I'm not a huge Bourdain fan. His schtick is wearing pretty thin on me, and it's always bugged me that Kitchen Confidential was written by a tall white guy. Seriously, his book would've been seventeen times better if it'd been written by a woman chef. He thinks the kitchen's hard on men? Ugh.
But one thing I do like about him is his perennial insistence that the James Beard Awards are a bunch of poppycock, because the guys who are really cooking your meals are not the chefs whose names are on the menus. Nope, they're--lots of the time--illegal Mexican cooks who work 16 hour days and get paid like shit.
So that's the saving grace of this episode of No Reservations
Bourdain talks Eric Ripert (of Le Bernardin) into coming down to Union Square and working the non-stop steak-charring grills at Les Halles, a mid-range French-ish spot that really isn't aiming to be anything but a mid-range French-ish spot. Anyhoo, long story short, before you know it the actual chef--a Mexican guy--gets pretty damned irritated with the antics of Ripert and Bourdain. Just imagine--a couple of big-timers semi-mockingly come into your workplace and basically F around. Sweet idea, Bourdain.
The one good take-away is that anyone who imagines a pretty Monica Geller chef cracking actual crab claws to make your "crab Louie" or what-have-you, might now realize that it's more than likely a 19-year-old high school drop-out opening a plastic container and scooping crab out with a questionably clean spoon. So there's that. Happy weekend!