After ‘At the Table’ Bombs, Anthony Bourdain Confronts the ‘Stench of Failure’

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Overexposed though he may be, you gotta feel for Anthony Bourdain. When he agreed to do a show for the Travel Channel, At the Table, in which he talks to guests over dinner, he thought (per his blog), “I’ve jumped out of an airplane and eaten warthog rectum — so I figured ... why not try this too?” After watching the rough cut, he didn’t think the results were all that spectacular: “I think I come off like a drunk version of John McLaughlin — you know, that loud, douchebag on the McLaughlin Group?” But we’re sure he never could have anticipated the outpouring of genuine disgust for the show that came from his own fans, on his own blog’s message board. Herewith, a mere sampling of comments that poured in from middle Americans who weren’t exactly impressed with, among other things, the way the panel (Bill Buford, Ted Allen, Amy Sacco, and Chris Wilson) handled the question "Is it ethically okay to blow $1,800 bucks on dinner?"

I couldn't care less if you dine on gold-leaf covered baby seals or bathe in angel's tears, but please spare me your New Yorker's assumption that the rest of the world craves news of every thought and action of the denizens of your foul smelling rat maze. What IS that?

It sucked. Even the food...normal folk would never have any of that stuff. That's for rich people. Step down a few notches. You talked about getting into resturants because of who all of you are. Get out of New York to "Joe, the plumber" neck of the woods LOL


I gotta go check Zimmerns blog comments to see if he has anything like this mountain of bad reviews that you have Tony. I havent seen anything like this. Hope someone is reading this in your camp and never lets you host what is destined to be a mess again.


OMG you owe me Tony! You owe me an hour of my life I can never get back. That was the worst piece of *** I've ever seen! Please for the love of God tell me you havent turned into a tool!


Wow, did this show suck! Tony off script is really boring. The guests tried to sound intellectual and witty, but were all blowhards. As the virtual guest at the table, I couldn't wait for the check!


The show was to put it gently.....s***. High brow nonsense in a restaurant few people watching the show would ever go to or be able to afford. If the goal was to disenfranchise your loyal viewers...mission accomplished.


I think when you look back on this show in a year or in five you will be embarrassed. Embarrassed by the conversation, embarrassed by the utter arrogance of it all. Maybe this "insider" view of a New York meal should have remained confidential for it revealed and confirmed what New Yorkers think of themselves and of others.


i think i vomited a little in my mouth - Did you jump the shark? say it isn't so!!!!!


Tony, really don't like the new show. I could care less about upper middle class white people yammering about their bourgeois perspective on food. We all know about the ridiculously priced places that dominate urban life globally and their mind-numbing sameness and that fast food is better everywhere on the planet than the US. But what in heavens name were they eating. I have no idea what they charge for a tasting menu at WD50 but to these eyes it all looked like foam and rainbows. There was only one dish that I could vaguely comprehend and that was the tongue course. At least I think it was tongue. Well that and the Crab, that looked Yummy. But talk about UBER portion control, there was so much white from the plates that It nearly blinded me.


"At the Table" was about the worst show I've ever seen. This is coming from a regular viewer of "No Reservations." As someone who was laid-off in January and unable to find work, it was painful to watch a bunch of swells pontificating about eating a $1,900 meal during the worst economic times in living memory. If you have that kind of money to burn, you should have eaten some street hot dogs and given the remaining $1,895 to charity. That kind of scratch could feed my wife and I for about nine weeks. In a few weeks, after my unemployment runs out, I'll think of you and your stupid, boring friends and the $1,900 meal and what I could have done with the money.


And it goes on and on over the course of 159 comments. On his blog on Wednesday, Bourdain admitted he could smell the stench of failure even from the Philippines, where he was filming No Reservations: “It smells like fear ... and shame … It says something when the comments about a show (on my blog and on the message boards) were smarter, more thoughtful and insightful than the show itself.” Commenters were quick to soften up on Bourdain and tell him they still love him — well, except for this guy: “You poor wimpering prima dona. Get over it. We all %$#*-up sooner or later. Quit your self-loathing tea-leaf flogging and go eat some bull testicles.”


Whoa. Anyone catch the show? We can't help but wonder — would it have worked better with different guests, at a restaurant that didn't traffic in foam and rainbows? And if so, who and where?

What We Talk About, When We Talk About Food [Anthony Bourdain's Blog]
Pressure Drop [Anthony Bourdain's Blog]