Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

Season 1 Episode 9

New Zealand (Down Under the Down Under)

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Nov 07, 2005 on Travel Channel

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Tony screws-up at a presentation, sets out to discover the "real" New Zealand, and redeems himself.

    After embarrassing himself at a seminar and book-signing, host Anthony Bourdain seeks out what makes New Zealanders tick, in an effort to win them over. Perhaps it would have been easier if he simply hadn't compared cooking to pornography.

    He is taken to a modern ranch, where he climbs difficult hills in search of wild boar. Nothing much to discover, here, unless you're a hunter. While helping the ranch's family prepare the meal, he jokingly "reads" from a cookbook, that all things American are cheezy, using a respected, famous-name, food producer to make the point (oh, well . . . that's one more advertiser down the drain!).

    Later, he goes to a brewery and bar (surprising, given his oft-repeated and obvious desire to imbibe as much as humanly possible), and a dune ride, where he almost gets himself killed, falling off the dune buggy. He then enjoys a seafood barbecue.

    We're half-way through the show, and I'm still wondering where the "real" New Zealand is. Finally, we're taken to a Maori tribe, where he's given a traditional welcoming ceremony, and, when asked to describe himself to the tribe, he shyly gives only the bare basics, seemingly against type, but, perhaps, only in deference to the assembled children. After an aborted attempt at surfboarding in the ocean, he is treated to a closed-pit barbecue.

    Later, he takes a helicopter to the mountains, where he walks through a claustrophobic ice tunnel. I'm still wondering why.

    The show ends with him giving a presentation by ridiculing another author's book, which includes ridiculing a famous actor and other personalities. But how was that connecting with New Zealanders in any way, shape, or form? Except for the unnecessary and dangerous activities, the entire show could have been reduced to less than fifteen minutes of eating and some uncomfortable moments with his audiences, which were the only things that saved this disappointing episode.