The Nine Best Guests on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations

TV Lists Anthony Bourdain
Share Tweet Submit Pin

Everyone’s favorite culinary badass Anthony Bourdain has been able to rope some pretty famous guest stars on his Travel Channel show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. His unabashed disdain for tourists, vegetarians and karaoke have won him fans, both civilians and famous folks alike, some of whom have been gracious enough to appear on his show. Last month, Bourdain shot his final show for the Travel Channel; he heads to CNN early next year. As the final season comes to a close, here are a few of our favorite No Reservation guest stars.

9. Alice Cooper

Episode: U.S. Southwest
Alice Cooper—sans makeup—chats with Tony about baby’s first Yankees game at Cooper’s restaurant, Alice Cooperstown in Phoenix, Ariz. This sports-averse journalist doesn’t quite get whether or not their conversation is riveting of its own accord, but a chef and a music legend gabbing about a totally unrelated topic certainly piques the interest.

8. David Johansen of the New York Dolls

Episode: New York Outer Boroughs
Bourdain grew up a punk-rock kid in the ‘70s, so it makes total sense that he had New York Dolls frontman David Johansen on his show to talk about Staten Island, where Johansen currently resides. Aging punk rockers always look the same as aging non-punk rockers, and we’re not sure whether to be surprised or not surprised at all.

7. Norah Jones

Episode: Holiday Special (2011)
Leave it to Bourdain and Grammy winner Norah Jones to make a song for the holiday special featuring a copious amount of flatulence and the Catalan language entitled “Caga Tió,” which translates to “pooping log.” They even were so kind as to put translations of the lyrics in the video. A real class act, that Bourdain. (Christopher Walken also appeared in this episode to help Bourdain cook a little somethin’, but a clip on Youtube was nowhere to be found. He’s included on this list in spirit.)

6. The Black Keys

Episode: Kansas City
The reigning kings of blues rock took time out of their busy tour schedule to visit a hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint in Kansas City, Mo., and chew the fat with Bourdain about bad Chinese food and the characters one meets while working in kitchens, a subject that the kitchen veteran knows very well.

5. Queens of the Stone Age

Episode: Holiday Special (2007)
The only thing better than Queens of the Stone Age appearing on No Reservations is the band appearing on the show in tacky Christmas sweaters, performing their own renditions of popular Christmas songs. How very conformist of them. Frontman Josh Homme also makes his own cameo in a later episode (U.S. Desert).

4. Bill Murray

Episode: Hudson Valley, N.Y.
Wes Anderson favorite and perennial good guy Bill Murray graces the show with his presence at X20 in Yonkers, N.Y., to talk about Samantha Brown’s treatment of her crew, as opposed to Bourdain’s. It’s not pretty. He makes the audience love him, as usual.

3. Sean Penn

Episode: Haiti
Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization has been helping get the people of Haiti on its feet since a disastrous earthquake hit the tiny nation in early 2010. Bourdain thought he’d travel down to see what the state of affairs was, and how Penn was helping out. He found good food, good people and a place that still needs a lot of help.

2. Das Racist

Episode: Holiday Special (2010)
No Reservations has never been more hood or had more street cred. Heems and Kool A.D. of rap-duo-of-the-moment Das Racist perform inside Bourdain’s fridge while he’s making a lovely holiday meal. It’s exactly as strange and delightful as it sounds.

1. Chuck Palahniuk

Episode: Pacific Northwest
What better union could there possibly be than the union of two sick, twisted minds like Bourdain’s and Palahniuk’s, author of such weirdo (yet so, so good) novels as Fight Club, Choke, Lullaby and Invisible Monsters? None. There is no more perfect union.

More from Anthony Bourdain