"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Taster’s Cherce

Albert Brooks used to tell a joke about disk jockeys. He said it was a proven fact that the worst three kinds of people in the world were: incurable lepers, disk jockeys, curable lepers. Said it was a scientific fact, not opinion. Well, I think of this joke whenever I see or read about celebrity chefs who make a good replacement for disk jockeys. I’ve got a friend who thinks that celebrity chefs are one of the most obnoxious cultural trends in years. And I’d be hard-pressed to argue even though I minor in food nerdary.

Anthony Bourdain is an interesting case beacause I can’t tell if I like him or not. His memoir “Kitchen Confidential” made him a celebrity (and if you ever want to convince someone not to to be a chef, look no further). I don’t know that anyone would call him a chef anymore, he’s a food celebrity. But he’s arrogant, funny, hip, full of rock n roll rage and viciousness, not to mention self-parody. And he cares about food.

Bourdain has a new book of essays out and I enjoyed the review of it in the Times Book Review last weekend.


[Photo Credit: The Frosting]


1 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 20, 2010 12:22 pm

I love Bourdain and got the new book for my b-day, can't wait to tear into it.

I read a quote from, I wanna say Molly O'Neill (yay, Paul's sis!) but I could be wrong, that said in effect that "the difference between Anthony Bourdain and Rocco DiSpirito is that Tony never made himself out to be anything more than an ordinary line chef, he knows he isn't a culinary genius."

I wouldn't consider Bourdain a "celebrity chef," no one goes to a restaurant because "it's Bourdain's new place." He's really just America's foremost foodie, his reputation is built on his love of food rather than anything he can do in a kitchen.

2 bp1   ~  Jul 20, 2010 12:36 pm

[1] His first book was a good read, but I think his current celebrity status is born more from his willingness to eat weird things then anything else. The beating cobra heart, the worthog rectum, etc. etc. He's also gotten quite a bit of notoriety by not being afraid to toss a few darts at other celebrity chefs - Rachel Ray and Emeril Legasse to name just a couple. Nothing like some dirt-throwing to drive up book sales and appearance fees.

I like his No Reservations television show. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes poignant, but always entertaining.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading his new book.

3 lroibal   ~  Jul 20, 2010 12:44 pm

It's not a contradiction to like Bourdain and hate celebrity chefs. I spent this past Sunday watching a marathon of No Reservations on demand. I agree with the Times and Raging Tartabull. He may be a chef, but we know him as an advocate of good food not a preparer of same.

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 20, 2010 12:48 pm

all this being said, I just picked up one of Rocco's cookbooks for $4 from the bargain bin at Borders, mostly as a gag because the GF and I were obsessed with his trainwreck of a reality show with Jeffrey Chodrow

5 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 20, 2010 1:01 pm

I haven't seen too much of his TV show but I have seen I've really enjoyed.

6 jumbletron   ~  Jul 20, 2010 1:19 pm

Love Bourdain, love his show, loved Kitchen Confidential. He's living every foodie's dream, and he knows it. That's why he's likeable.

7 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 20, 2010 1:20 pm

His show on the outer boroughs on NYC was tremendous.


8 The Hawk   ~  Jul 20, 2010 1:32 pm

I like him. Part of his appeal is eating this or that but there are others who do the same thing that I don't like at all. He seems "authentic" to me, like he's not really BSing too much, if at all.

9 JohnnyC   ~  Jul 20, 2010 2:54 pm

He's a Yankees fan too. His visit to Tokyo included taking in a Yomiuri Giants game on TV with the crowd in a sports bar.

10 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 20, 2010 3:13 pm

9) Okay, I like him.

11 Raf   ~  Jul 20, 2010 3:31 pm

[9] I remember him taking in a Hanshin Tigers game with a couple of guys there. I think they were comedians. They were all eating takoyaki

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