On Friday, the first annual Golden Clog Awards will be doled out at the 2008 South Beach Wine & Food Festival. This trophy show, the premie baby of Michael Ruhlman and Tony Bourdain's darkest places and booziest nights, are an alternate universe version of the Beard Awards, complete with real categories, nominees and, for each winner, a statuette for mantelpiece display. Since the emcees of the Golden Clogs here are two of the biggest names in food, their deliberately lo-fi laser light show spectacular may prove one of the hottest tickets on the beach.
On Monday, we caught up with Bourdain, who was kind enough to break down the categories and nominees for us. Read on for his thoughts on the field, plus some bonus ruminating on the ideal Bourdain awards show, the seating chart and the all-important after party.
Read Part I of our interview with Bourdain here.
EATER: So, LOOKING FOR LOVE. This is MJ Adams at the Corn Exchange in Rapid City SD vs. Andrew Meek at Sage in Windsor Heights, Iowa vs. Jim Kyndberg at the Bayport Cookery, Bayport MN vs. Stuart Tracey of the Pirogue Grill in Bismark, North Dakota. We don’t get out the heartland much. Can you handicap this one for us?
TB: Dara Moskowitz nominated this group, I think. I've never eaten any of their food. But I think it's a cool category. We might have to call her and ask her to name a winner. Unless Ruhlman has an opinion.
TB: Aka the log-rolling award. Actually? I sincerely believe that Pim "gets" chefs. (helps she goes out with one) but really like her blog. the other guy i dont know...and what I loved about Heat was watching Buford become corrupted by the life, becoming a half breed. you notice by end of book he's referring to chracters by the single word: "dickhead."
Seriously. Some of the categories deserve better treatment than we can give them in our cheap-ass, undemocratic first, crude effort. But if this thing floats at all, we might actually try to do better--and more legit--next year. You know--little things like actual voting. A venue. If not? It will hopefully quickly fade into distant, ugly memory.
EATER: If this thing does take off, describe your perfect vision for the awards show spectacular itself? Are there fireworks? A dance number?
TB: Held on a slow Monday night in February. Industry ONLY--and invited press, writers interested parties. Latino kitchen staff encouraged to attend (simultaneous translation avilable on headsets). To whatever degree sensible, actual voting by industry only peers in EACH category. As in: chefs and ONLY chefs would vote for chefs. Writers for writers. Open bar.
EATER: Who would be in charge of the seating chart? At the Oscars, Jack gets the best seat, no matter what. What happens if Mario, Boulud and Father Keller all want first row, just to the left of the center aisle?
TB: Exact reverse of status in kitchen. Dishwashers get the front row. And so on.
EATER: Which doesn’t bring us to the DOUCHEBAGS Again, we'll ask you to handicap here. How many bloody marys in will you have to be to give this one to Lape? Where’s Ruhlman leaning?
TB: I know Ruhlman to be a longtime fan of John "Gotti" Mariani. Me? I am transfixed by the wondrous bile-producing facilities of Ms. Schrambling. Lape? Too easy.
EATER: THE SWOLLEN LIVER AWARD. Our people in SF have this one going to Cosentino or Manrique, probably Cosentino. Does the fact that the food police are more aggressive on the West Coast count here?
TB: Manrique--after the video tape incident has GOT to be sentimental favorite. Cosentino the favorite--probably has to deal with the most shit on a daily basis. But Ariane? Our lone champion--and actually putting her money and time behind her words. Wihtout her? We are ALL doomed.
EATER: Next category, THE CRAZY BASTARD SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. The truth is more people should know about Link and Cochon. When was the last time you were there? Can you describe the meal for us?
TB: My experience with Donald Link was on such shows as mine. (See readily downloadable from iTunes NOLA episode of No Reservations). He tells us on camera the whole story of sneaking back into town to re-open Herbsaint--and OPEN Cochon . Amazing and articulate explanation of what's best about chefs--and about New Orleans. He cooked a backyard BBQ for us. And we shot in his restaurant. Amazing guy. Amazing story. Great food.
EATER: The SOCA. This one is interesting. Can you give us a hint about who’s in consideration?
The SOCA ? No clue. I look forward to an ongoing and heartfelt agrument with every chef we talk to in run-up to the event. It does NOT have to be a chef. Just a hero.
EATER: Alright, we're almost done here. So at the year one awards show. Any dress code? Black tie, we assume?
TB: Year one dress code? Since it shall hopefully be on a beach--no shoes allowed.
EATER: You’re nominated, of course, and stand a good chance of winning. Anyone you want to thank now, as a precaution against forgetting in your acceptance speech?
TB: Acceptance speech? I want to thank the New Yorker Magazine for "making me" over night. The Beth Israel Methadone Program...all the waiters who ever worked for me who I might have been nasty to...Bigfoot....my wife, baby and of course, my Mom. Travel Channel honcho Pat Younge for allowing me to do whatever the fuck I want--and for getting me out of Beirut....and Food Network's Brooke Johnson and her team for continuing to provide me fodder for jokes and ill-considered blogs. Though I might, on consideration, ask Sasheen Littlefeather to step in and accept on my behalf.
EATER: Final question. Where’s the after party?
TB: After party--if one materialized--would have to be at the Club Deuce. Miami's finest emporium of high style cocktails. Catering by San Loco Taqueria across the street.
This was fun. See you at the beach?