With a few Emmys, best-selling books, sold-out comedy shows, a new gig with CNN and a highly anticipated cooking competition on ABC, Anthony Bourdain could retire and never look back. However, for this chef, cultural anthropologist and writer, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. We had a chance to speak with Tony on one of his few breaks from traveling (he travels 200 days out of the year) to discuss The Layover, which airs Nov. 19.
The show kicks off in Chicago, which Anthony dubs as the "the only other true American metropolis." In this episode, he cruises the neighborhoods that make up the Midwestern city in a rented old-school Cadillac and eats traditional Chicago fare, like Polish hot dogs and deep dish pizza.
In addition to Chicago, Tony spent some time in Atlanta, New Orleans, Seattle and Philadelphia. In a recent interview, Anthony said Philadelphia was one of the cities he wished he'd been to sooner and we found out why.
"We just had a really good time shooting. I think a lot has changed in the city that is really exciting. What I would hear again and again is why we haven't done a show in Philadelphia and so we decided to come. I don't know why I had lower expectations than I did but that's the fun in traveling, being constantly wrong about a place."
In addition to those American cities, Anthony also travels to Paris, Toronto, Sao Paolo, Taipei and Dublin in this season of The Layover. In these cities, Tony meets with a local who guides him to the best places hidden from the tourist traps and overpriced, sub-par meals. Sadly for us, we often don't get such insider information when we are abroad looking for meals. So we asked him how to scout out the best places to eat a real meal when in a foreign land.
"Go where the locals are, if it's packed with them, eat there. Never go to a place that the concierge tells you to go and if you see other Americans, you are probably in the wrong place. You are just as likely to get sick at the hotel buffet than you are a local mom and pop shop."
Although filming is done with the Travel Channel, Anthony is already gearing up to begin shooting for his new show on CNN. Even though he's seen most of the world, there are some places he's excited to visit with CNN that he couldn't with the Travel Channel.
"I would very like to go to the Congo River. I would also love to shoot in Libya, Milan, Burma and the West Bank and Gaza. Places that are troubled or there are situations with are interesting to me."
Despite his background as a trained chef, Anthony really isn't often asked about making food. How and where to eat it, sure, but how to make it? Not often. So, we wanted to know, if he had to pick five ingredients to go into an appetizer basket on Chopped, what would they be?
"I don't know, I'd pick really simple things. Chicken, an egg, some blood sausage, some salt and some butter. You can really learn a lot about people when they are presented with easy ingredients."
When he's not eating, traveling or filming, you can find Anthony at your favorite bookstore with a selection of nonfiction and fiction. But that's not the only place you may find him. Anthony recently started doing comedy shows that have nothing to do with food at all. So we had to ask, how are the shows being received and how different is it to doing live filming on shows?
"It's going well. You learn right away when something isn't working in comedy. The community is generally a hostile crowd so you find out quickly if they don't like it."
Kind of like comedy, his next TV endeavor with ABC, The Taste, a new cooking competition, is also quite a different type of show than he's used to. This begs the question, how is shooting a competition different than shooting The Layover or No Reservations? Is one easier or harder to do?
"It's a show with a big-time network, so the stakes are different. But I had a lot of fun on the set and filming it. It was just different, that's for sure."
You can find Anthony on this last season of The Layover, which premieres on Nov. 19 on Travel Channel. To learn more about The Taste and when it premieres, check out this site!
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