Chef dishes up his travel tips
Anthony Bourdain has a new show, writes Katherine Leone of Scripps Howard News
CHEF, author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain kicks up dust on the back roads and pounds the pavements of cities worldwide on his show No Reservations. He and his crew came up with the concept for a new show called The Layover. It shows viewers places to visit – from five stars to dive bars – when they have only 24 to 48 hours in a city. What are the key differences between No Reservations and The Layover?
No Reservations is all about me, me, me and me having fun and me satisfying my curiosity about the world and less about whether or not anybody in the audience will actually be able to replicate the experience. With this show, we’re actually trying to be useful. We’ve unmasked a lot of information about places around the world over the course of eight years. We’ve gotten pretty good about cutting right to the heart of the matter. If you find yourself in New York for a brief period of time, what do we do better in New York than any place else? I always advise people to go for a pastrami sandwich. So we’re kind of looking for the Tokyo version or the Hong Kong, or Singapore or Montreal or LA or San Francisco version of the pastrami sandwich, you know, the local dive bars as well as uniquely weird and wonderful places around the world you might not stumble upon yourself. Given the choice of a dive bar or five stars, which do you prefer?
Chances are, on any given day I would much prefer to be having a beer in a late afternoon in a favourite dive bar or at a family-run place, and no tablecloth, not fancy, you know, sleeping dog on the floor. Do you schedule layovers around international travel?
I travel so much and have so little time at home with my family and since I get to go, I choose where we go on these shows and what we do there, so I don’t need to do that. But every once in a while I have. I mean, if I’m doing a speaking engagement in Australia, as has happened, or a writer’s festival or food and wine festival, I would stop off scheduling myself a couple of days, a two-day layover in Singapore is something I’ve done before. You’ve mentioned that this is similar to Samantha Brown’s Travel Channel show; in what ways is it different?
I guess we’re very different people to start with. If things go wrong, I’ll actually look at the camera and say ‘this sucks’, so that would be a distinctive difference. I’m not really interested in the best or the most iconic places in locations where I think most other travel shows, you know, made an effort to at least make you aware of the pyramids or the Eiffel Tower. I’ve kind of gone the other direction. Like anything I do, it’s always point of view, it’s always a personal essay of sorts. Do you think it’s a challenge to make international cities and remote locations accessible to a mainstream American audience?
You know, I don’t really care. The Layover, these are places that any international traveller would be likely to find themselves. But the challenge is making Saudi Arabia or Liberia more accessible in this sense.
No Reservations: Daily, various times, The Lifestyle Channel