More than just a companion to the hugely popular show, "No Reservations" is Bourdain's fully illustrated journal of his far-flung travels. The book traces his trips from New Zealand to New Jersey and everywhere in between, mixing beautiful, never-before-seen photos and mementos with Bourdain's outrageous commentary on what really happens when you give a bad-boy chef an open ticket to the world. Read more...
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More than just a companion to the hugely popular show, "No Reservations" is Bourdain's fully illustrated journal of his far-flung travels. The book traces his trips from New Zealand to New Jersey and everywhere in between, mixing beautiful, never-before-seen photos and mementos with Bourdain's outrageous commentary on what really happens when you give a bad-boy chef an open ticket to the world. Want to know where to get good fatty crab in Rangoon? How to order your reindeer medium rare? How to tell a Frenchman that his baguette is invading your personal space? This is your book. For any Bourdain fan, this is an indispensable opportunity to hit the road with the man himself.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 52.
- Review Date: 2007-10-01
- Reviewer: Staff
The in-your-face, hard-boiled chef Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential) delivers another entertaining look at the best and worst places around the world in which to eat. While the book shares a title with Bourdain's popular television show, it achieves its author's goal of not being “some cynical, cheap-ass 'companion' book to the series” featuring “a bunch of blurry photos taken from the show.” The book chronicles his last three years globe-trotting—“a continuing journey of 200,000 miles”—as he's accompanied by a film crew whose “disturbing eccentricities” make up his “new dysfunctional family” with whom he shares his many adventures. The bulk of the book consists of beautifully composed photos of Bourdain's travels, “an honest and direct recording of the way life is lived in the rest of the world.” But Bourdain also provides many of his always incisive and entertaining observations, ranging from short takes on Singapore (“one of the most food-centric, food-obsessed, food-crazy cultures on earth”) and Iceland (“The notoriously stinky fermented shark was, in fact, the second worst thing I've ever put in my mouth”) to longer looks at Beirut, cooks and “Bathrooms Around the World” (worst country for bathrooms: Uzbekistan). (Nov. 5)
More nasty bits
The second-worst thing that gonzo chef, writer and intrepid traveler Anthony Bourdain has ever eaten, he claims, was "the notoriously stinky fermented shark" served to him in Iceland. This chef-turned-author and TV host (Kitchen Confidential, "A Cook's Tour") braves the rigors of the road and many an eclectic cuisine in No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, a companion photo "scrapbook" to his latest Travel Channel television show.
With just a five-person crew, a couple of cameras and a soupçon of offbeat sensibility, Bourdain and his cohorts reveal the world and its variant cultures through the lens of our universal human need to eat. From Asia to Africa, Paris to Beirut and on to our own great continent, they poke into unusual corners, alleys and the occasional jungle to capture on film an "honest and direct recording of the way life is lived in the rest of the world."
No Reservations features the crew's own photos, behind-the-scenes glimpses of how the TV show comes together (or not), and Bourdain's bad-boy wit and acerbic commentary via small essays and photo captions. And, as he and his cohorts are travel pros, there's a down-and-dirty critique of the best and worst lavatories worldwide, and a commentary on "indigenous beverages" (most of which, he says, you must imbibe in order not to offend your host). Zany antics aside, No Reservations amply reflects Bourdain's search for the heart and soul of humanityand, of course, the ultimate roast pig.