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Anthony Bourdain's Favorite Episodes: The Best of No Reservations

Anthony Bourdain riffs on each of his favorite episodes from over the years.

Hong Kong

"Where we really started to hit our story telling stride--technically, stylistically. The 'Bamboo Noodle Guy' remains a classic scene I'm very proud of. The show is paced, and looks, just as I'd hoped -- or better -- through brilliant shooting and editing."


"I love this episode -- where we stepped inside the film 'American Splendor' with Michael Ruhlman, Marky Ramone, Michael Symon and the incredible Harvey Pekar and family and friends. Rarely has a show worked out exactly as planned but this is a rare example. Again, the shooting and post production on this show are remarkable -- particularly the fades from comic book into live action."


"Can you smell Emmy? I did -- about 10 minutes into shooting in the mountains of Laos with the incredible Todd Liebler and Zach Zamboni (who, indeed, took home a statue for cinematography for this ep). They have a lot to be happy about. They really captured the magic and mist of the location. I don't want to brag too much (okay, I do), but the camera work on this episode is one of the most searing examples of why this show looks so much better than everybody else's -- because Our Guys are just so damn good and work so damn hard to be good."


"I think this show has some of the best, most straight- up food porn we've ever shot. It's shot in 2 of my very favorite food destinations, Saint Sebastian and Barcelona, and with some of my very favorite people, Albert Adria, Juan Mari and Elena Arzak, and highlights some truly extraordinary, once-in-a lifetime meals on one hand, and some beautifully everyday ones on the other (encapsulating what we do). The final meal at Arzak? The love at the table is real. I was very, very happy to be there."


"One of the most gorgeous-looking shows we ever shot -- another masterwork of fine shooting and masterful editing. We sat around before going to Venice, talking about the films 'Don't Look Now' and 'Comfort of Strangers' and then we went out and made this beautiful episode. It's worth noting as well that Venice is a city where it is possible and even likely to find bad food. But every place we ate on camera? Amazing. The Travel Guide for this episode is uncommonly useful."

Food Porn and Food Porn 2

"I'm combining these episodes because they constitute a body of work -- a filthy, totally prurient interest kind of work -- that I'm really proud of. This was -- whatever you think of it -- pretty groundbreaking stuff for food-and travel-related television. We pushed some serious boundaries -- and let's face it: that food looks really, really good. Ron Jeremy on Travel Channel? Awesome!"


"I love this episode because we risked so much to do it. I had serious doubts about putting my wife, my child, my new Italian and Sardinian families, on television. I was very worried that fans would hate it and be cruel about it -- and fearful as well that I might not do justice to the locations and to the generosity of the subjects. I needn't have worried. The camera work is awesome, the food looks just as delicious as it is, and my father-in-law's family fanned out across Sardinia arranging scenes for us -- all of which worked out brilliantly. There were a lot of surprises on this show. All of them happy."


"This is an episode that looked perfect from the first rough cut. Just exactly what I'd hoped for -- only better."


"I'm really proud of this episode because I believe it to be the most awesome "stand and stir" instructional hour in maybe ... the history of television. Food nerds bemoan the demise of this kind of hour of straight up "how-to" and here we have Thomas Keller, Dave Pasternack, Jacques Pepin, Laurent Tourandel and Scott Conant all teaching very basic techniques and dishes in what I believe to be a definitive and approachable way."


"It's the most outrageous and creative and risky (and beautiful) episode to date."

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