At last night's premiere for the second season of HBO's Treme, we made a point of tracking down series creator David Simon to ask him about the show's heavy emphasis on food culture and about hiring self-described "Wire wonk" Anthony Bourdain to co-write the season's first episode.
"I dont think my palate is as good as some of the people on the show," Simon said. "But yeah, Im a big foodie, especially about street food. Ill get in long debates about the best pizza in New York." And what might that be? "Its, no question, Di Fara, on Avenue J in Brooklyn. (In New Orleans, where Treme is filmed, his favorite thing to eat is the oysters and melted brie at Clancys: I can only have it, like, once a year, because its so deadly.)
Simon brought on Bourdain to help with the food-related story lines, including that of a displaced New Orleans restaurant owner who moves to New York. "First we grabbed hold of Tony Bourdain and said, 'Help us, Tony, help us,'" Simon says. He also mentions that Eric Ripert's upcoming cameo won't be the only chef appearance this season: "Tony knows them all, so we reached out and got all the New York chefs involved.
For Bourdain, the decision to get involved was an easy one. "David Simon called me out of the blue. I am a total, annoying Wire wonk. I think its the greatest show in history. So I was a huge fan, not just of his show, but of Generation Kill and his books ... He asked if Id be interested in writing, and I said, 'Id get your coffee.'"