My Brioche Is Hanging Upside Down

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Over at To The People, Baylen Linnekin says hey ho, let's go to bad-boy chef (and public Ramones fan) Anthony Bourdain's new Travel Channel show, No Reservations. Why?

Try not to fear for your own life as Bourdain describes his time eating and drinking in the Wild-West atmosphere of a Cambodian automatic-weapons firing range….

"Basically, everything that makes this place good would be illegal in the United States," say Bourdain in a promo for No Reservations. Bourdain's contempt for the nanny state, and his love of straight, plain language makes his return to original programming sure to be the highlight of my summer.

Bonus points: Bourdain once called Emeril Lagasse an "ewok," which qualifies for a "Bam!" Whole thing here.

NEXT: You Had Me at "I'm Feeling Lucky"

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  1. ewok!? heh

    I’ve always felt there was something very telling in the success of a TV chef that keeps “kicking it up a notch” by drowning the imitation llama barf he’s cooking with enough wine and garlic till it no longer smells like alpaca. BAM!

    Back in the day I used to console myself, after surfing through Emeril, with “At least we’ve got Martha Stewart”. You may say what you like about Martha, but I always thought her show could be titled “Civilization: it’s a good thing”.

  2. Freaking awesome. I’ll have to check this show out, and probably the books.

    Via the amazon.com link to Bourdain’s book on Typhoid Mary:

    …only a New York guy would describe bacteria settling into a gall bladder “like rent-controlled pensioners.”

    If you want to have an automatic-weapons*-and-five-star-cuisine kind of experience, I highly recommend The Elk Mountain Resort near Montrose, CO. Through a couple of utter strokes of pure luck, I was contracted to do some sound work for their integrated shoot-house: a fully-enclosed, 360 degree live-fire range complete with fog, moving targets, and piped in audio.

    For info on the shooting club click here: The Valhalla Shooting Club

    I was there a week before the resort went online, and helped with behind the scenes type stuff while Rob Pincus ran a few SWAT teams through the place.

    If you go, be sure to catch dinner in the main building. The Arctic Char was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

    *At the time I was out there, they didn’t have any automatic stuff, but the plan was that they were going to acquire a number of Title II NFA submachineguns.

  3. I love Bourdain, not just because he openly considers Emeril a hack, but mostly because he wrote Kitchen Confidential, where he lays out the real culinary lifestyle: drinking Wild Turkey for breakfast, pinching waitresses, jamming out lunch, snorting after lunch, getting into a fistfight in the meat walk-in for fun, getting through the dinner rush with three LI Iced Teas and smoking a bone during clean-up–and working with food somewhere in between. And smoking several packs a day.

    That’s the restaurant world I remember, where the typical three-star kitchen was to urban life what the Pequot was to the sea: dropouts, misfits, parolees, immigrants, flaming gays, militant lesbians, career drunks, part-time DJs, grad students, and the chef-artiste who wonders what the hell he’s got himself into.

    Anyway, I saw Bourdain on Food Network doing his thing, and yeah, the scene in Cambodia in the weapons range was great–hard liquor combined with automatic firearms. Hmm. I’ll definitely check his show out.

  4. Bourdain is my hero. I met him at the (now, sadly, closed) Borders in Bellevue, at a book signing, and he mentioned this show. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since. He also drew a cool little picture of a chef’s knife in my copy of Kitchen Confidential.

    Between Bourdain and Alton Brown, who needs twerps like Emeril and Bobby Flay?

    As someone in the linked comment thread says, he’s the Hunter Thompson of the food world.

  5. Things I learned from Bourdain:

    Find good fish tacos where ever you can.
    Don’t eat lizard.
    Haggis actually looks pretty good.

  6. Eh, Bourdain quit slagging Emeril awhile back and has found many things to admire in him.

  7. I’m curious, y’all: what’s wrong with Emeril? I don’t know that much about him, and maybe his show sucks, but the dinner I ate at Emeril’s is by far the best meal I’ve ever had. Whatever else is wrong with him, he runs good restaurants.

  8. Maybe there’s something wrong with me — when me and my big stomach watch the food channel most of the time it doesn’t make me remotely hungry.

    I suppose watching a Hunter S. Thompson type going at the world with a chef’s knife might be amusing, but for christ’s sake I wish they would show something I might actually want to cook for a change on that food channel.

    Never had that problem watching creole chef John Folse on his poorly distributed show from a few years back. Now there was a chef who made you want to fire up the cast iron skillet and go to it.

  9. Even if it was just red beans and rice.

  10. he lays out the real culinary lifestyle: drinking Wild Turkey for breakfast, pinching waitresses, jamming out lunch, snorting after lunch, getting into a fistfight in the meat walk-in for fun, getting through the dinner rush with three LI Iced Teas and smoking a bone during clean-up–and working with food somewhere in between.

    lol — i can see right away why reason would recommend him. “lawless individuality? where do we sign up?” 🙂

    someone will have to explain to me someday how, while television chefs flaunting their rejection of common civility is a good thing, the executive branch doing the same is somehow both bad and unexpected.

    i’m with warren — and i really think jacques pepin was the king of this little genre of the reductive/industrial culinary arts.

  11. “Just red beans and rice”? “just” red beans and rice? Red beans and rice (especially with hot sausage) is one of the best meals ever devised. The only problem is finding someone outside of New Orleans who can cook it right.

    Sorry, I’m a little bitter about this; I just moved out to California for school, and the people out here can’t cook worth a damn. Not just the cafeteria food–it’s an entire state that can’t cook (actually, I suspect it’s more like an entire-fortynine-states that can’t cook, but I only have intimate experience with two).

  12. Emeril is pretty well respected as a cook and his restaurants can be good – though his original shops were better when he was involved in the day-to-day operations.

    My biggest problem with him is his live show with the sycophantic audience. He’s just a little too self-conscience about being a character called Emeril. The other shows he’s done, just talking about food are pretty good.

    My favorite “TV chef” would have to be the late Jamie Shannon from “Off the Menu” on Turner’s South. I think Jamie replaced Emeril at Commander’s Palace and “Off the Menu” would have him tromping through the bayou, killing something, then cooking it up back in the restaurant. I’ve never seen anyone who seemed to enjoy food and cooking as much as he did. The show is still on, but it isn’t the same since his passing.

  13. Red beans and rice (especially with hot sausage) is one of the best meals ever devised. The only problem is finding someone outside of New Orleans who can cook it right.

    Amen, brother. That goes for other cajun cuisines as well. The 4 years I spent in Nawlins was the best eatin’ of my life.

  14. I have an odd fondness for that tempting little morselRachel Ray, even though I have my doubts about her cooking knowledge.

  15. Huh. Emeril’s shtick on the live show is annoying, but he makes some great food. Of course, how can you go wrong with New Orleans-style cuisine? I’ve been to his restaurant in Orlando and found it to be pretty danged good.

    Bourdain is certainly edgy and angry, but I don’t know if that alone should qualify him for “Official Cook of Reason” 🙂 I daresay that Lagasse is the better chef–not that merit should be compared to “coolness” or anything.

    As far as cooking entertainment goes, give me Alton Brown and Good Eats every time. I’ll never forget the time where he made a smoker out of cardboard–he’s like the Macgyver of cooking.

  16. Bourdain’s kitchen book was so accurate that I was having line cook Saturday rush flashbacks. I swear I never drank, sweat or, well, sweared as much as those four years on the grill.

  17. ?The FDA Took My Souffle Away?
    ?Beat On The Batter?
    ?Now I Wanna Sniff Fondue?
    ?Graham Kerr Was A Drunk Cooker?

  18. I have an odd fondness for that tempting little morselRachel Ray, even though I have my doubts about her cooking knowledge.

    Glad to see I’m not the only one. She’s a delightfully engaging host on her shows, and her recipes, for being quick and simple, are quite good.

    I just need to figure out a way to ask her on a date, and I’ll be set…

  19. While I’m not into Emeril much anymore, his show back in 1999-2000 (combined with living in Louisiana, where everyone always talks about food) got me into cooking, so I have him to thank for that. Nowadays the only things I watch on Food are Iron Chef and Alton Brown (they have really pared down their offerings too much).

    While I watch Iron Chef America, I pretty much know how Iron Hack Bobby Flay got on there (his contract states that he gets to be on every food network show apparently), but who the hell though Cat Cora was Iron Chef worthy? She seems like a good cook (like your grandmother is a good cook), but has little talent other than minor creativity and proper technique. Kerry Simon absolutely blew her away the other night, yet only won by less than a point. That, and wtf is up with theme ingrediants like hamburger and pizza dough? Don’t they realize that part of the Iron Chef mystique is that the stuff they cook is so foreign?

    Sorry, just needed to vent.

  20. I just need to figure out a way to ask her on a date, and I’ll be set…

    You’ll be sad to hear that she’s either just been married or about to be married.

    We’ve made a few of her things and yep, they’re generally good and very easy to make (though usually take longer than 30 minutes).

  21. someone will have to explain to me someday how, while television chefs flaunting their rejection of common civility is a good thing, the executive branch doing the same is somehow both bad and unexpected.

    Um, maybe perhaps because a television chef doesn’t have the ability to pass laws that are enforced by guys with guns?

    I mean, just hazarding a guess here…

    You’ll be sad to hear that she’s either just been married or about to be married.

    Oh well. I will still continue to catch her show when I can, as well as use the recipes from it. And yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to pull one off in thirty minutes or less, but generally between 45 min to an hour.

  22. Most people here in New Orleans either absolutely love Emeril or absolutely hate him. My grandmother thinks that he walks on water, and I thought she was going to go into cardiac arrest when she saw him once in Emeril’s (needless to say, service was brisk). My mother thinks that he is an abomination, and complains that you can’t reproduce his cooking because he uses ingredients you can’t find in a regular grocery store. Not to mention the absurdity that is his live show, with the audience going ooh and ahh every time he opens up the balsamic vinegar. Anyway, here’s a tip for you: If you’re ever here in New Orleans, skip Emeril’s (it’s practically a tourist trap) and go to his much more fantastic Delmonico instead.

    If you’re looking for some good recipes, check out John Folse. He’s a great chef and you can reproduce most of his recipes at home.

  23. John Folse web site.

    http://www.jfolse.com/

  24. I hear Giada de Laurentiis (“Everyday Italian”; granddaughter of producer Dino) has delish and fail-safe recipes, despite her being anomalously skinny. She’s real cute, too.

  25. In the Food Babe category, Giada de Laurentiis, Nigella Lawson, and Bobby Flay’s old sidekick, Jacqui Malouf all work for me 🙂 Strange how I know them all–I don’t really watch much TV. I guess babeness transcends media 😉

  26. All this talk about cooking, food and New Orleans and NO JUSTIN WILSON references, hoo-boy!!

    poco
    Thanks for mentioning her, I have seen her a couple of times but didn’t know her name or even what time her show is on. She more than just real cute.

    dave b
    Not to mention the absurdity that is his live show, with the audience going ooh and ahh every time he opens up the balsamic vinegar.
    I think the live audience really ruined his show. I watched him years ago, before the “live” show and really enjoyed it. When I stumbled across his new one, I couldn’t make it thru one show.

    the regulator
    Don’t they realize that part of the Iron Chef mystique is that the stuff they cook is so foreign?
    I think they do overlook that. The items the original Iron Chef used were normal items (for them) but thats not why Americans tuned in. I still have nightmares about that slimey fish from the Sea of Japan.

  27. I apologize for not dropping props for John Folse. I would see him from time to time at Louie’s in Baton Rouge (best omlettes and biscuits on earth, IMHO), though I never made it down to Lafitte’s Landing (I think it had burned down at some point while I lived in BR).

    Giada’s pretty hot, and her marinara sauce is really good (it’s what I use when I want to make my own sauce). The camera work combined with her wardrobe often make for great tv.

  28. Hey jadagul,

    If you are anywhere around Los Angeles, I’ll show you a place or two that’ll change your mind about Cali being a black hole of cuisine. If you are in the Bay area, I can recommend Betelnut Cafe in the city and Zachary’s in Berkeley.

  29. The items the original Iron Chef used were normal items (for them)

    Horse mane fat is a regular item of Japanese cuisine?

  30. I have an odd fondness for that tempting little morsel Rachel Ray

    So, I’m not the only one to fantasize about rubbing E.V.O.O. all over her B.O.D.Y.

  31. Emeril may be a TV hack, but I disagree that his approach to food is wrong or even that it lacks composition. Have a meal at Delmonico in NO, and tell me how much of a food cretin he is.

    I don’t like the character of Emeril, but I do like the new American approach to cuisine that focuses on great food instead of ‘exclusivity’. I’ll leave that to the French.

  32. Horse mane fat is a regular item of Japanese cuisine?

    I must have missed that episode. I was thinking more along the lines (even though I have eaten 2 of these) of shark fins, eels and that great image of them pulling the octopus out of the holding tank. Some odd ingredient would be unveiled and someone on the panel would talk about how they liked that item prepared.

  33. Giada looks like a Praying Mantis.

  34. Baylen they call her Little Big Head over at Television Without Pity.

  35. I bet she has sharp knees too.

    /fark reference/

  36. perhaps because a television chef doesn’t have the ability to pass laws that are enforced by guys with guns?

    i think you’re livin in a fantasy, mr mediageek, if you think that what you deem acceptable for everyone in society isn’t going to become the standard of government — particularly in an ostensibly democratic society.

  37. Vaguely back on-topic:

    Most people here in New Orleans either absolutely love Emeril or absolutely hate him.

    There’s an entertaining episode of Bourdain’s show where he goes to New Orleans and is repeatedly attacked by Emeril fans. (It’s staged, of course, but amusingly self-aware.)

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