TV Food Travel Guys

9 Dec

Adam Richman > Tony Bourdain > Andrew Zimmern > Guy Fieri.

Bourdain is the legendary chef who wrote an iconic expose of the restaurant biz, and the places he goes and people he meets are all incredible, but side by side, I prefer Richman’s Man v. Food.

Richman is funny and personable, and he’s got real knowledge about cooking and the restaurant industry. When he takes a bite of something, he is descriptive and concise in discussing the flavors and mouthfeel.  While Bourdain seems to use food as a way to travel, Richman travels to eat.  The food challenges are entertaining and suspenseful, but I especially like the first half of the show when he highlights a special restaurant in a city.

Andrew Zimmern isn’t that funny, isn’t that interesting, and is all about eating gross stuff, like sucking the jelly out of a fish’s eye.  Yeah, no thanks.  I don’t care if it’s a delicacy in Samoa.

Guy Fieri annoys me to my core.  The gravelly voice, the douchey spiked hair, the sunglasses tucked into the nape of his neck.  Every inch of him screams, “I am here to annoy you”, and he’s absolutely unwatchable.

4 Responses to “TV Food Travel Guys”

  1. Mike In WNY December 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm #

    Bourdain and Zimmern are gourmets and thoroughly enjoyable. Richman is a gourmand and his show is equivalent to a reality show. Fieri knows his stuff, once you get past the funky facade.

  2. Jeremy Horwitz December 10, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    Agreed mostly on Richman – he’s an enthusiastic host who focuses on interesting restaurants and foods, though the format of his program is a little too predictable and the challenge elements would be better without the faux audiences.

    Re: the others, rank order doesn’t really do them justice, as they all have their problems. It’s a sad statement that Fieri, the joker of the bunch, was demonstrably kinder and more thoughtful in approaching WNY than Bourdain, whose treatment of the area was shallow, snotty, and insulting – much like his oft-repeated criticisms of virtually every other TV chef in the business. Though Fieri focuses on accessible foods, and Bourdain on more exciting, exotic places, I’d rather have a meal with a guy who approaches new situations with excitement than one who shows up miserable and expecting the worst.

    Zimmern is another story. He has none of Bourdain’s malice and all of Fieri’s apparent enthusiasm, but the food he eats is ridiculous. His freak show is entertaining up until the first or second time you hear him make some completely off-the-wall statement, like how the best part of a clam isn’t the meat but the shell, at which point it becomes obvious that he’s either acting, crazy, or suffering from a parasitic infection.

  3. Kevin Purdy December 10, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    Richman deserves loads of credit for what he does. For a taste of how not to do “challenges” on the road, see Bobby Flay’s series (still on?) in which he “takes on” local specialties, making his own version of them and submitting them to a taste test.

    If he wins, it’s “Screw you, grandma, your pies are TEH FAIL!” If he loses, it’s tolerable, if boring and predictable. Drew Cerza, I believe, won in the chicken wing challenge.

  4. dave in Rocha December 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    Awesome, another opportunity to rehash Bourdain’s Rust Belt episode. I still can’t believe how two people can have such 180-degree views on the show and how he portrayed the area. But that’s a bit OT…

    Anyway, Bourdain > Richman >>>>> Fieri. Haven’t watched enough of Zimmern to comment. But holy christ, Guy just makes me want to stab my eyeballs. Regarding Richman I have to agree that I like how he profiles several local haunts before embarking on his challenge. Without that the show would be too one-dimensional.

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