Anthony Bourdain is not your typical TV chef. On his series "No Reservations," he takes viewers on adventures to exotic lands to explore culinary delights that few normal travelers will ever experience. But now Bourdain has a new show called "The Layover," and this time around he promises that the trips and destinations will be much more accessible to the average person.
How 'The Layover' Differs from 'No Reservations'
In a recent conference call interview, Bourdain explained the differences between his two shows. "Other than the fact that ['The Layover' is] a lot more fast-paced and a lot more scenes jammed in there and destinations, unlike 'No Reservations,' it is our hope that this will be actually useful."
Bourdain noted that his extreme travel series has been more about living out his own personal desires than giving viewers usual information for their next jaunt. "'No Reservations' is all about me, me, me and me having fun, and me satisfying my curiosity about the world and less about whether or not anybody of the audience will actually be able to replicate the experience. So with this show, well, we're actually trying to be useful."
Anthony Bourdain Unveils Accessible Hot Spots on 'The Layover'
But thanks to his "No Reservations" excursions, Bourdain and his team have amassed a treasure trove of facts that they wanted to share. "We've unmasked a lot of information about places around the world over the course of eight years. We've gotten pretty good about cutting right to the heart of the matter. If you're only in Rome for 24 hours… I happen to know a couple of places in Rome that serve this most Roman of dishes really, really well."
As a result, Bourdain hopes people will be able to use recommendations from "The Layover" the next time they take a trip. "This is exactly the sort of destination that we're sharing on the show. Particularly local, unique to that location places that we've come to know and like, or that in some way personally connected to or clued into over the course of many years making television. And all of them in locations where a traveler might [have] reasonably expected to find themselves hopefully at some point in their life."
Bourdain Picks Places That Fans Might Not Find in Tour Books
What Bourdain has to offer are the off-the-beaten path locales that people might not find in a Fodor's guide. "As with 'No Reservations,' it's not about the museum or the Eiffel Tower or the major sort of sightseeing spots. We kind of assume that you will know about those things already. They're more about the local joint, the places that make each individual place different than the other place. I like to use the example of New York. If you find yourself in New York for a brief period of time, what do we do better in New York than any place else? I always advise people to go for a pastrami sandwich. So we're kind of looking for the Hong Kong version or Singapore or Montreal or L.A. or San Francisco version of the pastrami sandwich -- the local dive bar as well as sort of uniquely weird and wonderful places around the world that you might not be able to stumble upon yourself. So it's very much a departure for us and that, again, you will be actually able to go to these places and do these things."
Bourdain Reveals Some Upcoming Destinations on 'The Layover'
He shared some details about a couple of the locations he'll visit in the first season of "The Layover." "I'm passionate about the Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel because it's just something I think a lot of people who visit New York haven't seen. And yet so many of us grew up [with] the 'Madeline' books… Particularly as a dad I feel this is something that particularly new parents would think is really cool, especially somebody who's read that book aloud to their kid. And then some sort of quirky restaurant favorites that are for the most part really affordable but a little bit off the beaten track and, again, unique to New York.
"We did...the burger bar at the Parker Meridien, which even New York -- I only found out about it a few years ago. That's a slightly off the road find… [and] a good dive bar right in the middle of the Upper East Side, which you might not know until you stumble on it. So we're trying to be helpful in our own dysfunctional way."
While he'll eventually branch out to some of the smaller cities in the U.S., he noted that that's not the current plan. "This year so far we're looking at major hubs where you are likely to be, where you are more likely to be expected to be laid over. So at least for now we're looking at New York, Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Rome, Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, that kind of place."
Tune in to "The Layover" when it premieres on Nov. 21 at 9 p.m. E.T. on Travel Channel.
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- Anthony Bourdain