A few months ago I bought tickets for John and I to go see Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert speak at Boston Symphony Hall. We’ve been on a huge No Reservations kick lately in addition to our longtime love for Bourdain and all of his books. (I still maintain that A Cook’s Tour has the most well thought out, articulate, and exquisitely written piece on anti-vegetarianism I’ve ever read, and I like vegetarians and occasionally being vegetarian!)
The show, Good vs. Evil, started with Bourdain and Ripert interrogating each other on their past and present misgivings, career lows, and drama they both seem to stir up (Bourdain’s attack on Alan Richman, Ripert’s attack on Gordon Ramsay, Bourdain’s drug use, Ripert’s judging on this season of Top Chef, Bourdain being on Yo Gabba Gabba…the list goes on).
But too much of their exchange had the audience oooh-ing and ahhh-ing in a showoff, suck up, self important kind of way. For instance, Bourdain asked Ripert “Why do you like Guy Fieri anyway?!” And the audience, on cue, let out a dogged AWWWW! Then cut to all of the pretentious questions about molecular gastronomy and over-laughter at the Padma Lakshmi jokes. I dunno, none of this sat well with me. It seemed like everyone involved was trying too hard.
On the whole Good vs. Evil was just ok. I was definitely expecting more. The format of this kind of speaking event just doesn’t really jive with this type of venue or audience. Maybe it would have been different as a book tour or something.
My favorite parts of the night were obviously sitting in the gorgeous Boston Symphony Hall and Bourdain’s highest compliments to Boston’s own Julia Child (“She single-handedly changed amateur cooking on TV and at home forever”). Bourdain also had some very profound things to say on the subject of being a curious and conscious world traveler which were very inspiring. I’d rather have a one on one conversation with him about this though then share it with 2,500 superfluous brown nosers.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love Anthony Bourdain. But I think I’ll stick to absorbing his writing and observing his show in the privacy of my own home where my reactions and interpretations are truly my own.