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Kitchen Confidential aired from September until December 2005 on Fox.
Success had come early for chef Jack Bourdain ( Bradley Cooper). He had expanded onto the New York restaurant scene as a youthful culinary genius and let it all get away from him. Too much wine, women, and drugs had cost him his job, his reputation and almost his life, but he was determined to get them back. Now he had his chance. Pino Lugeria (Frank Langella) had offered him the head chef position at trendy Nolita, the top New York restaurant he owned.
The noisy, good-looking staff Jack assembled included a number of people he had worked with before. The guys were so muscular they looked like an Army Special Ops team invading the kitchen. Steven ( Owain Yeoman) was an Australian sous-chef who occasionally moonlighted as a master thief; Seth ( Nicholas Brendon), a brilliant, womanizing pastry chef; and Teddy ( John Cho), a genius with seafood. Others on the Nolita staff were Jim ( John Francis Daley), a nervous eager-to-please rookie; Cameron and Donna ( Sam Pancake, Tessie Santiago) from the wait staff; Tanya ( Jaime King), the sexy dumb blond hostess; Ramon ( Frank Alvarez), the dishwasher; and Mimi ( Bonnie Somerville), Pino's beautiful daughter, who was waiting for Jack to fall flat on his face. Audrey ( Lindsay Price) was one of Jack's former girlfriends.
Three episodes of Kitchen Confidential aired prior to Fox's coverage of postseason baseball, but when it returned in December it was canceled after a single telecast. Adapted from Chef Anthony Bourdain's bestselling autobiography Kitchen Confidential.
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 2, 2005
''Kitchen Confidential'' is Fall '05's wild sitcom. Take one raunchy memoir, combine with a tip of a severed finger, and season with an ''Alias'' alum
By Clarissa Cruz
John Larroquette wants to kill himself. With a cheese plate. Guest-starring as Chef Gerard on Fox's Kitchen Confidential, his character who's suffered multiple coronary maladies has asked his former protege Jack Bourdain (Bradley Cooper), now a chef at a trendy restaurant called Nolita, to prepare a meal that's so sinfully rich he could die. Literally.
''It was exquisite,'' Larroquette says to head waitress Mimi (Bonnie Somerville) on his sumptuous repast. ''Tell Jack he outdid himself.'' He turns to leave, then pauses, a grimace crossing his face. Peering at him from behind Nolita's kitchen door, Jack and his fellow cooks Steven (Owain Yeoman) and Seth (Nicholas Brendon), who have a bet as to when Chef Gerard will croak, watch attentively as the older man suddenly clutches his chest.
False alarm. Gerard pops an antacid and is fine for now.
It's a fitting scene for this new Fox sitcom, which the network has stuffed with a host of decadent ingredients: a best-selling memoir that features sex in a walk-in pantry, megaproducer Darren Star (Melrose Place, Sex and the City), a dream cast of cult-TV alums (Alias' Cooper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Brendon, to name a few), and a sparkling, sprawling set loosely modeled after the posh Los Angeles restaurant Meson G, where the pilot was shot that would make Martha Stewart green with appliance envy. (Not avocado green either.)
Based on the best-selling 2000 memoir of the same name by New York City chef Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential plays on the idea that chefs are this generation's rock stars with the egos, torrid romances, and chemical demons to match. ''Our appetites seldom end with food,'' says Bourdain, who chronicled his years of shady associations and substance abuse in Confidential (he's now drug-free) and is a consultant on the show. ''You can't cook if you don't enjoy other aspects of...well, we're in the pleasure business. I think it's our job to understand our subject'' he lets out a chuckle ''as best as possible.''
Confidential the show picks up with a newly sober Jack (exec producer-writer Dave Hemingson changed the character's first name so he could more easily fictionalize Bourdain's experiences) trying to resist the temptations that are thrown at him every night as the new head chef of a trendy New York City eatery. ''I'm very similar to this guy,'' says Cooper, who worked in several restaurants through high school. Really? ''Without getting too into it,'' he demurs.
Sexy fodder for a TV show, though the journey from book to screen was as bumpy as a Kumamoto oyster. Bourdain sold the rights to the book in 2000 to New Line, who envisioned it as a David Fincher-directed vehicle for Brad Pitt. (''The translation for me is that it meant 'We're paying for lunch and you'll be lucky if it's not a Hasselhoff comeback vehicle,''' cracks Bourdain.) The film adaptation fell through and the project languished for a couple of years until New Line approached Star to help develop the TV show ideally on HBO, where there'd be more freedom to explore Bourdain's seedy side. But HBO wanted Star to commit to writing the series and staying with it throughout its run, which he wasn't eager to do. So they shopped the project to other networks before Fox and Hemingson (American Dad, Just Shoot Me) signed on for the pilot.
Casting was much more serendipitous. Cooper ended up with a scene-stealing turn in Wedding Crashers, one of the summer's biggest hits, which upped his profile just in time for the debut of Confidential. The actor who played Will Tippin on Alias for two seasons was initially hesitant to return to TV. ''Honestly, I didn't want to do a pilot this year,'' says Cooper, who spent a good portion of last season on The WB's beloved Jack & Bobby. ''But then I read the script and I loved the character. It's a much more nourishing experience for an actor than flipping pancakes for Sydney when she walks in the house,'' he says of his Alias time. Brendon, who hadn't settled on a series since his seven seasons on Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended in 2003, chose Confidential for his return to TV because it had ''the best script I've ever read in any hiatus.'' Rounding out the cast are John Francis Daley (Freaks and Geeks), Somerville (Friends and NYPD Blue), Yeoman (Troy), and former model Jaime King (Pearl Harbor).
The pilot, shot single-camera-style la Arrested Development Confidential's lead-in alludes to some behavior that would compromise the cleanliness of a kitchen workspace: drug use, oral sex, and accidental dismemberment. Star says he thinks that even under the watchful eye of the network's standards and practices department, the show will be able to stay true to the book's raunchier moments. ''I don't feel like anything's missing,'' he says. ''I don't think the show would have been so terribly different on HBO as it is on Fox.... The show is about the characters, not necessarily just about saying 'You f---ing c---sucker.' I've said, 'You f---ing c---sucker.' So I don't mind going for the broader audience.''' Adds Hemingson: ''We're going to push the envelope, but we're going to do some stuff off screen. I think it's more tantalizing, hinting around it.'' What producers promise not to keep off screen are the cooking scenes. They sent Cooper, Brendon (the neurotic pastry chef), Daley (the newbie line cook), and Yeoman (who plays Bourdain's cocky British sous-chef Steven) to the Fox commissary so that the studio chefs could teach the actors how to look like they actually know what they're doing behind a stove.
Flashy displays with a grill pan aside, the writers say Kitchen won't be Emeril (his Food Network series or his short-lived NBC 2001 sitcom). There will be some sexual tension between Jack and Mimi (King's character, Tanya, is an object of universal desire) and an explanation for why Mimi, a college graduate, is waiting tables at Daddy's restaurant. But Nolita is just the backdrop for what Star hopes will be a more character-driven show. ''Much in the way you can look at Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City as being on a journey, Jack has a journey also,'' says Star. ''He's a single guy in New York with a high-pressure job and still wants a personal life.'' To that end, the show has re-created Bourdain's beloved subterranean midtown after-hours hangout, Siberia (called the Snake Pit on the show), complete with dusty light fixtures and chipped floors.
In the meantime, the real-life Bourdain, who admits to initially ''freaking out'' when he watched the pilot, thinks the show has done an admirable job of staying true to the spirit of his book. And he looks forward to his consulting duties should Confidential become a hit. ''I'm somebody they can call at two in the morning if they wanted to know whether Jack would be having sex on a bag of potatoes or a sack of flour.''
''Flour is better.''
A Review from Variety
(Series -- Fox, Mon. Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m.)
By PHIL GALLO
Filmed in Los Angeles by Monkey Proof Prods., Darren Star Prods. and New Line Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Executive producers, Darren Star, David Hemingson, Jim Rosenthal, David Knoller; producer, Jeff Morton; director, Star; writer, Hemingson.
Jack Bourdain - Bradley Cooper
Seth - Nicholas Berendon
Jim - John Francis Daley
Tanya - Jaime King
Mimi - Bonnie Somerville
Steven - Owain Yeoman
One of the sharpest-looking comedy pilots in recent years, "Kitchen Confidential" is not only an interesting assembly of sauces and vegetables, it's got comedic meat and potatoes on the menu, too. Darren Star has whipped up a crew of intriguing characters and in just 22 minutes, the cast makes them not only real but familiar.
"Kitchen Confidential" takes its title from the memoir/eatery tell-all penned by Gotham chef Anthony Bourdain, who has since become more of a traveling TV personality than the guy inspecting the meat at Les Halles on Park Avenue.
"Kitchen" doesn't so much resemble Star's previous shows -- "Sex and the City," "Beverly Hills, 90210" -- as it does play to his strength, i.e., characters. He has a star in Bradley Cooper who is eminently watchable and as his life intersects with others, those supporting characters leave a residue that will make viewers want them revisited.
Star has swapped the name of Jack for Anthony for his head chef and made him, initially, less caustic and even lovable. Both Bourdains are talented cooks with a big blank spot on their resumes when the booze, drugs and promiscuity took over their lives.
Cooper brings the spirit of a grateful grouch to Bourdain as he escapes the confines of a family Italian joint run by his girlfriend (Andrea Parker) to take over the reopening of a trendy spot titled Nolita. After a quick meeting with dignified Nolita owner Pino (Frank Langella), Bourdain has 48 hours to assemble a staff, buy food, design a menu and serve the 300 guests with reservations on opening night.
He poaches kitchen help with promises of visas, dental insurance and a chance to start over; g.f. has no problem with him leaving her for a new opportunity. Upon his arrival, however, he immediately butts heads with manager Mimi (Bonnie Somerville), whose relationship with Pino is a bit of a mystery. Their conflict suggests one thing: future romantic sparks.
As they get the dining room up and running and Bourdain asserts his personality through the room, everything starts to click -- and despite some miscues in the service, Nolita even gets a fab opening review. Subplots with critic and a rookie chef expose personal histories and individual traits in a compact, linear fashion.
Ensemble is attractive but not to the point of distraction. Cooper's rival for the women is sous chef Steven (Owain Yeoman), whose prankster skills seem second to none. (Surname is Daedalus, but one assumes that's Star's nod to James Joyce and nothing more.)
Model-turned-actress Jaime King has fun with the ditzy hostess Tanya; Bonnie Somerville plays Mimi with appropriate rigidity and reserved anger.
"Kitchen Confidential" uses flashback to humorous effects and, like so many comedies, lets the lead speak to the camera. Fortunately, every time this over-used technique is employed, the observations are smart and worthy of a chuckle.
Tone of "Confidential," from Star's direction to the look of restaurants, patrons and Bourdain's home, are spot on. Show has a splendid energy that will allow it to hold onto "Arrested Development" viewers and bring in viewers not yet convinced about "AD's" genius. CBS, however, will provide a considerable battle with the impressive "How I Met Your Mother" in the hammock between "King of Queens" and "Two and a Half Men."
A Review from The New York Times
In a New Sitcom, a New York Chef Tries to Reheat His Career
By FRANK BRUNI
Published: September 19, 2005
The meek better move to the end of the line. Chefs will inherit the earth. They have their product lines, publishing contracts and reality shows. Their empires traverse oceans. Their antics pepper gossip columns.
And now comes an additional helping of affirmation: a comedy on Fox that means to be hip, strives to be irreverent and wagers that nothing says lovin' like a stud muffin at the oven.
The muffin man in "Kitchen Confidential" is played by Bradley Cooper, familiar from "Alias" and finally getting the kind of front-burner role he deserves. He brings the show an ample measure of heat and a dollop of hope, his presence almost engaging enough to redeem an overstuffed, overbaked first episode.
The episode surfs across a great deal of turf, establishing Mr. Cooper's character as a brash culinary comer who burned bright, then crashed and burned. He is now getting a second chance in a Manhattan restaurant, Nolita, with an eccentric owner, an assortment of personality-challenged kitchen hands and a blond hostess with the I.Q. of a leek. (When told that she puts "the ho' in 'hostess,' " she takes it as a compliment.)
Can he suppress his runaway ego and reckless libido and saute his way to success? Will he be haunted by past affairs with both the city's most prominent restaurant critic and her sister? Will he be sabotaged by the waitress who instinctively despises him? And, most crucially, how well will the seared sirloin special go over?
Published five years ago, the best-selling book "Kitchen Confidential," by the New York chef Anthony Bourdain, pulls back the curtain on restaurant life to reveal a drug-hazed, vanity-seasoned, deceitful theater of the absurd, in which professional cooking amounts to a series of compromises and near-calamities that miraculously yield something edible. Because it is labeled nonfiction, it carries a voyeuristic, can-you-believe-this charge.
The television series "Kitchen Confidential," about a New York chef named Jack Bourdain, pulls back the curtain on restaurant life to reveal catcalls, pratfalls and a collapsed souffle, the result of towel-snapping behavior among the staff. Because it is obviously fiction, it rises and falls more squarely on its merits as popular entertainment.
Which are debatable. On one hand, the debut episode mingles a spirit of fun with an arch and sometimes randy sensibility, reflecting its pedigree. The executive producers include Darren Star, who squired "Sex and the City" onto television.
The episode has zest and zippy lines. Exhorting the hostess to coddle the critic on the restaurant's reopening night, Jack says: "I want you to give her anything she asks for. A pedicure. Your kidney."
But the cast of characters is stocked with overly familiar types: not just the rake and the ditz but also the naif and the wisecracking gay man.
The rendition of madcap is too mad. On that eventful night, which of course caroms out of control, the splash of red on the kitchen floor isn't marinara sauce. Hemorrhaging, it turns out, works better as horror than as comedy.
And some of the dialogue curdles. Clutching a mound of meat, one of the cooks tells Jack, "If I was another veal, I'd be making love to this veal." Jack replies: "Tell me you didn't put the veal down your pants."
"Kitchen Confidential" trades on the rock-star glamour that currently envelops the ranks of professional cooks, a glamour that its source material helped establish. It strikes a much saucier note than "Emeril," a failed situation comedy with the chef Emeril Lagasse as a version of himself, did in 2001.
Some viewers may well find a savory treat here. Others may want to hold out for the inevitable next phase in epicurean adulation, a Broadway musical about a quixotic Spanish visionary and his beloved steel griddle.
Anybody for "Man of La Plancha?"
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
Kitchen Confidential )
THE OY OF COOKING Fox's culinary comedy is saucy, if a tad overdone
B- By Gillian Flynn
Bradley Cooper has always managed to do more with lesser characters. On Alias, his ferrety energy kept Will from being a complete lovesick, noodle-y bore; on Jack and Bobby, he made his ethically challenged TA worth rooting for. Even as a complete jerk in Wedding Crashers, he was confoundingly likable.
Cooper's fixer-upper skills will serve him well in Fox's Kitchen Confidential, since the series based on the memoir of star chef Anthony Bourdain (Cooper's character is rechristened Jack Bourdain) begins after the most dramatic stuff has already happened: At one point, Jack was the hottest chef in Manhattan, but he blew it on drugs and women. Now sober, he's condemned to ladling pasta in Little Italy. Out of the blue he gets a call from Pino (guest star Frank Langella), the owner of Nolita, a swank eatery in need of a head chef pronto. In swoops Jack, who begins assembling his crack team, including Seth Richman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Nicholas Brendon), ''pastry chef extraordinaire.'' We know he's a pastry chef extraordinaire because helpful superteam-style dossiers appear for each one of Jack's hires. See, Kitchen, whose exec producer is Darren Star, suffers from the same over-quirkiness that plagued Star's Sex and the City in its first year. In addition to the dossiers, Kitchen uses multiple flashbacks and Jack's first-person narration, spoken straight to the camera.
In the case of Sex, the bells and whistles were extraneous, and quickly scotched. In Kitchen, one worries that they are a necessary distraction strip them away and you're left with the gaggle of stereotypes who crowd Nolita. Former model Jaime King trots and pouts her way through a cliched dumb-blonde role as Nolita's hostess; Freaks and Geeks' John Francis Daley plays Jim, a naive trainee from Utah who yelps ''Jiminy!'' with such overdone chasteness he might as well be dribbling hayseeds down the front of his jacket. In this Cheers-lite sitcom, Daley is clearly meant to be the Woody to Cooper's Sam, just as Bonnie Somerville is the acerbic, smarter-than-thou, Diane-esque waitress who wants to see Jack fail she's the owner's daughter to boot. (Friends fans will be mesmerized by Somerville's cadence, which is eerily similar to Courteney Cox's a coincidence that's even more striking since Somerville spent a better part of a season on the NBC comedy.)
These characters may find their niche, and certainly Cooper can keep us entertained for a few more shows through sheer quick-witted charisma. But the pilot, which features a bitter food critic, a bevy of drunk bachelorette-party girls, and a chopped-off fingertip, still somehow manages to drag (the thoroughly unbelievable ending doesn't help). Only a few scenes capture the swagger and passion that made Bourdain's memoir so enthralling. When Jack lambastes-slash-charms his waitstaff while demanding they respect a massive fish that he's named Greg, Kitchenstarts humming. The series needs more of these moments. Too often, Jack is cowed, nervous, or stuck playing straight man to his more rakish staff. It's fine to have a bad-boy-gone-good...as long as he's not too good.
To watch some clips from Kitchen Confidential go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kitchen+confidential+episodes&aq=f
for a Website dedicated to Anthony Bourdain go to http://www.anthonybourdain.net/
For the Bonnie Somerville Photo Gallery go to http://www.fanpix.net/gallery/bonnie-somerville-pictures.htm
For an article about Kitchen Confidential go to https://tv.avclub.com/kitchen-confidential-is-a-recipe-for-ensemble-casting-a-1798275777
For a Review of Kitchen Confidential go to http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/kitchen-confidential-050926
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uXv0anYsMU
� Date: Tue October 4, 2005 � Filesize: 35.5kb � Dimensions: 347 x 400 �
Keywords: Kitchen Confidential: Cast Photo