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Food Media 27

Good vs. Evil - Tony Bourdain and Eric Ripert in Santa Rosa, CA

mariacarmen | Feb 12, 201210:07 AM

We saw their show Sat. night. They started out with a schtick that grated a bit at first - each acting as an interrogator while the other sat in a fold-out chair at the front of the stage, calling each other out, trying to challenge and embarrass each other. While there were some funny moments, it was just a bit too scripted and in my opinion went on a little long. But when they settled into their seats with a couple of beers, they reverted to some of that easy flow that seems to exist between them, and you can tell there is real affection there.

Our enjoyment of the night was only (severely) hampered by a group of women sitting in our section who would NOT. SHUT. UP. Hooting and screeching and "that's right"-ing like rabid teenaged fans on Oprah or something was annoying as hell. Shushing them became an annoyance itself so I finally gave up.

Tony was his usual talkative, ranty and f-bomb dropping self, and Eric his usually beautiful Frenchy, debonaire self. They chatted about eating sustainably, local ingredients, Alice Waters (Tony couldn't hate her, as much as he wanted to), Gordon Ramsey (Eric thinks he is a terrible representation of how to behave in the kitchen), Paula Dean (absolutely irresponsible), Guy Fieri (Eric finds him entertaining, Tony does not). They talked about how Le Bernardin has and hasn't changed over the years, Tony's "talents" as a chef (there was a lot of ribbing from ER to AB about AB not actually knowing how to cook!), Tony being a dad, quitting smoking, both of them being t.v. personalities, and Eric's Sunday dinners at home (he, his wife and their little boy put on a different "restaurant" every week in their home, just for the 3 of them, complete with a menu and the boy acting as maitre-d' (this engendered many "awwwwws!" from the audience!) We learned that ER has banned only one person ever from his restaurant - John McEnroe, for apparently hurting his feelings on an episode of the Letterman show. and he didn't want to talk further about it!

There was a good amount of the evening set aside to audience questions, which was actually the best part of the night for me. They were asked what were their best and worst single tastes on Top Chef: (Tony's worst: butterscotch scallops [he likened it to a filthy sex act with Mrs. Butterworth.] Eric's best: Elan's fideo dish.) They were asked who in all of history would they like to come back as: AB: Bootsy Collins of Funkadelic (which we found awesome, and totally in character.) and ER: the Dalai Lama (also fitting.) To the question, what is the one thing you suck at, AB answered dancing, and ER, pastry-making. ER was asked what his his deep/dark/dirty secret junk food splurge: response? he has none. he literally does not eat junk, and the best he could come up with was "Spanish chorizo?" WTF?? Someone asked what is the first thing ER eats when he gets back to France: charcuterie, un-pasteurized cheeses, and bread.

I had binoculars (so i'm a star-f**cker, so sue me) and i loved seeing ER's face up close as he giggled delightedly at AB's jokes - you can see how much they really enjoy each other. After the scripted stuff in the beginning, i got the sense that this is what they do when they get together - have a couple of beers and shoot the shit about anything and everything food related. Their self-proclaimed best-friendship was very evident and entertaining to watch.

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