Posts tagged ‘Travel Channel’




New York City – The E.W. Scripps Company announced today that after 17 years in production their popular Food Network will cease programming at the end of this month. The move took many in assembly by surprise. The press conference was held at Chelsea Market on 75 9th Avenue, home of the Food Network Studios.

Milton Funderburk, Acting Assistant Vice-Chairman of Cable Programming for Scripps was asked why the media conglomerate was closing the doors on its most popular cable franchise, “The time is right. After all when we purchased TFN back in ‘97 we thought it would fail miserably. That was the plan.

“We acquired the Network as a tax right off. We never dreamed anyone would actually watch it. Our thought was why would anyone want to watch someone else cooking on TV? I mean if they wanted to see someone cook, they could just go cook something. Apparently we under estimated the American public’s desire to live vicariously.”



April 1, 2010 at 3:05 am

Dear Rachael by Anthony Bourdain

Anyone who has ever watched or read Anthony Bourdain knows that he has not been the kindest critic of Rachael Ray.  That may be a bit of an understatement.  For those who do not read Bourdain’s weekly Travel Channel blog you are missing out on some of the most poignant food writing around.  Below is his latest entry, a thank you letter to Rachel Ray.  I do not know the particulars that lead to the events in the letter but it is some good stuff:

Dear Rachael,

Thank you for the lovely fruit basket. My family and I arrived home very late last night to an empty refrigerator, with a jet-lagged, restive and hungry child agitating for food – only to find a festive and delicious assortment of fruit (from the very pricey Agata and Valentina no less).

My daughter quickly tore into the grapes, saving me from the humiliating business of doing an impromptu “Dancy Dance” from Yo Gabba Gabba (a strategy that has been known to work in situations of similar extremes). I thank you for your kindness to someone who has shown you no good reason for such a thing, your good humor – and for appreciating the New York Dolls.

I will honor the sentiments of your note and promise to see to it that no puppies are hurt, killed or otherwise inconvenienced during my remaining time on television.  Given my frequent trips to countries where the line between “pets” and “food” can become somewhat … confusing, this is easier said than done – and might well lead to some socially awkward moments. But one good turn, I think, deserves another. 


Anthony Bourdain

Could it be that parenthood has softened our hero or that it has introduced him to another part of his humanity?  Nah, there’s just a hell of a lot to be said for perkiness.

March 29, 2009 at 1:54 pm 1 comment

“My” The Chopping Block Review

I had really planned to knock out a review of the Chopping Block with super star chef Marco Pierre White.  Unfortunately there was a problem with the satellite so I haven’t actually haven’t seen it.  Pity.

For those of you not in the know with regards to Marco, he is quite possibly the preeminent chef on earth, at the very least top 3.  Yes ahead of Emeril.  Yes ahead of Puck.  Yes ahead of Gordan.  Although making a statement like that is like saying $500 is better than $499.  Of course it is but does that mean you don’t want $499?

Speaking of Gordan Ramsey, he once worked for Marco.  Those in the UK might describe Gordan as Marco-lite, a third less f-bombs than the leading British TV Chef.  Anthony Bourdain once referred to a photo of White on the cover of his book The Devil in the Kitchen with his Bob Geldof hairdo raging out of control and a lit cigarette hanging from his lips by saying that the image is what all celebrity chefs should look like.  White was the first rock star chef.

My exposure to Marco Pierre White is limited to a few videos I have seen of him (one of them a fishing trip with Ramsey) and a few glimpses on the Travel Channel.  Therefore, I was really looking forward to checking out The Chopping Block.  Oh well at least I’ll let you read this one from

NBC’s The Chopping Block is another cooking show with acclaimed Chef Marco Pierre White who challenges potential restaurateurs for fame and glory. This time it is two against two as friends, lovers, and relatives, who cook for a living, go for broke as they seek the prize of being the last one standing on The Chopping Block. Eight couples will begin the competition and are immediately thrown into the thick of it as they open two different restaurants and are critiqued and stressed as they face elimination.

More . . .

March 12, 2009 at 1:50 am

Two-for Tony Bourdain

Originally posted at Edible TV on October 22, 2008.

tony-bourdain.jpgLast Monday night, the Travel Channel kicked off the new season of No Reservations with two hours of Anthony Bourdain.

First was a great show reminiscent of MOJO’s After Hours with Daniel in which Tony was joined at WD-50 by celebrated writer Bill Buford, “Nightlife Queen of New York” Amy Sacco, food writer/TV personality Ted Allen, and magazine editor and former gossip columnist Chris Wilson. The twist on this show was that it was part talk show and part privileged New Yorkers enjoying an extraordinary meal from the genius mind of Wylie Dufresne.

On topic for the evening was whether or not the “celebrity chef” trend was good or bad for America, in which Tony begrudgingly admitted that life post-Rachael Ray is better than life pre-Rachael Ray. Another of Tony’s topics was a poll to determine if, in light of current economic conditions, he should feel ashamed for dropping nearly $1900 on dinner for two at a Manhattan sushi bar. The consensus was, “No.” Repeatedly on the show and in his blog, Tony has stated that this is not a new series but a one time thing. Well, it should be and if Tony doesn’t want to host it, I sure will.

Meanwhile, on a special No Reservations, Tony returned to his old restaurant, Les Halles. The episode was the finale of last season and had the chef-turned food writer-turned-TV host cooking two busy shifts in the kitchen he used to rule. It was an amazing look at what actually goes on during the course of a day at a busy NYC restaurant and ended with Tony proclaiming that being a line cook is a young man’s job.

Photo from Wikipedia.

October 27, 2008 at 8:23 am

Tony’s Top 10

Originally posted at Paper Palate on August 11, 2008.


Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and host of No Reservations has put together his personal list of the Top 10 foodie books of all time.  Take a gander:

1. The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller
The mad monk of Napa Valley’s unsurpassed cookery book – the ultimate in porno for chefs.

2. White Heat by Marco Pierre White
A chef who looks like a chef! A revelation to professional culinarians when it came out. Great food, recognisable worldview of the culinary perfectionist – and a ground-breaking shot of a chef smoking.

3. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
The first account of what it’s REALLY like in a professional kitchen, and as true today as it was when it was written.

4. Kitchen Book by Nicolas Freeling
Another seminal work on the business, from the point of view of the professional.

5. The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola
The Citizen Kane of foodie books: escaped convict becomes food inspector in 19th-century Paris marketplace Les Halles.

6. La Cuisine du Marche by Paul Bocuse
The Big Daddy of Nouvelle Cuisine’s widely imitated cookbook. Still useful, decades later.

7. The Epicurean by Charles Ranhofer
The turn-of-the-century Delmonico’s chef spills everything he knows about cooking. Ranhofer’s work was unprecedented – and was considered high treason by his peers at the time. A fascinating and imposing tome and an important piece of culinary history.

8. The Ivy by AA Gill
As fascinating for its account of a day in the life of a swanky restaurant as for its recipes.

9. Le Bernardin Cookbook by Eric Ripert
Modern, clean, impeccable and austere recipes from New York’s brilliant seafood Dauphin.

10. Nose To Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson
Absolutely uncompromising ode to British cooking by the awesome chef of St John’s. A rare and unpretentious collection of recipes for the neglected (but often tastiest) parts of edible creatures. Who says British cooking isn’t great? This book ROCKS!

August 24, 2008 at 8:34 am

Zimmern Does Madrid

Originally posted at Edible TV on November 21, 2007.

Bizarre FoodOn a recent episode of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Food, host Andrew Zimmern showed us something truly amazing.  It wasn’t some fetal monstrosity from Southeast Asia nor was it the pickled eye of anything you would ride through an Arabian desert.  No, the remarkable gift from Zimmern was a tour of Spain’s capital city, Madrid which included a visit to what is believed to be the world’s oldest continuous restaurant, Casa Botίn.  Guinness Book of Records says that Casa Botίn first opened its doors in 1725.  1725 is just a number, to help illustrate how old Botίn is consider that they started dolling out vittles over half a century before the signing of the US Constitution.

Zimmern takes the viewer on a site seeing tour through culinary history as he parades 21st century cameras around the 18th century restaurante in the city on the banks of the Manzanares River.  The kitchen is the same as it was three centuries save for modern conviences like electricity and lights.  However, many of the kitchen practices have remained unchanged since Senor Botίn first opened his little eatery.

Zimmern is there to taste the house specialty, roast suckling pig, that is prepared using a 300 year old recipe.  Before sampling the piglet, the host tries another of the ancient menu’s offerings, Angulas – baby eels which run about $150 per portion.  After three hours of roasting, Zimmer is presented with a whole sucking pig.  He starts at the snout (literally) and eats his way to the curly little tail.  He completes his visit to Botίn with baby squid stuffed with tentacles and ham that is braised in its own ink.

Before the episode ends, Zimmer visits several different tapas bars (tascas) on what is called locally a “tapas crawl.”  The evening’s offerings include crunchy pig ears, stewed snails, pulpo gallego (grilled octopus), and finally bull’s tails all at La Zapateria.  From there they head to another tasca, Taverna de Antonio Sanchez (which first opened in 1830) where they gorge themselves on Callos (tripe with blood sausage).

No visit to Spain would be complete without criadillas (bovine testicles).  Zimmern purchases two pair of very fresh cajones at Mercado del las Pas.  While they are being prepared he treats himself to a snack of hueva de maruca (fish egg jerky) before engulfing the criadillas which are prepared by frying them in pork fat.  He then visits Museo del Jamone (museum of ham), a ham bar, which are to Spaniards what Starbucks is to Americans, gives a true tour of great Serrano hams including Jamón ibérico, the world’s finest ham and head cheese.

A visit to La Trianeia, one of the great seafood restaurants in Europe, provides Zimmern a glimpse at the amazing seafood of Madrid.  He starts with percevas (gooseneck barnacles), prawns, spiny lobster, giant Mediterranean snow crab, Madagascar shrimp and turbot soon follow.  The show moves onto Barcelona and Catalunya including a tour of the world’s best restaurant El Bulli, but the tour of Madrid was for me an eye opening experience that has changed my thinking on Spanish food.

August 19, 2008 at 12:49 am

Anthony Bourdain and Morimoto, Together?

On the Monday August 11 episode of No Reservations, Tony Bourdain ventures through the exciting culinary adventure to be found in Tokyo.  His guide along the way is none other than Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.  On the No Reservations site you can view highlights from the show as well as get a list of restaurants and what not Tony enjoyed while in the Land of the Rising Sun.  There are also crew blogs and Tony’s photo journal.  Check it out!

August 11, 2008 at 12:16 am 1 comment

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."



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