"If David Simon asked me to take off my clothes and walk naked through the streets of Baltimore in winter, I would," said Anthony Bourdain at the "foodie experience" on Saturday at the Hippodrome. And that’s just one of the compliments that Bourdain paid to Simon and his TV shows.
Bourdain, pictured on the left, and friend Eric Ripert, executive chef/owner of Le Bernardin in New York City, both appeared on stage, seated on white couches (which matched their hair), bantering and answering questions by moderator Reagan Warfield of Mix 106.5, and later from the audience.
Bourdain said The Wire was one of the greatest TV shows ever—and after seeing it, "you’ll never watch another cop drama." He also was responsible for Ripert's cameo spot on Simon’s new show Treme. Oh, the love.
His reflections on Simon were stirred up by a comment about his No Reservations segment on lake trout, pit beef, and Mo’s Seafood in Baltimore.
He defended his choices, explaining that he wanted to see a side of the city that a lot of Baltimoreans never see. He praised his guides retired city homicide cop Jay Landsman and Felicia Pearson (known for her role as Snoop). "It was awesome to work with them. We had a magical moment," he said about their appearance on his show. He added that Pearson’s character on The Wire was one of the most "terrifying female characters in television history." Yes, to that.
And, of course, they talked about food. Ripert was an urbane, good-natured foil to Bourdain's blunt irreverence. (I haven’t heard the f word used so much—by Bourdain—since I worked in a newsroom!) The audience responded with much laughter throughout the evening.
Here are some of their comments.
About the Food Network: Let’s just say that Guy Fiore and Paula Deen came under scrutiny (and not in a good way).
A final meal: Ripert, black truffles shaved on toasted bread; Bourdain, "high-test sushi."
Culinary idols: Ripert: Joel Rubicon, Jean-Louis Palladin, and Paul Bocuse; Bourdain: Marco Pierre White.
On vegetarians: Ripert, "Vegetarian people are sad"; Bourdain, "To me, it’s a rudeness situation."
On Duff Goldman and Charm City Cakes: Bourdain, "I’m a fan."
Obstacles faced: Bourdain, "I got lucky. I had a checkered career. I was never a success in the kitchen." Ripert (now a Buddhist), "I was a temperamental chef. … I had to work on that."
Worst food trend: Bourdain, cupcakes.
Best advice: Bourdain, "Show up on time and do the best you can"; Ripert, "Be yourself."
While Bourdain and Ripert, who are both dads of young children, are different in demeanor, it was clear that they really enjoy each other's company. They have shared some great experiences over the years, including one they call the "tequila rampage." You can imagine what that was all about.
There was also no indication that Bourdain has changed his bad-boy persona. His new book, Medium Raw, is due out in June, and he predicts, "I’m pretty sure I’ll be a pariah in the restaurant world."
Photo courtesy of nbcnewyork.com