Tomorrow, YouTube unveils On the Table, Eric Ripert’s zippy new show on the “Reserve Channel.” Chef’s first guest is his best friend, Anthony Bourdain, who, lucky for us, has a propensity for egging on the ultra-refined Ripert. Taking full advantage of such boyish behavior, Grub Street sat down with the guys to, well, lay it all on the table as they filmed the first episode. Over a lot of beer and a little blushing, we covered famous crushes, severe self-consciousness, and their somewhat-emasculating noms de porn.
You’re both happily married men, but just for fun, who are your all-time favorite fantasy women?
Bourdain: Easy. Ursula Andress of Dr. No, Mrs. Peel in The Avengers, Monica Vitti from L’avventura …
Ripert: Oh, he has a list!
Let’s say “modern-day” fantasy women. Mila Kunis, Eva Mendes, Cindy Crawford …
Bourdain: None of those. Gong Li, she’s current.
Ripert: Cindy Crawford, yeah, for sure. Catherine Deneuve. We would not fight over women. Gisele, for sure, no doubt. Eva Mendes, no. Too close to home. My wife is Puerto Rican.
What was the last thing that made you laugh your ass off?
Bourdain: Guy Fieri’s tweet that he was on his way to a Nickelback concert. Seldom have the planets aligned so beautifully. If only he said, “My good friend Vanilla Ice is coming with me,” and my head would have exploded.
Ripert: Yesterday, I went to school to watch the kids perform. The parents and teachers take it so seriously; it just made me laugh.
Last time you cried like a baby?
Bourdain: End of Toy Story 3.
Ripert: The last time I cried was watching The Wall. I don’t like war, and it was so powerful it made me cry.
Best possible “alone time” scenario?
Bourdain: Alone time is about my daughter. She loves Katy Perry. You’ve reached a plateau in your life when you become absolutely enchanted watching your daughter singing along to Katy Perry videos. She thinks Snoop Dogg is her kindly uncle because he’s in the California Girls video. That’s as close to a perfect moment for me — sitting there in our jammies watching our cartoons together. And by the way, my daughter has a huge crush on his son.
Ripert: My son loves Tony’s family. Uncle Tony keeps a close eye on his daughter, though.
What makes you cringe when watching yourselves on TV?
Ripert: This guy made me suffer on Treme. He writes the most difficult lines to say in English. I barely speak English. I don’t remember lines. When I watched Treme, after three seconds, I turned off the TV and never watched again. I was not good. I was terrible. He’s vicious.
Bourdain: Look, I like making television. I like having the ability to tell stories on television. A lot. It’s magic to me because I’m a film nerd. But in a perfect world, I would not be on the fucking show! Obviously, it’s a cross I can clearly bear. Clearly. But do I wince? All the time. It is often unbearable to me. I’ve turned off my shows many, many times. I just can’t bear it. It’s like a dermatological chamber of horrors, watching my show. You can tell how happy I am by whether or not I bothered to shave that day. Honestly. What kind of sick freak … it is incomprehensible to me that someone would want to be on television just to be on television. It’s weird. It’s like, I don’t understand being a model either. Like, do something — Build a fucking shelf, a credenza! Anything is better than famous just for being famous. Emeril’s lack of vanity is sort of wonderful if you look at his shows. The fact that he was not very good on television made him likable to millions of people … I find that charming, that lack of slickness and polish.
Speaking of unwanted fame, ever play that game where you devise your hypothetical porn star names?
Bourdain: Street you grew up on and first pet? Eric, what was your first pet and street?
Ripert: Sammy … and I was in the mountains, there was no street really … umm … Rue … Mouffetard!
Bourdain: Oooh, that’s good. [In film announcer voice.] “Sammy Mouffetard is back, and this time it’s for real.” Me, I’m Poochie Orchard.