Archive for the ‘Anthony Bourdain’ Category

via Eat Me Daily I respond to Anthony Bourdain’s opinions about some of the food tv out there.

On Rocco DiSpirito’s The Restaurant:
It was a slow-motion car wreck, wasn’t it? It could have been a great show. It was a great concept. But I think Rocco’s hunger to be famous did not put him in a good light. It was painful to watch. Since that show, there’s been a lot of ill-will toward Rocco. It might be out of proportion to his crimes; a lot of chefs have gone on TV and acted silly. I think Rocco’s particular crime was that he was always such a talented cook. This is a guy who made really good food. A lot of us would have cut off a pinky to have that kind of natural talent and ability. We see him now as having wasted that talent. I think he’s penalized for being so talented. But Rocco doesn’t want to be a chef. He wants to be an entertainer. I was rooting for the guy on “Dancing With the Stars.” Compared to Kim Kardashian, he’s a fairly impressive guy. When he’s not shilling something on “Top Chef,” he’s actually a thoughtful judge and offers constructive criticism. But I don’t see him as a chef anymore, so I don’t feel like beating up on him.
Me: I have to say I have never seen this.

On Ace of Cakes:
I like this show. It’s kind of cool. I like Duff and the people he works with. That’s the real world of cooking.

Me: I think this is an interesting show but not a favorite.
On Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern:
I don’t know how he does it. I respect his stamina. Most of the food that he’s been eating, I’ve had. I’ve got to hand it to the guy for being able to get up in the morning and face nothing but lizard parts and testicles, especially in some tropical climate without the benefit of alcohol. I honestly don’t know how he does it. I would have hung myself in the shower stall.
Me: I love this show, everything except the stuff he eats, I cannot really call it food. I have to spend a good part of the time with my hand over my eyes. I appreciate that he makes the sacrifice, he is entertaining and the editing and filming is very good.

On Spain … On the Road Again:
I love Mario, worship the ground he works on. I think “Molto Mario” is the greatest stand-and-stir cooking show that was ever on the Food Network. It was valuable and informative. Mario is good for the world as few chefs are. He’s changed the landscape of restaurants in really great ways. He’s used his celebrity constructively to move dining in America forward. That said, I hate that show. I think it’s no fault of Mario’s. I just think it’s badly produced. There’s nothing worse than seeing a genius like Mario — he’s the smartest, funniest guy I know — waste his talent. I hope he had a great time making the show. And Mark Bittman, I don’t think he adds value to anyone’s TV show. He doesn’t come off well on TV. Let’s put it that way. I saw him make paella once on a TV show; he’s been dead to me ever since.

Me: Wow, okay well let’s see. I already blogged about this show and how much I love Mario Batali. I cannot imagine what moron decided to dump him from Food Network. That basically leaves them with Alton, Bobby Flay and Giada. I liked the series for the most part but it was not great.
I hate that Tony said such nasty things about Mark Bittman. I will have to agree that he is not the most engaging person on tv as a personality sometimes, but he has a lot to offer and should be appreciated a bit more. I think Tony should see him speak and read his written work. That is really where he excells although I do feel he did a great job on this series and was much more entertaining than Gwyneth.

On Iron Chef America:
I have a soft spot in my heart for this show. But the judges, man. Have they had Richard Grieco on yet as a judge? I think they had Criss Angel on, for chrissakes. Who are these douchebags they put on there? Jeffrey Steingarten at least knows what he’s talking about. The show gets really good chefs to go on there, and to have them judged by the likes of Mo Rocca makes me want to vomit in my mouth. I like Michael Symon, and I’m friends with all the Iron Chefs. I like all of those guys.

Me: Yep, have to agree with everything Tony says. I would like to see the actual cooking and no judge rather than some of the assholes they put on there that probably have no business even eating food prepared by these chefs.

On Paula Deen:
Paula strikes me as a hard-working, likable woman. I’m glad for her success. I like her Southern-based shows, but I don’t know if I want to see her in a muumuu cooking a Hawaiian luau. That makes the blood run cold.

Me: I struggle with this one also, I am sure Paula is a delightful person and I would probably love to know her but I cannot bear to watch her show and the food she cooks is basically a heart attack on a plate.

On Kitchen Nightmares:
The British “Kitchen Nightmares” is wonderful. It’s much closer to the real Gordon than anything we’ve seen on American television. The American version is pretty good, though. I enjoy watching it. That’s the Gordon I know and have a lot of respect for. The guy worked hard and came up hard. He worked like a maniac for some of the best chefs in Europe and did, in fact, achieve remarkable things in England. I love his restaurants. I like him. I wish him well. If having to be a caricature of his former self is going to get him bazillions of dollars, then why not?

Me: Totally agree, the British version is very very good but the chefs and restaurant owners over there actually have a love for the food or just need some help. The idiots in the States are too stupid to have a restaurant and you don’t care about them or even want them to be successful. This show fails because of the contestants or whatever they are called, not because of Gordon.

On Hell’s Kitchen:
Gordon doesn’t get much love and respect in the States from his peers. No one really gives a damn about his restaurants here. This show is a freak show. It’s a circus of cruelty, like shooting fish in a barrel with a cut-down 12-gauge shotgun. There’s no cooking. It’s just a bunch of dimwits — the lame, the halt and the delusional — and him pretending to be angry. There’s no suspense. None of these idiots would be qualified to work a Fryolator at a Chuck E. Cheese much less ever work in any Gordon Ramsay restaurant. The whole concept of the show is ridiculous. He would never hire these guys. Executive chef at one of his restaurants? I mean, please.

Me: I have to agree really, this show is absurd and so beneath Ramsay, it was fun the first couple of seasons but you know those people are not really the executive chefs anywhere, it is unrealistic to make it seem that they would be. I have never seen a single contestant that I would trust to run my restaurant. There have been several that I would hire, give a chance based on heart or drive, but certainly not to put in charge of anything. The sad thing is Gordon Ramsey gives great tv, this is just not a good concept. I would love to see him paired up with someone somehow, like Tony or even Rachel Ray, now that would be something to watch.

On Emeril Lagasse:
I like Emeril a lot. We get along. We hang out. I love his work and restaurants. I love hanging out and drinking with the guy. But I’ve told him to his face many times, “I love you and respect you. I just hate your shows.” I guess I’m not a guy who could handle a studio audience. Emeril’s just so damned lovable. But compared to who’s on Food Network now, he looks like Escoffier. In retrospect, that was pretty distinguished stuff compared to what that network’s doing now.

Me: I used to like him, now he bothers me a little for some reason. His recipes are nice and seem easy enough. I can watch his shows but I usually don’t.

On Man v. Food:
I find Adam really likable. I just worry for him physically. What he does on the show can’t be good for him. I don’t know why or how he’s doing what he’s doing. I’m not sure I want to watch. It’s terrifying. I don’t know how I feel about it all yet. I asked someone on the network, “Did this guy sign a 30-page liability waiver? You’re going to kill this guy!”

Me: No, no. Make this go away.

On Rachael Ray:
Rachael Ray now is a talk-show host. My wife watches her, I hate to admit it. She’s America’s little sister, because she’s a likable person. I think people respond to her because of her personality and not her cooking, which is pretty damned awful. She’s very nice, and I base this on no inside information: She’s big now, like Oprah big; the sooner she stops cooking, the happier we’ll both be.

Me: I have to totally disagree with Tony about Rachel, he just refuses to get her and understand what she has to offer. She is relevant and the dishes she creates are fun, easy, usually afforable and taste really good. Certainly not to be served at Le Bernadin but who wants to eat that every day? Or rather who has the time or can afford to cook like that every day?

On The Next Food Network Star:
It’s an interesting window into the cynical and terrifying real criteria of how they grow their own talent on Food Network. I mean, they’re pretty straight-forward about what you’ve got to do and who you’ve got to please and what the real priorities are to get a show there. You see the shear naked ambition of these often minimally talented cooks with the maximum ambitions of being television. The way they’re judged is unattractive but fascinating just the same. You really see the process though: Media training trumps cooking every time. I used to be on the Food Network, but I think I slipped under the wire. The network at that point used to be run by a cabal of people getting bored with their own programming. For whatever reason, they gave me two years of traveling wherever I wanted, doing pretty much what I’ve been doing on “No Reservations.” After two years, they wanted me riding around on a pony in a parking lot doing chili cook-offs instead of going to foreign countries. My feeling was, “Let someone else do that.”

Me: This show has no credibility. I will never watch it again. See this post for my reasons why.

On Martha Stewart:
I may not want to crochet or bring out the old glue gun, but Martha cooks correctly. If you watch her cook, she cooks with great proficiency and economy of movement. That’s a stone-cold efficiency that, as a professional, I gotta respect. She cooks well. The recipes on her show work. She doesn’t dumb down her food. She raises expectations. Meaning, if you watch her cook, you might actually learn something and your fight might actually be better than it was the day before. That can’t be said of other people.

Me: I have always liked Martha and thought she really was smart and knew her stuff but recently I have begun to doubt that. She seems to have a real misunderstanding of her fan base and chooses to be friendly with people that I don’t like. Her handlers need to bake her a clue.

On Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee:
She makes her audience feel good about themselves. You watch her on that show and you think, “I can do that. That’s not intimidating.” All you have to do is waddle into the kitchen, open a can of crap and spread it on some other crap that you bought at the supermarket. And then you’ve done something really special. The most terrifying thing I’ve seen is her making a Kwanzaa cake. Watch that clip and tell me your eyeballs don’t burst into flames. It’s a war crime on television. You’ll scream.

Me: Gah. Seriously.

On Good Eats With Alton Brown:
It’s an anomaly that his show is so informative. That’s a pretty brainy show. I’m shocked that it’s been on that long. Usually, anything remotely intelligent on the Food Network gets canceled. I don’t know what happened, but he’s on every other show on that network now. He legitimizes even their most atrocious product. He’s kind of the front man for some of the various dubious enterprises. I think “Good Eats” is a good and smart show. His commentary on “Iron Chef” doesn’t suck. You actually learn something! Of the Food Network personalities, he’s a welcome anomaly.

Me: J’adore Alton Brown. He is so cute and smart and funny, a perfect geek. I have actually learned a lot from him and his shows, he keeps it all very interesting, lots of information without making your eyes glaze over.
On Top Chef:
I’m a fan. I like watching the show, even at its worst. I like being on the show as a judge. I watch that show because Tom Colicchio makes that show for me. First of all, they ask the chefs to do very difficult things; it is a genuine challenge that requires people to dig really deep. From a professional point of view, it’s exciting for me. It’s a good quality competition. It’s the best cooking competition on television by far. It’s due entirely to Tom. He keeps the show straight; no producer is ever going to go up to Tom and say, “We can’t send her home this week because she’s cute or she’s got a good backstory.” By virtue of his personality and his impeccable credentials, Tom makes the show riveting viewing. Toby Young, what’s up with that? He’s an egregious add-on. They were looking for a snarky British guy, and Toby wrote a successful book that made a good case for his uselessness. He’s lived up to that promise.
Me: I do love this show because of the cast, guests and the contestants. The challenges are usually good and difficult enough to keep me interested but I detest the poor poor editing, there does not need to be so much made up or constructed drama. Tom Colicchio may be a stand up guy and all that but it is hard to feel the show is completely credible when you have nearly a dozen people blogging afterward to tell you what was real and what was shiteous editing.
I don’t know what all the flack is about Toby, I don’t see him as all that mean. I am just going to assume he has an abrasive personality in person that some people don’t like. I think he is quite amusing myself. However, that said, losing Ted Allen was a huge mistake. Whoever is responsible.

On The Chopping Block:
There’s something very Michael Corleone about Marco; he doesn’t have to yell or scream like Gordon. This is a guy with enormous moral authority. It’s interesting to note the relationship between the two of them. Marco is a natural-born genius. He’s the original rock ‘n’ roll chef; he brought glamour and a sense of self-worth to all non-French-speaking chefs the world over. He’s a revolutionary figure. He doesn’t have to yell. But he can be deeply terrifying by just raising an eyebrow. Marco can walk into a room full of strangers and bark out a command, and everyone would do it, no matter what he asked. He’s got a real commanding presence. He’s physically imposing; he looks like a Venetian prince. He’s just somebody born to authority. He is a legend to young culinary students and chefs of my generation. He’s doing the show because, having never traveled seriously before, he likes it here. And he may enjoy sticking it to Gordon. I’m really looking forward to watching this because Marco just kicks ass.

Me: I loved this first episode, I already had a small crush on Marco, he is very sexy. I made the comment that I was not sure I could even watch it, because it was so realistic as far as how things happen. I was not real sure about using USFoods, I would personally close my doors before I used that company but I guess non restaurant people watching do not care about stuff like that. There were a lot of issues that didn’t work, like what happened with the couple that left, I would like more info on that and wonder if they really just wanted 15 minutes. If they show Marco’s Vans one more time I may have to rethink my commitment.
*photo from Austin Chronicle

Read Full Post »

I was starting a new post and it began “When I was cooking professionally… I will make that post another time as I have now been distracted by something else, no, not a shiny object this time. Yesterday I read this post on Tigers & Strawberries explaining to us all that you are only allowed to call yourself a chef if you are an actual chef de cusine, If you do not know what that is, have no fear as the author will tell you.

Cambridge shows this entry chef -noun [C] a skilled and trained cook who works in a hotel or restaurant, especially the most important cook. I actually think the position the author is describing would be the executive chef to whom the chef de cuisine will report but to be completely fair, these titles are all just assigned by whoever makes the rules in that particular kitchen, it means whatever the person bestowing the title says it means. The man that owned my last restaurant called me the prep cook. Seriously. I in turn compared him to the manger in Waiting even though he was nothing like that.
This morning I read another What is a chef-type entry, one which was written so poorly I am not really sure what we are being told, I think in the end it is some sort of a tribute to Nigella. I guess my point here is so what? I mean I sure as hell ain’t no Alain Ducasse or Gordon Ramsay or even a Bittman or a Nigella but I went from waitress to General Manager in the corporate world where I had to do everything from cleaning shit in the toilets (gah! that merits a separate blog post, people are nasty) to assembling last minute parties of 50 church goers, the Kryptonite of every restaurant employee.
I then built several restaurant kitchens from the ground up, from the floor tile to every recipe, spoon and spatula, I purchased the goods, hired and trained the staff, tweaked and slaved, sweated and swore, cooked my ass off from 4-5am til it was done every day for over a decade to create a restaurant. The last one still puts 14-18% on the bottom line week after week and trust me if you don’t know what that means it is good. Damn good. In fact I consistenly delivered an 11 to 14% in the corporate world. Yes, I really was that good. ::blink blink::
So am I a chef? I have never been to formal cooking school other than here and there, I have never studied under a master and have never even been to New York City but I do meet all the criteria laid out in that blog post as to what makes a chef. I no longer toil away in my restaurant, when we split he dropped some cash on me and I hopped on a jet and stayed away until I stopped twitching. I am not sure I could ever bring myself to cook professionally again as it just takes so much of your soul and he took what was left of it.
Now I have a little food blog. I adore cooking and eating, I love to read blogs written by other people who cook and eat, I love to watch cooking shows on tv, if I ever met Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio or Tony Bourdain I would probably pee my pants. I cannot cook as well as they do, or even come anywhere close but I bet I could run a kitchen as well as any of them. So am I a chef?
So what if I am or not and so what if all of these other food loving people are not, so what if they call themselves a chef or a cook or a mom or dad, who cares? They aren’t hurting anyone. I actually AM a chef and it doesn’t nbother me so why does it bother all of these supposed non-chefs? So the bottom line here is could you please refer to me as Chef Juli from now on, apparantly I have earned it.

Read Full Post »

I really just needed to upload this image but I do like the theme so far, it needs some tweaking definitely but I am getting ready to put up a crapload of recipes so I wanted to get it sorted. No Reservations is going to be in Venice tonight, I am really stoked to see it!
So annoyed that I do not get Bravo out here in the boonies so I have not been able to watch Top Chef at all this season. I am sure there are other shows I have missed, working so much to get back over to Europe that I basically fall into bed at 8pm. Soon I will have everything in order, the baby will be born and I can get things moving forward again.

Read Full Post »

Ok so the experience sucked. So what? I mean come on people, we dont watch No Reservations to get the gilded version, if we wanted that we would watch Samantha Brown. Will it keep me from visiting Romania? Of course not, the people who watch his show are intelligent enough to understand that shit happens. I don’t know why the people of Romania need to be upset, I mean we have George Bush representing our country, how much more embarassing can it get?
By the way, I applaud the poor person who is stuck moderating that post, truly I do but two comments I made did not get published and the one that was got redlined into a mess of unrecognizable bad grammar and spelling. I am sure I can spell appalled. Really I am. I don’t see why Tony can say fuck but I cannot say ass. I call foul.

Read Full Post »

I read a post over on Chez Pim about Tony and thought I would add my own Love Letter. I adore this man, not just because he is completely hot I mean Seriously Hot but also the way he gets right to it. You know if he has something to say it is how he genuinely feels.
Tony struck me first on Top Chef when he called Howie a son of a bitch after Howie quoted one of his books. That was when my crush began. I had seen an episode where he was eating some disgusting crap on a houseboat in Viet Nam maybe and thought gah, this dude is nasty. I thought he was probably someone that I would not enjoy but I did not get to see his personality.
My favorite episode has to be the one where he and his crew were trapped in Beirut. I have since downloaded all episodes of No Reservations to my iPhone. Even though he still hates my girl Rachel Ray, I think he is great.

Read Full Post »