Little Gordon

September 6, 2008

It’d never work — he’s small enough that even a vegan could beat him up…

Anthony Bourdain – Ambush by Video Blog

March 24, 2008

Anthony BourdainMaybe it’s just me, but this seems a little less like good foodie journalism than it does “how to serve chickenshit”.

Granted, Anthony Bourdain has been plenty vocal in his criticism of Food TV, but to catch him when he’s obviously “in his cups”, shoot a video, and THEN not have the guts to run it unbleeped, is just a little sad.
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ICA Judge Speaks Out

February 21, 2008

Apparently, even though some of the program may be misleading, the competition and judging on Iron Chef America are fair — at least according to frequent ICA judge Ed Levine, speaking out over on Serious Eats.

“While I have always been told that the competing chefs know that the secret ingredient will be chosen from a list of three they have been given beforehand so that they can, yes, rehearse it doesn’t take anything away from how insanely difficult it is to produce five dishes in an hour in that kind of pressured environment. I have judged Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, and Cat Cora in action, and though they clearly know the drill, I can tell you they still sweat bullets and work their asses off because it is, in fact, a real competition and they don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their peers, the judges, the audience in Kitchen Stadium, and the viewers at home.”

Bo’kay. So the “secret” ingredient isn’t exactly secret, the Iron Chef is picked beforehand, and the actual food that the judges taste isn’t all prepared during the frantic hour we see on the program, but they do have to prepare five dishes in an hour, and the judges do judge fairly.

About what we all figured, I’m sure.

What else is left to say, other than maybe “Allez cuisine!“?

Chef in the Box

February 20, 2008

You’ve got to be among the more gullible of viewers if you think there’s much measurable “reality” in “reality TV”, and Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” has always been among the more obviously pre-rigged.
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The Next Iron Chef Episode 2 Scorecard

October 16, 2007

· The Chairman just phones it in: +20 points
· Tons of shiny gadgetry: +30 points
· 7 Chefs intimidated by said gadgetry: +20 points
· Extremely brief glimpse of judging: -25 points
· Alton nearly has to whack a chef for failing to stop at time out: +15 points
· The last woman chef bites the dust (secret ingredient for the rest of the season: Sausage!): -10 points

Total: +50 Points
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The Next Iron Chef Scorecard

October 9, 2007

I don’t know why I’ve got a weak spot for TV chef “reality” shows. I’ve watched Hell’s Kitchen (both the US and UK versions — the UK is much better, btw), The F-Word (UK), Top Chef, and I’m a big fan of Tony Bourdain’s No Reservations.

I also watch Iron Chef every now and again, mostly because I enjoy Alton Brown, but it’s about my least favorite “cooking reality” show.

On Sunday, the Food Network served up their newest effort, “The Next Iron Chef”. The format is roughly akin to Top Chef’s (short early challenge, which gets the winner an advantage in the main challenge), albeit with the usual Iron Chef ingredient goofiness.

As a seasoned Iron Viewer, here’s my scorecard:

  • Airing a new show in lo-def when they’ve got a hi-def channel: -20 points
  • Hosted by Alton Brown instead of Padma Lakshmi or a cardboard US version of Gordon Ramsey: +30 points
  • No “Glad Family of Bags” or other in-your-face product placement: +20 points
  • No contestant as hot as Casey Thompson: -15 points
  • No contestant as annoying as Marcel Vigneron: +15 points
    (may be revisited as we get to know the contestants more)
  • Michael Ruhlman as a celebrity judge: +10 points
  • No Tony Bourdain as a celebrity judge: -15 points
  • Lack of profanity: -10 points
  • Lack of excessive bleeping: +15 points
  • Lack of (so far) off-the-wall challenges such as cooking on a hot rock while hopping on one foot: +15 points
  • Lack of Big Brother-esqe induced drama: +15 points
  • Apparent lack of restaurant-skills challenges: 0 points

+60 points, at least thus far.

Not bad.

(spoiler warning, for those who haven’t seen the first episode)

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Tony Bourdain – Food Network Smackdown, Take II

March 8, 2007

A few weeks ago I posted about Tony Bourdain taking Food TV to task on Michael Ruhlman’s blog…

Apparently the punch line was that a week later he was on stage at the South Beach Food & Wine fest (which is sponsored by the Food Network), and decided to take it all a little further — with many of the network’s stars and execs in attendance.

Ruhlman has the story here…

Bourdain stood to speak his mind in person, no hiding behind the safety of a blog.

“Up until the last minute,” he said yesterday, “I didn’t know if I was going to pussy out.” He didn’t, apparently—if anything his vitriol was more voluminous than on his post—he lanced the boil and the pus just kept coming. Apparently Mikey from Top Chef was in the audience—Bourdain singled him out as an example of hope for the future of food television.

It takes balls to stand up there and mouth off at the TV folks at their own festival, while they’re signing books a few hundred yards away. I always thought the guy was a coward hiding behind his big mouth. I was wrong. The guy’s got balls.

After the jump, there’s a short clip of Tony going off on Sandra Lee at the festival…

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Tony Bourdain calls out Food TV

February 9, 2007

Not the kind of guy to pass up a guest opportunity on Michael Ruhlman’s blog, Anthony Bourdain takes a swipe at Food TV, and as usual with Tony, if anything is being minced, it ain’t the words.

I knew that he was a Mario Batali fan, but it’s nice to see that he likes Alton Brown, too. He even found a few nice things to say about Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Emeril.

Of course, it’s tough to disguise his utter disdain for the network, its policies, or some of the other so-called chefs…

PAULA DEEN: I’m reluctant to bash what seems to be a nice old lady. Even if her supporting cast is beginning to look like the Hills Have Eyes–and her food a True Buffet of Horrors. A recent Hawaii show was indistinguishable from an early John Waters film. And the food on a par with the last scene of Pink Flamingos. But I’d like to see her mad. Like her look-alike, Divine in the classic, “Female Trouble.“ Paula Deen on a Baltimore Killing Spree would be something to see. Let her get Rachael in a headlock–and it’s all over.

Pink Flamingos? That’s hysterical, albeit a little indirect for Bourdain.
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Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen (review)

July 11, 2004

Alton Brown's Gear for Your KitchenAlton Brown may be the patron chef of geeks — if being featured in an article in Wired magazine and discussions on Slashdot aren’t enough to qualify him for the title, then Good Eats — his program on the Food Network probably is.

In addition to showing the viewers how to cook, Brown spends a lot of time covering why things work like they do — how different chemicals and proteins interact with each other and heat to produce specific results. He also spends a lot of time debunking bad kitchen gadgets, and showing viewers how to get better results with fewer widgets — many from the hardware store or the garden shop. Think of him as a cross between Julia Child, MacGyver, and Mr. Wizard.

In his newest book, "Gear for your Kitchen", Brown shows you how to clear away the useless junk and get the most for your kitchen dollar…
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