Discovering Italy on TV Bourdain vs Tucci

I am thoroughly enjoying the CNN series featuring Stanley Tucci, I also enjoyed Anthony Bourdain’s adventures in Italy.
Limited to just these 2 ,my questions are
1 Who is more authentic
2 Which one is more reachable for average travelers
3 If given a chance who would be a better guide
4 Who’s food would you rather eat.
I would prefer to hear from people who have traveled these paths so I can compare to my own experiences.

  1. I do not understand the meaning of “authentic” in this context

  2. Bourdain - the better communicator, IMO

  3. Tucci - this is his ancestry, not jut Bourdain’s tourism

  4. Bourdain. You might ask the same question about any chef you care to name, versus a home cook line me.

  1. I’d say Tucci. He speaks the language plus Bourdain is maybe too much a New Yorker.

  2. I’d say Bourdain, because he comes across a bit more accessible. Average people will likely have more sympathy for a no frills New Yorker versus a more cultured actor.

  3. I’d say Tucci, because he speaks the language and seems more in tune with local customs.

  4. Both!

For me, both are still very much Americans in Italy. While I am enjoying Tucci a lot, I prefer the series by Antonio Carluccio with Gennaro Contaldo (e.g. Two Greedy Italians). The latter are also ‘foreigners’ (Brits) but you can tell their link with Italy is more recent and thus stronger.

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Not familiar with your 2 favs , I too am an American and relate to both

Bourdain staged many of his experiences as my not being aware of how much is staged besides the obvious in Tucci’s is what question 1 means. Otherwise I agree with your reply.

Me too (but then Bourdain has never much featured here in the UK). They have a heck of back story with Contaldo working for Carluccio when he had a restaurant. And they then had a mega falling out and didnt speak for years. But you get a sense, in the series, that they are men very familiar with each other. I never got to Carluccio’s orignal restaurant but have been to branches of his chain (which he sold well before his death). But I did get to Contaldo’s place in London, Passione.

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Thanks for that. I havent seen too much of Bourdain on TV and hadnt appreciated the staging. I suppose it goes on with every food tourism programme so I’m unable to call it one side or the other.

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Yes, I truly believe both Bourdain and Tucci will appeal to a wider audience than Carluccio/Contaldo, because they are more accessible.

One is not necessarily better than the other, it’s just that for me, being able to speak a bit Italian and a seasoned traveler there, I tend to find more discoveries through Carluccio vs Tucci.

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Probably not least on this forum which has an overwhelmingly North American contributor base, for whom the former will be better known than the latter.

FWIW, I have Tucci’s book. I also have Contaldo’s book. And several of Carluccio’s.

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Are you aware if C&C are available on BBC America ?

I found a few on YouTube.


Thanks for expanding my knowledge :+1:

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Great car too, extra points :wine_glass:

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Our neighbor had the same car, but in a reddish orange - super cool!

I’m a big fan of rag top cars & have owned a few never an Italian one but I digress. I like this series and though it’s seems geared more towards a European audience. My original questions still remain.

Another great BBC travel show was Italy Unpacked. Several episodes on youtube.

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I enjoyed Italy Unpacked. I’ve eaten at Locatelli’s Michelin starred restaurant some years back (it was diappointing). I find Graham-Dixon to be something of a knobhead (but that’s probably my inferiority complex about “cultured people”).

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Although there is definitely staging in Bourdain’s pieces (I speak from personal NYC experience), I think that the actual content and value is not substantially affected & that his shows are well worth watching and learning from. For example, there was a spot in Queens, NYC that showed a bunch of people enjoying food outdoors. If one went to this place expecting an outdoor table, one would be surprised to find that the place had never set a table outside & that the inside place was small. However, the food was totally as described and the credibility of the piece intact, food-wise.
I havent been able to get into Tucci’s show because I get tired of “yum, this is great” descriptions of the tastes after watching elaborate preparation/cooking shots. The food deserves more.