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October 13, 2015

Anthony Bourdain's 'Top Chef' Blog Might Be More Entertaining Than 'Top Chef'

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 13th 2010 6:00PM
Anthony Bourdain on 'Top Chef: All-Stars'Near the end of season seven of 'Top Chef,' I lobbied for Anthony Bourdain to be named a permanent judge for the upcoming season. What I didn't know, of course, was that the producers already had that in the works for the season eight's all-star tilt. The move has worked so far; Tony has only been in one of the first two episodes, but he's already been outspoken enough to mix it up with fan favorite Fabio Viviani.

But one thing that I didn't anticipate would be a side benefit of Bourdain's permanent return to the show was that Bourdain's 'Top Chef' blog on Bravotv.com would also be back. And, boy, is it entertaining. In fact, the blog might just be more entertaining than the show itself.

Why so? Well, anyone who's read any of his books (especially the one he's most known for, 'Kitchen Confidential'), read his Travel Channel blog or even listened to his narration on his show 'No Reservations' knows that Bourdain is as proficient with a keyboard as he is with a saute pan. But in his 'Top Chef' blog, Bourdain applies his caustic writerly skills to not only the cheftestants and their dishes, but to the show itself.

If his second season 8 entry is any indication, this is going to be the first blog I visit on Thursday mornings for the entire season. Somehow, Bourdain manages to connect 'Top Chef' and 'The Wire,' of all shows. He opens the entry by talking how, even though Omar Little robbed drug dealers, he knew enough to comport himself well, even if his "business" could be harsh at times:

"Yet in a harsh, insecure world of constantly shifting loyalties and great danger, Omar has chosen to live by certain hard and fast rules. He doesn't curse or use bad language. He doesn't hurt, kill, or otherwise victimize anyone not "in the game" like him."

It's Bourdain's way of saying that both eliminated chefs so far this season acted poorly at both the judges' table and after they were told to go. If it were up to Bourdain, both Jen and Elia should have comported themselves with more dignity, even if they didn't agree with the verdict. He was especially critical of Elia's post-episode interviews, where she criticized head judge Tom Colicchio, calling him a sell-out for using corn-fed beef at his restaurants and for doing Diet Coke ads:

"And whether you believe -- as I do -- that Tom Colicchio is one of the most important, pioneering chefs in American gastronomy -- and a fair and incisive judge ... or whether you think he's a high-fructose swilling, gas-guzzling enemy of locavores, Satan worshipper, tormentor of small animals, possible JFK conspirator and television whore -- as Elia seems to believe -- you know what? He STILL knows what a raw piece of fish is."

Bourdain saves his best written gymnastics, though, for the "Deep Thinkers at Bravo Central," questioning the wisdom of subjecting the cheftestants to a museum full of screaming children in the second episode, wondering why they're catering to the "8 to 13" demographic.

He even takes a shot at the show's ubiquitous product placement: "At least many of these young people will be, in time, making heavy use of the Glad Family of Bags -- as I did as a tween." Of course, knowing Bourdain, those Glad bags were likely not holding any PB&J sandwiches.

"You could actually see the chef/contestants' expressions cave, their spirits slump -- as it became clear that whomever was going home today would be doing so covered in a sticky sheen of Twizzlers, Silly Bandz, and crushed Ritalin," Bourdain continued. He then went into a rant about how demoralizing it was for him to "get up at the crack of ass" and cook brunch.

I could quote the entire five-page entry, but reading it for yourself is more entertaining. As the competition during this already-intense season gets more fierce, it'll be interesting to hear Bourdain's take on each episode as it airs -- remember, he's first seeing the episode in full at the same time everyone else is. Whatever you may think of Bourdain as a chef, or as a judge, you still need to go read his 'Top Chef' blog, if only to get a heck of a laugh as you sip your coffee on Thursday morning.

'Top Chef' airs Wednesdays at 10PM ET on Bravo.

(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter.)

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Not a bad job being a judge on Top Chef, you get to eat free dinners and then insult the cook(s)instead of having to sit there with a fake smile while someone served you stale colorless and tasteless canned peas for Thanksgiving dinner.

December 15 2010 at 9:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

I understand that's what happened, which is why I wrote this: "What I didn't know, of course, was that the producers already had that in the works for the season eight's all-star tilt."

December 14 2010 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They picked him as a judge before you said anything. Deflate a little, will yah...

December 13 2010 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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