There's nothing like a juicy roast, and that's just what attendees will get at the start of Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert's "Good vs. Evil" tour. As two of the most respected voices on all topics culinary, Bourdain and Ripert developed this tour to not only poke fun at each other's differing views, but to highlight current trends of the industry such as sustainability and health.
"[The idea for the tour] all came about through a discussion I had with Tony one night," Ripert said. "He thought it would be really fun for us to interact on stage, keeping it informative and funny, and do this mostly through improvisation."
As the owner of the stellar Le Bernardin in New York, regular judge on the past seasons of Bravo's "Top Chef" and the star of his own cooking show, "Avec Eric," Ripert is no stranger to pleasing a crowd. But with a live audience and loose script, the challenges are unique.
"Before going on stage, you have the lights, all the noise, but I just go with it and the anxiety is just gone. It seems to go by so fast — instead of an hour or two, it feels like a few minutes," Ripert said. "But honestly, I just like being able to get up and share my knowledge and my stories. Tony has been a really great mentor through this whole experience; I've learned a lot from him."
While Ripert did not want to spoil the surprises for how he'll grill his friend, he noted that because Bourdain, "... is a man of contradiction — like, he'll say one thing and then do or say something totally different later," he'll have more than enough material to keep Bourdain sweating.
|An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert
DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids
Feb. 19, 7 p.m.
devosperformancehall.com, (616) 742-6500
Finally, the show concludes with an audience-lead question-and-answer round. Ripert encourages people to get into it.
"We've had some really challenging questions, where [Tony and I] just look at each other and say ‘O.K... You first,'" Ripert said. "But really, we just want people to come in with an open mind, be ready to laugh, don't be shy and don't get offended. This is a discussion with friends in good spirits (although we really don't enjoy the drunk ‘Hey Tony!' shouts). Just come and chill out."
Boudain himself might need to partake in a well-known love to help "chill-out" before the show.
"Tony loves beer. He drinks so much of it — maybe even a little too much," Ripert said with a laugh. "He sometimes asks to have a sample of local brews to try before the show."
Luckily, Grand Rapids is a beer-drinker's paradise with many strong brews to drive away jitters.
"I'm sure he'll be in heaven there!"
REVUE is giving away a pair of tickets to An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert. Enter by 5 p.m. on Feb. 13 at revuewm.com/culturepass to win!