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Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Seasons 1-5


Louisa Chu
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So I was watching the Chile episode this evening.....and I thought I saw......Mr. Bourdain & some of the NR crew in a commercial for Bing.com.  Did anyone else see this?  Am I hallucinating?  I've had a few drinks, but not that many.  I was surprised, having been under the impression Mr. Boudain was so anti-shill (so to speak).

I found that odd too! Perhaps Mr. Bourdain is finding that children are expensive...

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So, I’m watching the show last night and I realize this is the same damn show, over and over. There is the “pork scene,” the “tube meat/hot dog scene,” the “sitting in a bar talking to someone local scene,” the “market scene,” the “eating something at the market scene,” the “look at me, I’m eating offal with a smile on my face! scene”, the “street vendor scene,” the “criticism of something irrelevant scene,” and the bonus “blood sausage scene.” The most novel thing about last night’s episode turned out to be the bing commercial. Unlike everything he did in Chile, at least with the bing commercial I had to ask myself "did he just do that?"

What's happened to this show? Has the concept simply run its course or can we expect something more?

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Hubby changed the channel last night about half way through - to a rerun of the old movie Stir Crazy. I thought this show kinda jumped the shark a couple of seasons ago - it is no longer about being a traveler rather than a tourist, which was the original premise.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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So, I’m watching the show last night and I realize this is the same damn show, over and over. There is the “pork scene,” the “tube meat/hot dog scene,” the “sitting in a bar talking to someone local scene,” the “market scene,” the “eating something at the market scene,” the “look at me, I’m eating offal with a smile on my face! scene”, the “street vendor scene,” the “criticism of something irrelevant scene,” and the bonus “blood sausage scene.” The most novel thing about last night’s episode turned out to be the bing commercial.  Unlike everything he did in Chile, at least with the bing commercial I had to ask myself "did he just do that?"

What's happened to this show?  Has the concept simply run its course or can we expect something more?

I agree--I'm usually the first to defend him, but I thought last nights show was formulaic and rather one note. I never felt excitement about the food or chemistry between him and the camera, the food or the other people. I really hope it the rest of the season gets better.

Gnomey

The GastroGnome

(The adventures of a Gnome who does not sit idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages)

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Congratulations to Tony and the others working on this show for their Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Nonfiction Series".

They also received Emmy nominations for:

Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Porgramming

Outstanding Picture Editing For Nonfiction Programming

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I found that odd too!  Perhaps Mr. Bourdain is finding that children are expensive...

Thank you for chiming in. I'm glad to know someone else saw it as well (that means I'm not entirely insane).

"It was the lard that did it." -- Jamie Hyneman

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Is the Bing promotion really a surprise - That's been Tony's M.O. from day 1. He says one thing (in a snarky, sarcastic way) and a year later when it fits him - its cool.

He trashes chefs that don't cook everyday - he no longer cooks everyday.

He rips on celebrity chefs - he becomes a celebrity chef.

He puts down chefs that hawk products - he starts hawking products.

Has he been on the Rachel Ray show yet? If not, expect it next year...

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When did he rip chefs that don't cook every day? Going back as far as the Las Vegas episode of NR, he quite clearly says he has no problem with a celeb chef not being in his kitchen because he's already trained his chefs to his exacting standards and personal style. And Bourdain isn't a celebrity chef - he's a celebrity writer who was a chef. As for Bing, (1) he isn't pitching them for his direct $ benefit (like Catherine Zeta-Jones for TMobile), but, rather, seems to be cross-plugging them for his network (you can bet it's a contractual thing), and (2) he never actually says a word about Bing. Not to promote them, nor even mention them. That being said, he IS in a plug for them, so I'm sticking with my shark-riding, if not actually shark-jumping, position . . .

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As for Bing, (1) he isn't pitching them for his direct $ benefit (like Catherine Zeta-Jones for TMobile), but, rather, seems to be cross-plugging them for his network (you can bet it's a contractual thing), and (2) he never actually says a word about Bing.  Not to promote them, nor even mention them.  That being said, he IS in a plug for them, so I'm sticking with my shark-riding, if not actually shark-jumping, position . . .

How do you know that he's not making money from the commercial?

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Because, while he's appearing in the spot, he never actually mentions it by name or endorses it, which indicates to me that the big ad campaign brains at Bing basically worked it out with TC that they'd produce and TC would air an ad for Bing with Tony in it - but Tony, being Tony, would not pitch anything. Bing buys air time on TC, like any other company buying air time, and TC gets the money - not Tony. Not as a celebrity spokesman (like Zeta-Jones), nor as a simple performer (like the dude in the AT&T commercials.) It's a little different from most TV ads - I'm betting TC made the deal with Bing and then had Tony simply appear in it, more like a cross-plug than a hard-sell ad. (Tony has contractually had to cross-lug a lot of other stuff for TC, if you recall - notably, Bizarre Foods with Zimmern, when that first came out). And remember, Tony refused to continue to blog for Top Chef simply because Bravo suddenly got Michelob to sponsor their web page. Tony's position on that was that he blogged for free and was not about to even seem to be appearing to promote Michelob nor to receive financial renumeration for it. (And, yes, I had a brief e-chat with him about that a year or so ago.)

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I like Tony Bourdain - a lot. He is a great personality, knows food and I generally find him very entertaining. His show is usually informative, albeit formulaic. I would love to be doing what he does. What I don't like, though, is how he repeatedly takes contradictory attitudes depending on where he is. While he never puts down well made traditional cooking, especially offal, he often has unkind things to say about creative cookery and tasting menus in general unless he happens to be on air dining in such a restaurant. He was very quick to take the same approach at Star Chefs last year following the lead of fellow discussant Marco Pierre White in dissing multicourse tasting menus, despite his being on record as raving about elBulli and recently Arzak and The Royal Mail. In the same episode as his Arzak meal, he chimed in when discussing the merits of Etxebari how that kind of cooking focusing on the fine product was so far superior to fancy cooking techniques that distort the product. I wouldn't have a problem with that if he was specific or even if generalizing he expressed that there are indeed exceptions, but he doesn't. He casts a very wide net and it comes off as rather two-faced. I don't think that he actually is, but I would prefer it if he didn't come off that way.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not that it's in any way unexpected or interesting, but look what Tony was reading in Indonesia. Caught this in the recent compilation/rerun episode of No Reservations on street food.

55qefr.png

Sitting on a lake reading Heat waiting for lakeside pancakes...Jesus Christ. Few things sound better :)

Lakeside pancakes...it's got a ring to it.

Edited by KrazzyJoe (log)
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I like Tony Bourdain - a lot. He is a great personality, knows food and I generally find him very entertaining. His show is usually informative, albeit formulaic. I would love to be doing what he does. What I don't like, though, is how he repeatedly takes contradictory attitudes depending on where he is. While he never puts down well made traditional cooking, especially offal, he often has unkind things to say about creative cookery and tasting menus in general unless he happens to be on air dining in such a restaurant. He was very quick to take the same approach at Star Chefs last year following the lead of fellow discussant Marco Pierre White in dissing multicourse tasting menus, despite his being on record as raving about elBulli and recently Arzak and The Royal Mail. In the same episode as his Arzak meal, he chimed in when discussing the merits of Etxebari how that kind of cooking focusing on the fine product was so far superior to fancy cooking  techniques that distort the product. I wouldn't have a problem with that if he was specific or even if generalizing he expressed that there are indeed exceptions, but he doesn't. He casts a very wide net and it comes off as rather two-faced. I don't think that he actually is, but I would prefer it if he didn't come off that way.

I think Ferran Adria would be the first person to make that same sweeping generalization, though. It's a comment about the soulless majority and a jab at the traditional experience. This is reflected in the best high-end restaurants. The evolution in the food and the surroundings in the past five years alone, let alone ten and twenty, shows this. The experience Tony was probably talking about is the same kind that Ferran was cooking in before he left. This was expressed in Decoding Ferran Adria, really. It's a big part of the main metaphor. The truffle or the pear. Ferran and his team (and many of his peers) were getting tired of using truffles, foie, and white tablecloths as crutches.

In fact, his "two-faced" attitude was the central theme of the entire Ferran episode. Questioning what the difference was between making great ham or even simply cooking something and making spaghetti out of cans and pastaless ravioli.

It's understandable to see it as two faced and it is easily interpretable as at least contradictory. But I'd say it's more paradoxical than contradictory, and only if you take it more absolutely than it should and apply it to an absolute science of which cooking and eating is not.

Most of the superstar innovator chefs today seem to share this view, even if it is in some ways directly contradictory to what they're doing. They bring things that aren't part of the traditional, stick up your ass experience and put it in that context. A shared focus seems to be the obsession and acknowledgement of the importance of homemade food, your mother and grandmother's food, and simplicity of ingredients. Good ingredients "not screwed up". Not overshadowing good ingredients.

Look at Marco's obsession with mother nature as the true artist. And the Chef's job being to simply not fuck it up.

Look at the one place Ferran takes Bourdain to eat. One of his favorite places to eat, one of his favorite eating experiences. And it's just a tiny shop, a dude with a grill and fresh seafood prepared without pomp or exaggeration.

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I don't know if it is fair to throw rocks for being in a commerical. The guy has a right to make a living. Kids are expensive, I wish I could bag a commercial deal to help pay for mine.

The first few epsiodes of this new season have been very enjoyable. I thought the street food episode while not gold was at least entertaining. Kind of like the food porn one. They have a lot of left over bits and pieces and I think try to make use of them.

Given the alternative to this consistently entertaining show is something along the lines of Paris Hilton BFF and 16 and pregnant, I don't think I am going to channel surf anytime soon.

If there is a show that is past its point I would have to say Mr. Zimmer needs new employment. I know there is that fear factor interest in what he eats but not for me. He also as the seasons progress is becoming rather condecending which I don't like. I also can't stand the clicking jaw and smacking when he eats its like being trapped at Grandma's house all over again!!!

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Zimmer has always seemed more like a tourist than a traveller to me. He seems to make every meal he eats and culture he experiences into a novelty. I always expect to hear fart noises and bike horns. He would fit in a lot better on morning zoo radio.

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Zimmer has always seemed more like a tourist than a traveller to me. He seems to make every meal he eats and culture he experiences into a novelty.  I always expect to hear fart noises and bike horns.  He would fit in a lot better on morning zoo radio.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

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I enjoyed the street food episode. And it had the added bonus of bringing back one of my biggest laughs the show has given me...

"Sqweasel? What's sqweasel?" :laugh::laugh::laugh:

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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  • 3 weeks later...

as the grillbitch doesnt deliver outside the us.... anyone has the skull/knife logo that tony has on his chef jacket? i used to have it on a high resolution (someone on myspace had it as his background) but i deleted it sometime ago and i cant find it again :(

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Nope. But if you want Beth to send it to me and I'll send it on to you, you can email me at bukigreco@aol.com. I'm in NY, she knows me and has sent me Ts before, so I'll just have you pay for the shipping to you when I get it from her. It's a drag, I know, but Beth must have her reasons for not doing non-US shipping (mainly, I think, because she's a one-woman operation with a baby and step-toddler, a private chef AND Tony's right hand man, and she probably can't get to FedEx half the time (!!))

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