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Trust me on this: Must-read on food TV

February 20, 2013|By Russ Parsons
  • Anthony Bourdain was "a thoroughly undistinguished line cook lifer suddenly handed a bullhorn on the back of a surprise bestseller," according to Andy Greenwald.
Anthony Bourdain was "a thoroughly undistinguished line cook lifer… (Alexander Tamargo )

If you read only one food story today (not that I’m advising that), you absolutely must read Andy Greenwald’s brilliant piece on food television on Grantland. Not only is it a smart analysis of how the genre has devolved from Julia and Jacques to Rachael and Guy, but it’s studded with enough laugh-out-loud lines to make any ordinary writer’s year.

  • Emeril Lagasse was “A lumbering, rump roast of a man who cooked like Paul Prudhomme but talked like the Gorton's Fisherman.” (Now he’s “a Wookie in winter.”)
  • “The Next Food Network Star” is a “hubris-devouring succubus”
  • Anthony Bourdain “was a proud and snarly outsider, a thoroughly undistinguished line cook lifer suddenly handed a bullhorn on the back of a surprise bestseller.”
  • “At its foul-mouthed best, Tony Bourdain's shtick is absolutely empowering, but not in the faux-populist manner of a Sandra Lee or Guy Fieri. What's made his voice so important is his steadfast refusal to coddle anything but eggs. Unlike most food shows, the central message of No Reservations was actually, no, you can't do this; you can't cook it, you can't re-create it, you can't dumb it down. Bourdain was a knight-errant of good taste, a champion of expertise and authenticity.”
  • But not on “The Taste”: “Now he sits on a garishly lit soundstage, defanged like an aging circus lion, ginning up halfway constructive things to say to deluded Capoeira instructors who make ‘food for awesomeness’ when the only reasonable response would be laughter.”

That’s just a sampling. Trust me on this: You need to read this story.

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