Monday, November 22, 2010

Interview with Tom Colicchio and Anthony Bourdain

I had the great pleasure of participating in a conference call with Top Chef's head judge Tom Colicchio and new regular judge Anthony Bourdain. It was my birthday, which made it even more of a treat.

While some callers attempted to squeeze out telling information about the upcoming All-Stars season 8 (to no avail), others asked some interesting questions of the two judges.

One caller wanted to know how Tom and Tony stayed so slim, which of course is only pertinent to Bourdain and not to Colicchio, who admitted he was a "a hamburger away from 250." He did say he worked out when he could, usually boxing. Bourdain, on the other hand, claimed to have been to a gym "for 20 minutes once. My wife bought me some training sessions and I decided that there was nothing attractive about laying on the floor trying not to vomit in front of total strangers.

"I basically Google (Keith Richards) everyday, if he is still alive I figure there is hope for me."

The questioning then turned to Thanksgiving Plans.

Bourdain: "I tell you right now I’m eating turkey, I’m not a communist. I mean, by God lets fill up with turkey, stuffing, gravy. It doesn’t even have to be good turkey, stuffing and gravy. It’s - you know, it’s the holidays."

Colicchio: "I will spend the early part of the day feeding people who are a little less fortunate. And then after a little later I will have dinner."

"My dinner is the same one I’ve been doing for a few years now. It’s roast turkey, the stuffing is a golden raisin semolina stuffing that I make with pork breakfast sausage. And only because I have a restaurant, and I have access to it, there is a lot of pork belly and foie gras scraps thrown in there for good measure. And brussels sprouts, bacon, onions, butternut squash puree, roasted root vegetables, cranberry sauce. If my mother-in-law is coming over, it’s canned cranberry sauce, because she doesn’t like the fresh stuff. So I’ll do both. And she happens to be a very good cook too - my wife’s stepmother that is. "

The response to another question made it seem like Bourdain had a bit of a mancrush on Fabio: "He’s charming, he’s Italian. I love Italian food, my wife is Italian. ...if I’m bitter about anything in my life it’s that I’m not Italian American. So you know, he is a very charming guy."

Eventually it was my turn and I asked Bourdain why he seemed so extremely nice when he acted as judge in season 7, especially since his buddy Eric Ripert seemed so bitchy by comparison. I specifically asked if the aliens who kidnapped him returned his snark. After some laughter, the response, "...the most perverted thing I could do is to make Eric the bad guy on that show. I mean, I saw my opportunity. He is always the good one you know, he’s a very good friend, he’s always seen as the good guy, the nice guy, the loveable one. And he was being - I thought he was being pretty harsh. So I saw my opportunity to make him Darth Vader.

Other topics discussed included Twitter and blogging. Bourdain leaves the tweeting to his wife Ottavia and occasionally gets her to send his comments into the Twitterverse. Colicchio says he's Tweeted in the past, but that West coasters get angry if he reveals who won. His response to this? "What are you doing here, if you don’t want to know?"

You probably think I'm mean by not revealing anything they said about the show, but honestly, there wasn't much. Colicchio insisted that the judges know nothing about behind-the-scenes hijinks or drama until we do - when the episodes are aired - or if someone brings it up at Judge's Table. And that the playing field is pretty even this season because the judges "kind of know them all." He also thinks Dale Talde has matured. Guess that means no crotch-grabbing and cursing this season, at least not in front of the judges.

We'll just have to watch and find out.

(An aside: it's not until you attempt to edit the transcript from a phone interview until you realize how many times people say "you know" between every few words. Both were guilty.)

1 comment:

Grumpy Granny said...

Ha! Great post and welcome to my world (of transcription, that is!)

GG