It's time for a brand new feature on The Kitchen Witch I'm calling Cocktails and Gossip - a Saturday column featuring a delicious cocktail recipe and how to video along with up to the minute gossip from the Food Celebrity world.
(Okay, maybe not up to the minute... I do live on an island; but, people, I watch a lot of TV!)
We'll start this week with famed Celebrity
Chef turned acclaimed author Anthony Bourdain, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978, won an Emmy award for his television show No Reservations, and is the current Chef at Large at Brasseri Les Halles in New York City.
Although I watched every episode of No Reservations religiously, the show was actually predated by an earlier program called A Cook's Tour that ran on the Food Network between 2000 and 2002 and I can still conjure up memories of my favourite episode titled Childhood Flavours which featured a visit with his brother to Arcachon France - the village of his father's people where he spent many a summer as a child.
In the episode, we are not only introduced to the food of the region, we are invited to come along on a memory as Bourdain reflects on the culture and history of the area and interweaves it with his own story - a trademark style we see reflected again in No Reservations.
But when Bourdain's "famously uncomfortable" relationship with the Food Network ended in 2002, his relentless criticism of the entity along with celebrities like Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, Sandra Lee, and Paula Dean began.
I will leave it to you to decide whether or not you agree with Bourdain when he makes statements like:
On Paula Deen: "The worst, most dangerous person to America is clearly Paula Deen. She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she's proud of the fact that her food is f--king bad for you [...] plus, her food sucks."
On Guy Fieri: "I look at Guy Fieri and I just think, 'Jesus, I'm glad that's not me.'"
On Rachael Ray: "Does she even cook anymore? I don't know why she bothers. To her credit, she never said she was good at it."
On Sandra Lee: "There was an incident with Sandra Lee where I ran into her [after criticizing her publicly]. It was deeply terrible. Don't mess with her. I rarely feel uncomfortable, but she has a powerful force. I hate her works on this planet, but she is not someone to be dismissed, clearly."
Though I respect Bourdain's creativity, talent and intelligence - and will go on record by saying there is not one episode of anything currently running on the Food Network as memorable as when Bourdain visited Vietnam, Russia, or Turkey - he lost some his luster in my eyes with the statements above.
I understand where he was coming from, and I get that many of the big names in food are manufactured entities - but I also think there's room in the food entertainment industry for all kinds of people. Further to that, when you are as genius as Bourdain, there is simply no need to go there.
I've never heard Rick Bayless crticizing Rachel Ray's Taco Pasta Toss because, why would he?
And to be fair to Rachel Ray, I love her recipes.
In my eyes Anthony Bourdain was way cooler when he was just snarky.
But I would still love to have a cocktail with him...
And that's the gossip! What do you think? Anthony Bourdain... love him? Hate him? On the fence?
And then, how about today's featured cocktail, The Caesar.
Splashes of vodka, fresh lemon juice, hot sauce, and worcestershire sauce are poured into a salt rimmed glass over ice and mixed with Mott's Clamato juice!
But be careful... one can lead to two of these very quickly.
All Hail the Mighty Caesar
For the salt rim
Mix together 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp celery salt, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
For the drink
Fill a large glass with ice and pour in 2 oz of vodka, 3 splashes of hot sauce, 3 splashes worcestershire sauce, squeeze of fresh lemon juice and stir. Slowly add chilled Motts Clamato juice to the glass continuing to stir until the glass is filled. Serve with a stalk of celery or an olive and enjoy!