com/archives/2013/05/16/david-simon-comparing-treme-tax-breaks-to-top-chef-funds-applestooranges.php

http://www.blackenedout.com/2013/05/top-shut-f-up.html

@IndyRob: regarding your "thanks" to Simon about putting out "Treme" (http://forums.egullet.org/topic/145021-top-chef-new-orleans/#entry1918887) - you might have a particular interest in what he had to say about this BP funds hoo-ha. :-)

What a fountain of self-righteous bullshit Bourdain has turned-on. Everyone looks bad and he looks the worst. As soon as someone starts telling somebody else how they should spend their money, you know that they are full of crap.

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Yup. Bourdain has plenty of money. He can spend it reimbursing the Tourism Bureau and wallowing in his good deeds.

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Profanity aside (and it doesn't bother me) Simon's blog is a good read, if typically over-congratulatory as per Simon. As I posted earlier, I have no problem with TC taking the $200,000 as an incentive to film in NO, but Cohen's comparison to the tax incentives received by Treme was idiotic.

TC and Cohen need not apologize for taking the money to film a season in NOLA period. I know New Orleans is special and unique, but count me as another southerner who's fed up with the whole NOLA is the center of the cultural universe attitude.

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Be careful there, Brown Hornet. You'll have the native NOLA folks on you like a duck on a junebug. :laugh:

Someone give me the executive summary of what exactly Treme is, please. That name is a little twee.

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It's David Simon's not very good follow up to The Wire. Not related, just chronologically a follow up in his career. It screams out "trying to be cool by doing wild things like playing in a cover band and swearing in public," so Bourdain is a natural fit.

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Be careful there, Brown Hornet. You'll have the native NOLA folks on you like a duck on a junebug. :laugh:

Someone give me the executive summary of what exactly Treme is, please. That name is a little twee.

Properly, it's the Faubourg Treme, arguably the oldest distinctly black neighborhood in America. Second-oldest part of NOLA after the Vieux Carre (French Quarter). Historically home to "free people of color", or the non-enslaved people of African descent living during the period of slavery, many of whom were of multi-hued heritage. Birthplace of jazz, of urban Creole culture, early civil rights hotspot.....ever heard of Plessy v. Ferguson? Homer Plessy, shoemaker by trade, was a Creole (technically 7/8 white, 1/8 black) who lived in Treme; his calculated decision, as a member of the Citizens Committee and a white-appearing male who was nonetheless deemed black by the state, to sit down on a whites-only train car in 1892 resulted in the US Supreme Court formulating the doctrine of "separate but equal", allowing instutitional segregation to flourish until the 50s.

Watch the documentary Faubourg Treme if you want a longer and more nuanced history: http://www.tremedoc.com/

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Thanks, Celeste.

And here we are, 120 years later and Soledad O'Brien who is as Creole as Mr. Plessy, calls herself black. Life is strange.


Edited by annabelle (log)

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@IndyRob: regarding your "thanks" to Simon about putting out "Treme" (http://forums.egullet.org/topic/145021-top-chef-new-orleans/#entry1918887) - you might have a particular interest in what he had to say about this BP funds hoo-ha. :-)

I think that's what I was responding to. I referenced his generosity, but pointed out that Treme is not exactly a tourism advertisement.

To expand on what Treme is, a good description of the area of NOLA of that name has been given. But the HBO series Treme follows characters from that area in post-Katrina times. It's mainly about the despair of the people, and the struggles of trying to save the deep culture from a devolving general culture, focusing on music, food,politics and popular culture. It is extremely raw...alternately uplifting and gutting

Anyway, after all of this, I think I'm going very disappointed if this whole thing doesn't end with someone throwing a Sazarac at someone. :rolleyes:

ETA: Oh, and BTW, if you read the Sazerac link I posted above, You might find an indication as to why Eater seems to be cheering for Simon and Bourdain in this fight.


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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I miss a lot by not subscribing to HBO.

What does Treme mean? My French is not that great and I don't recognize it.

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