by DOUG NADVORNICK & r & & r & Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations & r & & r & (Travel Channel, Mondays, 10pm) & r & & r & A Cook's Tour & r & & r & (Food Network, Tuesdays, 7:30 and 10:30p) & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t's a good time to be Tony Bourdain. The caustic New York author/TV host/chef now has two series running on cable TV. His Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations has started a new season -- on Monday night, he treated us to the delights of pig snout and blood pudding in London and Edinburgh -- and his first series, A Cook's Tour, has been given a second life by the Food Network. Two of the 22 episodes run every Tuesday night.
How is Bourdain handling his good fortune? Well, he's fine with the new series and unsettled about the other one. You see, he's more than a little disturbed -- OK, he's pissed -- about the direction of the Food Network and he spends a good deal of time dissing the people who are programming his former network and some of its new personalities, who are no more qualified than most of us to host programs about food.
So when he found out -- while sitting at a pool in Hawaii during a break in filming his new series -- that his mug was going back on the Food Network, Bourdain was.... paranoid.
"This was like being unexpectedly groped and publicly slipped the tongue by the ugliest girl at the prom," he wrote in his Travel Channel blog. "You're flattered by the attention -- but frankly ... embarrassed. And the timing seemed suspicious."
Could it be that a floundering Food Network was capitalizing on Bourdain's popularity on another network to get viewers back? That's what Bourdain's fans told him on his blog. The star wasn't sure what to think.
"They're not putting the show back on because they like it. They're trying to destroy me!" or, later in his blog -- "Maybe ... maybe it's vengeance for some of the Rachael Ray cracks."
With drama like this, who needs to watch his shows.
"On reflection, I think I'll enjoy being -- once again -- the turd in the Food Network punchbowl," he writes. "I shall tune in, for sure. Squeezed between Follow That Fudge and America's Ultimate Deep Fryers, my younger, thinner, darker-haired self will stare back at me, still unknowing, blundering through my first adventures in television, my first, eye opening trips to Asia, Africa and South America."
Don't knock it, Tony. I thought your first series was better than your second one.
Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern
I don't know what to think about Andrew Zimmern. He's a chef, food writer, TV and radio host -- the Travel Channel bills him as a "world traveler, chef and the man with the stomach of steel." No kidding. He eats some of the nastiest stuff I've ever seen: snakes, insects, weird fish. But the thing is... you can't avert your eyes. Maybe it's like being a gawker at a gory traffic accident. See re-runs of Zimmern's show several nights a week. New feats of gastronomic horrors are coming soon. (Travel Channel, Tuesdays, 7 and 10 pm; new season starts March 4)
Jamie at Home
Speaking of the Food Network, it's nice to see the Naked Chef back with a new program. Jamie Oliver's given up his London flat for a house in the country. He's still a lot of fun to watch. (Food Network, Saturdays, 9:30 am)
Mariner 2007 Re-runs
Only major league baseball fans will truly understand the importance of this news: pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training this week! To prime the pump, so to speak, Fox Sports Net has been replaying highlight games from the Seattle Mariners' 2007 season. (Fox Sports, Mondays, 7:30 pm)