Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 | 11:13 p.m.
Two of television’s hottest food celebrities proved that they really are “Good vs. Evil” opposites. If sharpened knives or sizzling, hot-oil saute pans were on hand, it would have been murder on the menu.
Gourmet gurus Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert had the crowd roaring all night long when they were onstage at the Pearl at the Palms on Saturday. This was tasty theater with talons, culinary comedy with cutting cruelty, showmanship with sizzling sarcasm.
You thought Don Rickles or Joan Rivers were the legends of laughter with their no-holds-barred, slice ’em and dice ’em razor wit? Think again because Anthony now holds the royal title of rude. (Forget the F-bombs in every sentence!) He left no topic -- or chef -- untouched to burn blackened on the grill.
Anthony, who shocked the food world with his back-of-house disclosures in the 2000 bestseller “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” which was turned into a hit TV series, has become a celebrity and now savages celebrity chefs.
He admitted that he’d cut up celebrity chefs and others on “Top Chef” who cooked better than him. “I never, ever worked in a great restaurant,” he admitted. During “Good vs. Evil: An Evening With Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert,” he went with a vengeance after UNLV graduate Guy Fieri, Paris Las Vegas and Caesars Palace star Gordon Ramsay and Paula Deen. He savaged his onstage partner for his landmark New York City restaurant where a meal can cost $350 per person.
The dining duo tried to trick each another in a blindfold taste test. Anthony served Eric a fried Twinkie, with which he was so disgusted, he let the cream ooze onstage. Eric tried to fool Anthony with a wine test, but failed. Anthony embarrassed Eric, prodding him to fess up on the tiny, fat baby bird he’d eaten under a hood in Le Comptoir in Paris so that other diners wouldn’t be queasy seeing the head of the bird hanging from his mouth. Enough said, but check out www.comptoirdelagastronomie.com.
I know the men from my New York City days via The Food Network and culinary charities, and we reminisced after the show. I told them the nicest thing they said all night was that Anthony cited Mario Batali’s Carnevino in the Palazzo as his favorite restaurant for its 3-year-old steak, and Eric cited Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand as his.
Both agreed that if they were to have their last meal, it would be at 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono’s Japanese restaurant in Tokyo and recommended that the entire audience watch the film about Jiro.
I told them the funniest line of the night came from Eric when he accused his rival of selling out by appearing on “The Taste” for the Walt Disney Co., which also owns Mickey Mouse. “How appropriate that the chef who doesn’t cook works for Mickey Mouse,” snarled Eric. “I’ve sold out just like all the others,” scoffed Anthony.
Eric nailed Anthony for smoking 2 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day for 38 years and thus couldn’t taste anything. Anthony said that he’d done every drug known to man, adding “Cocaine was probably not a career builder for me.”
Poor Martha Stewart was brought up for a slew of sexual double-entendres, and Anthony put Eric on the spot for barring tennis legend John McEnroe from his restaurant and throwing food at him, yet hosted Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of “Jersey Shore.” Anthony also got Eric to admit that he had once punched the husband of a woman who was rude to his waiter.
“He was bigger than me, so I hit him in the nose,” Eric said. “I am not proud of it.” But Anthony said it was the coolest thing Eric had ever done. Eric added that he’d been an abusive chef in his early days but believes angry chefs on television are bad role models for students wanting to get into the field.
There was a moment of stunned silence turned laughter when Anthony said there were chefs who snorted coke through penne pasta while working. The same happened when Anthony lashed at our casinos for signing great chefs and building beautiful restaurants on the casino floor where while dining one could watch people wheezing on oxygen tanks in the smoke around slot machines.
There was a private VIP meet-and-greet after their show at The View atop Palms’ Fantasy Tower. Chefs, including Palms princes Barry Dakake and Kerry Simon, served culinary creations from the hotels’ restaurants, including its newest Heraea with chef Doug Bell. However, the savage duo refrained from eating less their tongues tripped them up even more!
Take it all as showbiz theater rather than an expert analysis of today’s culinary scene, and they served up a satisfying dish of insulting ingredients. And like the world’s most expensive meal by the world’s best chef, you have to partake once.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Palms Casino Resort has come a long way since its "Real World" debut in 2002. The boutique property features three distinct towers and a diverse mix of bars and restaurants across a 95,000-square-foot casino.
Palms, which features more than 1,200 rooms and fantasy suites, is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation that will encompass an Ivory Tower room and suite redesign, new culinary additions, re-imagined gaming spaces and new, distinctive nightlife experiences.
In addition to newly designed rooms, during the first phase of the renovation, Palms will welcome Heraea, a high-energy American restaurant and lounge, and XISHI, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge.
Fantasy Suites include the Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with its own basketball court.
Other amenities include the all-new Cantor Gaming® race and sports book, one of the few sports books in Las Vegas to include a poker room; SOCIAL; Scarlet; Chocolat Bistro; tonic bar; ghostbar; Pearl Concert Theater; Moon Nightclub; N9NE Steakhouse; Nove Italiano; Simon Restaurant & Lounge; Palms Pool & Bungalows; Kim Vō Salon; Drift Spa & Hammam; Brenden Theatres, a 14-theatre cineplex and more than 60,000 square-feet of meeting space.