We grew up on Julia Child, the Galloping Gourmet, and the Frugal Gourmet, but have not gotten into a lot of the newer food shows. We've never watched Rachel Ray, or the Iron Chef. But we do love Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" on The Travel Channel, which starts its new season Monday, July 30, at 9 p.m.
Bourdain shares our belief that good food can be found in a five-star restaurant or from a street vendor or hole in the wall. His shows celebrate the food of locations from as mundane as New Jersey, where he grew up, to exotic locales like Iceland and Vietnam.
As the Travel Channel web site describes him, "Best-selling author, reluctant food celebrity guy, culinary adventurer, drinker, smoker, hedonist ... the list of descriptors could go on and on. But one thing is certain: In this food-obsessed world, Anthony Bourdain has carved out a distinct place as a gastronomic Indiana Jones."
"Dubbed 'the bad boy of cuisine' for his rock-star look and blunt observations about the world of restaurants, chefs and cooking, Anthony Bourdain is not your typical celebrity chef. A 28-year veteran of professional kitchens, Bourdain is currently the executive chef at New York’s famed bistro, Les Halles." (We ate at Les Halles when we were in NYC this spring, and it was great -- sort of like Chez FonFon with attitude.)
Bourdain was nominated this month for News and Documentary Emmy in the category of Outstanding Informational Programming Long Form for the "No Reservations" Beirut special. Again from the web site: "In July 2006, Anthony Bourdain and his crew traveled to Lebanon to film an episode of 'No Reservations.' They discovered a beautiful country filled with proud, generous people and delicious food. However, within 24 hours of arrival they suddenly found themselves stuck in the middle of an intense, uncertain, and violent conflict. From their initial glimpse, to the destruction that followed, Anthony Bourdain in Beirut is the story of what Anthony and his crew saw and experienced during their nine days in the country."