Anthony Bourdain is a seasoned traveler who’s hit up all corners of the globe many times over. More often than not, he has time to kill in some of the world’s biggest airport hubs. Instead of sitting at the airport hotel, he sets out to explore each city in the short amount of time he has there.
In Bourdain’s new series, The Layover, Anthony Bourdain is back and he only has 24-48 hours to unleash an unpredictable story about a place, a people and their food. Tony will travel through the US, Asia and Europe, and reveal insider tips that only the most seasoned traveler would know.
Wired’s Mark McClusky sat down with Anthony to talk with about his new show.
Here’s an excerpt:
Wired.com: What’s the idea behind the new series?
Anthony Bourdain: So much of No Reservations is about me having a self-indulgent good time. A lot of the scenes are things that you just can’t do. So we were thinking, “Can we take the really shopworn informational format that everyone has done, and make it interesting and fun?” This show isn’t that far removed from [Rachael Ray’s travel series $40 a Day]. We’re always looking to challenge ourself. How do we take the thing we never wanted to do, and do it our way?
Over the past seven years, we’ve discovered that people are actually planning their vacations around my show. So, this is a show that will actually be useful. Which is something we never considered doing on No Reservations.
Wired.com: How do you keep the storytelling fresh after doing so many shows like this?
Bourdain: Well, it’s a suffocating concept, the food-and-travel show. Every week, I show up somewhere, shove a bunch of food and liquor in my face, and then sum up at the end and go home. So, to find new ways to tell that story, it can be daunting and depressing, or it can be fun. We spend a lot of time to think of ways to do things differently. Can we shoot it backwards? Or in super 8? Or other ways? We aren’t afraid of doing difficult things.
Wired.com: Does that tie into food? Because a lot of chefs you have respect for, they do things the hard way, too. What’s the allure of that?‘When you go to a place and make food that you’re not proud of for people you don’t like, that’s hell for me.’
Bourdain: I watch people do things that are deliberately lazy and bad television. I can’t imagine being able to wake up in the morning doing that kind of job. I’ve done that in restaurants, and it’s soul-destroying. When you go to a place and make food that you’re not proud of for people you don’t like, that’s hell for me. In food and in making this show, it’s respect for people who came before. You honor the people who taught you, who came before. We use films as a template — that’s who we want to rip off. People who all of us film nerds love. We filmed in China, primarily because I’d been watching a lot of Wong Kar-wai films.
Who have we ripped off? Oliver Stone, Robert Rodriguez, Fellini, Antonioni, we’ve done homages that maybe 0.1 percent of 0.1 percent of our audience got. We like movies.
Check out more of the interview on Wired.
The Layover premieres Monday, November 21, at 9|8c on the Travel Channel.