Dishing It Out

Nov 9 2012 @ 6:05pm

This week the last episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations aired. Noreen Malone credits the chef with "the most admired tongue in America: for the tasting, the talking, and the lashing it does":

The success of No Reservations has less to do with the plot (middle-aged dude eats food in locales near and far; scored by mannered voiceover and late-boomer musical preoccupations) and everything to do with his considerate personal  and verbal magnetism. But, more than any kind of machismo or peacocking, the Bourdain brand, in both style and content, is premised on the idea of Tony the Truthteller.

It’s what first vaunted him into the spotlight with his memoir Kitchen Confidential—a willingness to let us behind the scenes for an unvarnished look at what really happens in a New York City kitchen, followed by his willingness to, as he might put it, shit upon the reputation of some of the industry’s biggest names, including “Saint” Alice Waters (whom he’s compared to the Khmer Rouge). That pugilism, plus the grabby, filthy frankness of his language (“Whether it’s the Rolling Stones’ ‘Let It Bleed’ or doing it doggie-style, good is simply … good”) has led many to accuse him of performing authenticity as shtick. But, as Bourdain’s editor, Daniel Halpern, wonders, does it matter if Bourdain’s become, to some, a caricature of himself publicly?  “That’s what he does,” says Halpern. “That’s like saying Derek Jeter shouldn’t keep hitting to right field because that’s his schtick.” 

Below is the trailer for Bourdain's next venture, The Mind Of The Chef, whose first season follows chef David Chang and premieres today on PBS: