Cafe Society

Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain skewer each other, vegetarians and Paula Deen in Boulder

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For his part, Ripert accosted Bourdain's tainted tastebuds, decrying his former nicotine habit, admitted that he once sucker-punched a guy in the nose at a Paris restaurant, and suggested that Bourdain was once a male gigolo, hauling out a poster-sized nude of Bourdain holding nothing more than a bone to hide his pecker, to prove his point. Bourdain retaliated by subjecting Ripert, the Frenchman, to a blind taste test, in which he was forced to eat Cheez Whiz and Cool Ranch-flavored Doritos.

Ripert, the revered chef-owner of New York's Le Bernardin, arguably the best French restaurant in the country, and Bourdain, who generated a cult following after writing Kitchen Confidential and is the former chef of Brasserie Les Halles, a French restaurant in New York that no one would suggest is the best French restaurant anywhere, took to the stage last night at Macky Auditorium, on the CU campus in Boulder, and for an hour and a half, the two chefs, Bourdain rocking cowboy boots and Ripert in blue Converse sneakers, savaged each other -- and other celebrity chefs -- in an epic banter of salty hilarity and wit.

It was a night of jokes at the expense of Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, Gordon Ramsay, Guy Fieri and Paula Deen; an endless swipe at vegetarians; countless admissions of bad behavior; and riches of embarrassing confessions that included Ripert copping to the fact that he'd eaten an ortolan -- a small French songbird that's shrouded in darkness and meets its demise in a drown of brandy -- under a hood so that his fellow diners wouldn't see the dead head of the bird dangling from his mouth.

The one-liners of both were brilliant, and the format -- almost like a prosecutor in a courtroom grilling the mass murderer -- couldn't have been better. Watching one squirm in his chair while the other circled it like a vulture resulted in diabolically entertaining interrogations. In case you missed it, here are the best lines of the night:

Bourdain on Ripert's success:
"What are you, some kind of fucking knight, or something?"

Ripert on Gordon Ramsay:

"Gordon Ramsay is abusive, racist, condescending and a disgrace to our industry. And Kitchen Nightmares is shit food."

Bourdain on Gordon Ramsay:

"He's a lowly puddle of whale shit."

Bourdain on Guy Fieri:

"He's a do you de-douche a doucheface?"

Bourdain to Ripert after Ripert admits that he's served dinner to "The Situation" and Snookie but refuses admittance to tennis pro John McEnroe, who made fun of his accent, among other infractions, on the Late Show With David Letterman:

"Spreading chlamydia is fine, but you won't allow John McEnroe to have dinner at Le Bernardin? No fish for you, John McEnroe!"

Bourdain on Ripert's thick locks:

"How do you keep your hair so perfect?"

Ripert on Bourdain's accusation that he "caged the ortolan in the dark for weeks like "Guantanamo-fucking-Bay." Bourdain wanted to make sure he had his facts straight, so he asked Ripert if his timeline was correct:

"Yes, I did that, and it was with YOU!"

Bourdain to Ripert after Ripert admitted he was guilty of slaughter:

Bird killer!

Ripert on verbally assaulting a female diner in Paris who was insulting her server:

"I called her an ugly fuck." He then punched the woman's husband in the nose.

Bourdain on Ripert's behavior:

"That's the coolest fucking thing you've ever done."

Ripert on Bourdain being AWOL from the line:

"I was going to call you a chef, but when was the last time you were in a kitchen?"

Ripert on Bourdain's cooking career:

"Did you ever work in a good restaurant?"

Bourdain on new restaurant discoveries:

"Fucking Yelpers go and ruin it."

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson