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Top Celebrity Chef Douchebag Shark Jumping Blog Battle

 
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Frank_Jewett
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:23 am    Post subject: Top Celebrity Chef Douchebag Shark Jumping Blog Battle Reply with quote


Did Anthony Bourdain just call me a douchebag?!

"Iron Chef Douchebag" Rocco DiSpirito made a guest appearance on Bravo's Top Chef two weeks ago to shill Bertolli's new line of frozen pasta entrees in an absurd cooking challenge that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Top Chef has jumped the shark. I was so disgusted with the premise that I never got around to posting a review.

Rocco's performance was clinical, smug, and tepid. He correctly pointed out that people love heating up Bertolli's prepackaged meals because it feels like they are actually cooking. Cake mixes require eggs and oil for the same psychological reason. Of course Rocco was still Rocco, preaching as if he was still at the top of his profession, but at the same time his appearance was dull as he held his famous temper in check. I was praying one of the contestants would call him a douchebag, or perhaps just yell out "Gusteau!" during a lull in the sales pitch.

Anyway, the reason for this post isn't to put over the show. Top Chef is as played out as Project Runway, without the redemption of Tim Gunn's taste and empathy. The reason for this post is to share the joy of the post-show Blog Battle between Iron Chef Douchebag and Celebrity Chef turned Travelling Geek Show turned Top Chef shark jumper Anthony Bourdain, who mysteriously showed up as Tom Colicchio's guest blogger.

Bourdain, whose sardonic blog comments evoke memories of a young Mojo Mitchell, wrote that he tuned in "waiting to see which Rocco DiSpirito showed up. The breathtakingly-gifted, French-trained chef of three star Union Pacific fame? Or the 'thatsa speecy, spicy meatball!' shill-for-hire and ex-reality show personality?" Bourdain clearly felt it was the latter.

Bourdain took another shot at Iron Chef Douchebag in his final summary, noting "This wasn't so much a contest as it was a cautionary tale. For surely, in culinary schools of the future, students, in Media Training 101, shall be shown faded videos of the tragic, Icarus-like trajectory of chef Rocco DiSpirito. And-- as if watching a highway safety film--they shall watch last night's episode of Top Chef where they will learn of the hidden dangers of 'this thing of ours', the inevitable collisions between ego and ambition...between business alliances beyond our control...and our own desire to just cook and cook well."

Knowing a sure fire web click grabber when they see one, Bravo cleverly set out to make this feud bigger than Jesse Venture vs Rusty Tillman by inviting Rocco to pinch blog for Padma Lakshmi the following week.

Rocco took the blogportunity to set the record straight. "Contrary to popular belief, I have not had botox, ribs removed, nor rhinoplasty. I have, after much work, lost 30 pounds, no more, no less", wrote Rocco, who looked like he'd been on the Nicole Richie diet. Rocco also defended his work for Bertolli. "Some in the Top Chef blogoshpere consider strategic partnerships and brand alliances 'shilling.' I don't agree." Rocco got in a parting shot, inviting Bourdain to dinner (Are you smelling the ratings grabbing special Bravo execs are cooking?), then blowing off Bourdain with "I might even take up smoking."

Bourdain mysteriously ended up with his own permanent blog spot at BravoTV.com (it's not as easy as it looks - just ask Mojo!) and took the opportunity to respond to Rocco's response. Bourdain expressed jealousy for Rocco's talents, but then explained "Watching Rocco's trajectory in the cause of the bitch-goddess fame is like watching a young Eric Clapton put aside his guitar for a career as a mink rancher. You just want to scream, 'Play, damn you! PLAY!!' (Or in Rocco's case, 'Cook! Cook!!')." Bourdain said that Rocco could silence his critics by opening a small restaurant "even in a crummy neighborhood" and serving up the same quality he produced at Union Pacific.

Rocco also mysteriously ended up with his own permanent blog spot at BravoTV.com and offered a final response to Bourdain's response, asking "Tony how are we so different? After more than 20 years behind the stove you left the restaurant business--so did I. You author and sell (admittedly much better written) books--so do I. Youíre on TV--so am I. You write blogs--so do I. You speak your mind and have dedicated your life to entertaining people and so do I." Rocco might have a point there.

Rocco continued, "I was stunned when I read your comments comparing me to Eric Clapton. I am grateful and didn't know you felt that way about me, but I am still confused. Now it's my virtuosity behind the stove that makes me such a loser? Donít you see--it's as absurd for you to insist I open a restaurant as it is for me to ask you to do the same. It's not that I refuse to open a restaurant (who knows given the right situation), I just don't need to cook at a 40-seater in a bad neighborhood to become the sunshine of your love again. You can enjoy my cooking anytime, no reservations."

If that isn't the setup for a "No Reservations with Rocco" special, I don't know what is. I tell ya, this thing could be as big as Iron Chef America!!!

Frank
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Links! We need links! :)

Tony has written/said a fair amount about Rocco over the years, much of the recent stuff along the lines of what you quote above as "his final summary" of the blog entry. I think the best piece I've seen him write about Rocco is a fictional short story from the book above. The central character is Rocco, which even Tony cops to in the notes section of the book. It hits the points mentioned here well.

While Rocco may seem to score above on Tony giving up the kitchen to become what is called a "TV Presenter" in England, what goes over Rocco's head is that Tony has been writing and talking about his own very changes since almost the moment that Kitchen Confidential took off, and certainly since A Cook's Tour. That's one of (many of) the differences between the two - Tony tends to be open and honest in his self revelation and evolution, while Rocco... well... has been a lying douchebag about it over the years. :)


John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Top Celebrity Chef Douchebag Shark Jumping Blog Battle Reply with quote



And my god... does Rocco look like shit or what?!?!


John
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Frank_Jewett
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bourdain compares Rocco to Icarus - Now I'll never be able to hear Iron Maiden without thinking of Iron Chef Douchebag

Rocco does the old Buddy Rose spot on cosmetic surgery

Bourdain's final note (as if) on Rocco turning his back on his culinary gifts

Rocco invites Bourdain to dinner - no reservations!

Bourdain's Rocco-free blog on tonight's show - gotta let the feud simmer

Bourdain's blogs are worth reading all the way through because it's he's putting a lot of knowledge and thought and wit into his analysis, at least so far.

As for Rocco's face...



The shot on the left is from 4 years ago, the shot in the middle is from last August, and the shot on the right is from Top Chef. Side-by-side, it becomes obvious that Rocco is starting to look like Nicole Richie because he's lost all the fat in his face, from his cheeks to under his eyes. Rocco doesn't have the sort of alien, permanently surprised look that bad facelift victims like Kathy Griffin have, so I'm guessing the doctor only went in through the bottom of Rocco's eye sockets to remove the baggage and cheek fat. Unfortunately for Rocco, those were the parts of his face that made him look young, cheerful, and well... healthy.

Frank
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Iron Chad



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rocco could be doing some "home liposuction" snorting special white "liposuction powder" up his nose.

-Chad
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Frank_Jewett
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bourdain took a shot at Rocco's appearance too, writing "for the first few moments, I thought David Gest had taken his place."

Bourdain expressed contempt for the challenge, which was essentially an excuse to pretend Bertolli's frozen meals were fine dining while shilling them to Bravo's audience.

"It was Joey who paid the terrible price for this unholy exercise in brand expansion/product placement", wrote Bourdain. "Little could this chef--of the very fine Cafe des Artistes in New York City--have guessed that he'd ever find himself standing in the aisle of a supermarket, trying to thaw a block of frozen pasta over a hot plate! Or that this--THIS--would be the challenge to knock him out of the competition. Joey? I feel your pain. Console yourself in the knowledge that better, smarter people than you or I have found themselves run over in Rocco's blind rush towards the bright lights."

"There was no glory to be had last night. There were no winners. Not when everybody, contestants and judges alike, were left wiping Rocco's Frozen Love Juice off their faces at the end."

Rocco's frozen love juice? I could have lived without that imagery.

Frank
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved the Love Juice line. Tony knocking the product placement mentality was great as well.

John
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Frank_Jewett
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bourdain's commentary is almost singlehandedly redeeming a show that had fallen somewhere between "disappointing" and "irksome." It's worth watching the Top Chef car wreck to better understand his on-point analysis.

Frank
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