By now you've probably heard that Anthony Bourdain is back on our screens with the eighth season of CNN's Parts Unknown, bringing President Obama out to Vietnam for some bun cha. But before the host was cracking beers and slurping noodles with the leader of the free world, one of Tony's oldest and dearest friends was Eric Ripert, the French-born chef behind Manhattan's Le Bernardin. And, like any true friend, Bourdain likes to mercilessly tease and torment Ripert on national television.
On Monday night CNN teased a clip from an upcoming installment of Parts Unknown, in which the pair travel to Sichuan, China. Though over the years both Bourdain and Ripert have become two of the most recognizable faces in the food world, Tony decides it would be a good idea to enroll in a local culinary school so that his friend can learn a thing or two.
"I decided to go back to school to make the ultimate sacrifice for my friend," Bourdain says selflessly, "to return to that place of childhood torment, so that my friend might learn, might just maybe better himself, and hopefully bring some of that knowledge to the hungry and the needy people at Le Bernardin."
Ripert's face when a well-intentioned student tells him he's cutting his meat to thick really says it all.
"The wok is intensely hot; things cook quickly in there," Bourdain says. "A few seconds too slow, and things swift turn from the sublime into the ridiculous."
Well, luckily Bourdain and Ripert have a classroom full of 20-year-olds to keep them from screwing up too badly.