Okay, so I could write about the kick-ass Indian curry I invented for dinner Friday night, but before I get to that, I have been challenged by Ricki to write a post about the sexiest food guy on TV. I believe this request stems from my naked lust for Anthony Bourdain, so I can’t pretend to be completely surprised by the notion that I have strong opinions about Men with Knives. If you find this offensive, trivial or having a whiff of “E!” about it, you may register complaints on Ricki’s blog. I am just an innocent observer of foodie TV culture, giving the people (okay, the person) what she wants.
It is important to note, here, that this is NOT about objective physical attractiveness. There are many men in the world (Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner, for example) who are extraordinarily sex-appeal-y to some women, but do nothing for me. There are others (Bill Murray and Alan Rickman, for example) who do not appeal to everyone, but who I find particularly tasty. This is not about the chiseled jaw and the washboard abs; its about my personal, objective responses and what I hear from other women about Men who Cook on TV.
Off the top of my head, there are a number of men who may readily be ruled out of contention for a variety of reasons. Emeril, because he just does nothing for me, although I confess to a tiny twinge when he says “yeah, babe” to his garlic or salmon fillet. Bobby Flay is too sure of himself, and seems vaguely contemptuous and hard to please. Robert Irvine has those giant, ham-like arms and yells a lot, (although I find him very charming and endearing),
Duff from “Ace of Cakes” is pretty cute, but reminds me too much of the frat boys I see all over town with calculated little beards and baseball caps screwed on backwards to hold their brains in.
Now for my contenders, in no particular order: Anthony Bourdain,
Iron Chef Michael Symon,
and Tyler Florence.
These men fall into three groups, in my mind: Nice Guys, Edgy Guys and Nice Guys with Edge. Chiarello and Florence are Nice Guys, Batali, Symon and Brown are Nice Guys with Edge, and Bourdain and Ramsay, well, you already guessed that one. I think that, for example, I could ask Michael C. or Tyler to whip up hors d’oeuvres for a group of obnoxious friends and relatives and that either would cook, serve and chat charmingly without once calling someone a jackass. I envision Mario, Michael S., or Alton presenting a civil front to the guests while hurling invectives in the kitchen. It is hard to imagine Anthony or Gordon suppressing their true feelings at the table, in the parlor or in the kitchen given the slightest provocation.
Now for the tough part: the actual, irrelevant, decision as to which of these men (all of whom are actually married with children, as am I) is most appealing to me. I can rule out the Nice Guys right off the bat, despite the fact that I find both of them to be fabulous examples of Tough and Tender in action. They are both prettier than I am, which would be both threatening and distracting. There are just practical limits on what you can cover up with a sheet. Therefore, I have to relegate them to the category of runners-up.
As for the rest of the guys, the main issue is hair. I like hair, which rules out Symon despite his toughness, sense of humor, great laugh and the vision to create destination restaurants in Cleveland (!). I also don’t like spiky hair, which rules out Alton and Gordon. Also, Alton seems so cerebral and caustic at times, that it is difficult to reconcile with, shall we say, the realm of the sensual, and Gordon mocks people because of their weight, which ticks me off. I’ll say Alton is second runner up.
Mario has hair, and seems like an absolutely fabulous combination of smart, funny, talented in the kitchen and creative. Unfortunately, I once heard him mispronounce a word on NPR. (If you knew me, you would understand). For this reason, he is only the first runner up in my fantasy Chef Hunk league.
The winner? Was there ever any doubt? I would go anywhere with Anthony, eat bone soup or brain sandwiches with him, listen to the Ramones with him, and polish his leather jacket.
You can make me feel less like an idiot by telling me your opinion on this burning issue; the mere fact of knowing that someone else thinks about this might be a relief.