HBO’s Treme: Food Focus, Art Imitating Life…

Last Sunday in The New York Times, there was an interesting story about how the focus on food in this season’s HBO show “Treme.” One of the story lines this year follows a New Orleans chef, Janette Desautel, as she tries to make a go of it in New York (post Katrina, Desautel’s, her New Orleans restaurant ran into financial problems — thus causing the shift in locale).

David Simon, the show’s creator with an eye and ear for detail, enlisted Anthony (“Kitchen Confidential” author and television personality) Bourdain, to help write Janette’s story line.

“A tale of a journey in three kitchens,” as Mr. Bourdain put it.

There is a scene where Janette she throws a Sazerac in the face of Alan Richman, a food correspondent for GQ magazine who indeed once wrote a post-Katrina review slamming New Orleans restaurants and famously incited a real-life feud with Mr. Bourdain.

“At a story meeting I said, ‘It’s bad writing, and it’s a bad idea, and I’m ashamed to bring it up, because I have a bad scene with Richman, but are you aware of that piece he wrote?’ ” Mr. Bourdain said of the man he calls his archenemy. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that scene would happen. I was really surprised. And I have to say he did brilliant work. I could watch that clip all day long.”

Art imitates life with a cathartic twist. Works for me!


Part of the real life that Bourdain brought to the set was getting Tom Colicchio to play himself. Here’s a link to an Esquire interview. Check out the clip from his appearance that is embedded in the story.

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