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April 19, 2014

Anthony Bourdain Has 'No Reservations' About Sandra Lee, Bradley Cooper Or His Kitchen Skills

by Maggie Furlong, posted Feb 8th 2010 6:45PM
Anthony Bourdain, 'No Reservations'Anthony Bourdain isn't trying to get people to like him, and that's exactly why we adore him.

As host of Travel Channel's 'No Reservations,' we've seen Tony eat anything and everything on his culinary adventures -- and, at least once an episode, we're also treated to his usually curse-laced rants. Consider it the sparkly candle on top of an already amazing Kwanzaa cake. (More on that in a bit ...)

We caught up with the globetrotting foodie -- who'll have Bill Murray on the show's Hudson Valley episode tonight (Mon., Feb. 8, 10PM ET) -- to hear more about his biggest food loves, his problems with Bradley Cooper and why a simple 'Semi-Homemade' cake on TV haunts his dreams.Anthony Bourdain, 'No Reservations'Anthony Bourdain isn't trying to get people to like him, and that's exactly why we adore him.

As host of Travel Channel's 'No Reservations,' we've seen Tony eat anything and everything on his culinary adventures -- and, at least once an episode, we're also treated to his usually curse-laced rants. Consider it the sparkly candle on top of an already amazing Kwanzaa cake. (More on that in a bit ...)

We caught up with the globetrotting foodie -- who'll have Bill Murray on the show's Hudson Valley episode tonight (Mon., Feb. 8, 10PM ET) -- to hear more about his biggest food loves, his problems with Bradley Cooper and why a simple 'Semi-Homemade' cake on TV haunts his dreams.

Where would you like to go for the show that you all haven't been yet?
Cuba. We have not been able to do it successfully. Every time we're weeks away, closing in on actually finally making a show, some permit doesn't come through or something goes wrong, and we are disappointed. That's been a long frustration for me. I'd love to see it before it all changes. History is going to be happening there any minute, and I want to get there.

Which location from the show would you most like to go back to when you're not working?
Well, Vietnam. I'm just besotted with the place ... have been from the first time I went. I'm always thrilled, just as a chef and as an eater and a film fan, to be in Tokyo or Hong Kong. Love going back to those places. And I'm kind of crazy for Italy because it's all new to me -- I've married into this large Italian and Sardinian family, so I'm having a lot of fun with that. I'm living out this sort of long, deeply-held fantasy of becoming an Italian patriarch, you know? [Laughs] Just sitting in a back garden, having a lot of kids running around, jabbering in Italian ... that's always appealed to me.

Are you ever not working? How many days a year, on average, would you say you're traveling?

For the greater part of 10 months a year, I'm traveling for one reason or another. At least two weeks out of every month for 10 months a year, just for the show alone, then I do a lot of speaking engagements. And then we try to get to Italy a couple times a year to see family.

It cracks me up that you do speaking engagements -- you seem like the kind of guy who would say no to that.
They don't have to be motivational speeches, you know? It's just spectacularly profitable, and I essentially just go out there and talk sh** off the top of my head for an hour, and then question and answer. It's easy, it's fun, the fans get to either abuse me or ask questions or tell me what's on their mind. I'm kind of writing books in my head as I'm doing the speaking engagement -- sort of trying out material. It's instant gratification in a sense, because I write the way I talk, so you kind of get instant feedback when you try stuff out.

Which of your fellow "celebrity chefs" do you respect the most?
You know my name because of the book and the TV show -- I was never, by any means, a great chef. I was never the peer of most of my friends, whose restaurant work I respect. I respect anyone who actually works for a living in a kitchen and takes pride in their work, at whatever level. But Thomas Keller I see as a heroic figure. I'm very good friends with Eric Ripert, and I really admire how he's managed to do a lot of things and be in the public eye, and also keep focused on one of the great restaurants in America. My friends all seem to be people with similarly dysfunctional half-public lives like me. [Laughs]

So we'll never see you on a show like 'Top Chef Masters'?
Cooking? Hell no! [Laughs] I was always a journeyman cook and a decent chef. I was never a creative mastermind, and when I thought I was one briefly, early in my career, people got hurt.

Anyone whose food you'd never eat?
I've eaten your full spectrum of animal parts in various stages of fermentation, and every variety of insect, jungle brew and reptile part, so really, there's nothing ever made on the Food Network that, if I'm honest with myself, I couldn't manage to choke down if I had to. But you know what? If you look at the YouTube link of Sandra Lee and the Kwanzaa cake -- have you seen it? It makes the most profane and disgusting viral video pale by comparison. It's unbelievable! You'd think it was a parody -- she's got to be kidding -- but oh no! It's real! [Laughs] And it's so much worse than you're imagining right now. [Laughs] They should show it to school children like a highway safety film, you know? Stay away from the smiling lady!



I might be one of the few, but I actually liked 'Kitchen Confidential,' the sitcom based on your book ...
When I first saw it -- well, I knew it wasn't gonna be my book, I knew it wasn't gonna be my life and the little bits of it that were recognizable were kind of creeping me out a little bit. But looking back at it now, with the passage of time, it was a pretty good show. It was some pretty dark, edgy stuff in there as well. There's one scene with a guy jerking off using parsley oil ... I thought that was pretty amazing. [Laughs]

WATCH FULL EPISODES OF 'KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL'
ON SLASHCONTROL

Bradley Cooper played you on that show, before he really broke out -- if you had to choose someone to play you in the movie of your life, who would you pick?
Oh god, I don't know, but someone much uglier than Bradley Cooper, that's for sure. Like Gary Oldman. [Laughs]

If you could only eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If you gave me the full range of sushi, I could eat sushi every day for the rest of my life. But if it had to be the same dish again and again and again, Vietnamese pho. That wouldn't suck.

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