New York, NY, Sept. 25–MICHAEL RUHLMAN and ANTHONY BOURDAIN are pleased to announce:

The Best and Worst of the Year in Food


Nominees and categories to be announced in the Fall of 2007 shall be selected by an Advisory Board consisting of noted experts and authorities including chef/restaurateur and television personality Mario Batali, Next Iron Chef contender Michael Symon, journalists Russ Parsons in Los Angeles, Ed Levine and Jennifer Leuzzi in New York, and Dara Moskowitz in the heartland, among other notable and questionable authorities.

Winners will be decided unilaterally and unscientifically by Messrs. Ruhlman and Bourdain at the prestigious Awards Ceremony, to be held at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in February 2008.  While the presence of winners cannot be guaranteed or even recommended, celebrity presenters shall be in attendance. The valuable, vintage clogs given to those winners who do show up shall surely take their places among the Greatest Honors of Recorded History!

Award Categories include:

THE "FERGUS" AWARD —  for best achievement in offal.

THE "ALTON" AWARD —  for the food personality who can actually cook.

THE "MARIO" AWARD —  for the chef/restaurateur who best multi-tasked, merchandised, multi-platformed and generally whored himself or herself yet still continued to make significant and valuable contributions to the restaurant landscape.

THE "ROCCO" AWARD —  for worst career move by a talented chef.

THE "CHEF’S CHEF" AWARD —  for the least heralded yet most deserving working chef.

And many more!  Stay tuned to this blog for updates!


125 Wonderful responses to “Press Release! The Golden Clog”

  • Kansas City rube

    South Beach + Ruhlman + Bourdain = Unabated debauchery & snark

    If the people of Miami are smart, they’ll be praying for an off-season hurricane to hit.

  • Claudia

    Oh, Jesus Christ, they have truly let you run amokb in SoBe, Bourdain – and now you’ve dragged the perfectly respectable Ruhlman in with you? (!) Maybe you should also consider your equivalent of a Razzberry – for the individual who is the biggest blight in the food industry, on TV, in the kitchen, in mass media . . . or is that too obvious a choice? And where will you be “presenting” these? Not at the Amstel Light Burger Bash on Friday, perhaps, but how about the Fettucine and Fiorentina fling with Batali and – good God, your favorite jail bait – Jamie Oliver? No, wait – at the Vongrichten tribute dinner! Perfect!

    OK, the Ruhlman board DEMANDS video of this. Don’t make us Google youtube.

  • t-scape

    I’m appalled at the lack of a Sandra Lee category. What, tablescaping isn’t good enough for you food snobs? What about her colorful, not-at-all-sketchy-looking cocktails? Unbelievable.

  • parkbench

    Oh my. The FN sponsors will not be pleased, methinks.

    And Michael, really….FIRST annual? I know you’re a fan of Strunk & White. Ahem. :)


  • Claudia

    So, this is what you’ve been up to, Tony? Spray painting one of Mario’s clogs while awaiting your own Emmy? The use of the word “vintage” has me a little worried about that clog’s . . . . uhhhh . . . provenance.

  • Brooklyn Bitch

    Kudos. I have always thought that Crocs would make a better trophies than shoes. And how fitting for the recipients…
    I wait on bated breath.

  • Christina

    The “winners” should have to drink champagne from the clog. And please we need a “Giada” award for best tarted- up cleavage in a supposedly serious chef.

  • Sheryl

    So this is what happens when Ruhlman and Bourdain are left alone with a bottle of Jack Daniels and too many cupcakes.

    I picture the two of them making up categories, rolling on the floor and laughing so hard they’re in tears.

  • Tags

    Great idea! And for each category the clog can have its own uniquely appropriate embellishment.

  • rockandroller

    What about the Masa and Ramsay awards, for being, respectively, the quietest/most respectful chef and the most reputed to be a bellower?

  • FoodPuta


    BAM Award – Goes to the Food-Personality with the biggest “SCHTICK”

    EVOO Award – Goes to the Food-Personality with the worst sounding voice.

    FPILF Award – Goes to the “Food-Personality I would Like to Fuck”

    FN Award – Goes to the Food-Personality that is completely void of any Food content.

    I’ll keep thinking of more…

  • Christina

    Don’t forget corporate sponsors for each award and category that they correlate to. EX, th eRocco award could be “brought to you by Fancy Feast”, or whatever cat food he is shilling these days.

  • Frances

    If this is not actually going to happen, I’ll be very disappointed. I’m already disappointed that there is no “Howie In Heels” award – for the chef who best kicked his own ass in a nationally televised competition.

  • kristin

    So this is what happens on a cold day in the middle of winter in Cleveland…. I can barely type I am laughing so hard.

  • David Barto

    If it isn’t televised this year, at least make sure the Podcast is available. This sounds like it will be tear wiping, side grabbing, ROTFL funny.

    It better be televised next year. I’m sure that FN can make room for it by dropping some challenge or other.

  • Natalie Sztern

    When all else fails do an awards show? are u for real? before I tune out of this blog forever, you forgot one more award: the giada de laurentis award for the best cleaveage..not cleaver, cleaveage.

  • Susan

    Yea, more awards. I do love the categories. Post the winners for us,( I know you will.)

    Will you be blogging about your new digs over at the Next Iron Chef? I want you to critique in Japanese with dubbing.

  • Kansas City rube

    I just can’t decide if I’m going to spend $500 on a round of golf with Ming Tsai, eating hamburger sammies and drinking Amstel Lights with Rachael Ray or on seven minutes of heaven with Sandra Lee and some store-bought frosting.

    Maybe there should be a Roker award for best weatherman/food personality and not the other way around.

  • Claudia

    Well, KC Rube, you could always cheap out and go play poker with Paula Deen or visit Emeril’s Sugar Shack, too – now, just WHICH event are they allowing you and Bourdain to run amok at, Michael? And should we bring bail money for you two and Batali just in case SoBe won’t pony up?

  • thespian

    hey! that’s not a real Mario croc! the back is open! He’s gone nuts about the closed ones.

    My god. Why do I know that?

    (and for those of you who are ALSO fan’s of Giada’s cleavage (I know I am), she really would still count for an Alton, here; she’s classically trained, and Bourdain himself has noted she has some chops)

    There needs to be more Sandra Lee and Rachael Ray mockery here, but the suggested ones so far are too specific; they could only be awarded to the mocked. (also, though I really haven’t found anything she’s made appealing enough to bother, or to watch, I suspect Ray would actually be happy to accept one; she is far more aware of her rep and wouldn’t see it as actually being an insult that she does what she does).

  • Jen

    This is funnier than watching Tony try to make meatballs carbonara palatable last night.

    Don’t leave out the dubious “Lifetime Achievement” Cloggies for those not quite deserving of a REAL Cloggie….best use of canned food…most pretentious critic…

  • Christina

    People having the dubious honor [or shame] of winning 2 cloggies, should that happen, could put them on and walk around on them, like stilts. Maybe do a Food Dance or something in them as the awards show cuts away to commercial.

  • Ian B

    Jesus guys, warn a guy when you post something like this. I laughed so hard I damn near passed Paella through my nose, including the clam shells.

    Here are a couple more

    The “TOP 5″ AWARD for the show that’s the biggest waste of a half hour of your life you will never get back.

    The “WHOLE HOG” AWARD for the Chef who best demonstrates the use of all the cuts on an animal and has same on menu.

    The “MARCEL” for the most vile and prickish behaviour demonstrated by a Chef wannabe with bad hair.

    I think you two are bad compnay together. I can’t wait to see how this plays out! Good luck

  • Kansas City rube

    OK, skawt’s post has made it painfully clear that we need to be able to imbed photos into our comments. Does anyone know the HTML code or whatever to make this a reality?

  • Natalie Sztern

    those are the size 2 toddler copies bought at Target or as sutherner’s say targé

  • parkbench

    KCRube, why do I sense a Smoking Gun mugshot on the horizon? Actually, it would be perfect…


  • lisa r

    God, I love you guys. Ruhlman, there MUST be video of these. MUST. Even if it’s just online, youtube this mother.

  • Doodad

    Obviously, there is time on both of your hands. It must the Puebla kitchen influence of Tony that led you two on the Texas shoeshine of the clogs, as the other poster noted.

    I vote the EVOO award, but as the most shameless self promotion and product endorsement in a media cook/chef, regardless of medium or media. I am honestly surprised Rachel does not hawk underwear on QVC. Or at least Aunt Sandie.

  • KatD

    Hmmm….re: Rocco. It’s a stale joke, gentlemen.

    True, Rocco embarrassed himself with “The Restaurant”, and it documented the decline of a talented chef. But…he reinvented himself as a writer.

    His well written cookbook )”Flavor”) and his -very- good Top Chef blog has totally redeemed him to me. And, after all, even Bourdain has made career mistakes I’m sure, and could be accused of fame-whoring and compromise in a variety of venues through the years. We still love him.

    I think Rocco made a good point on his blog. Tony was a good professional chef, too, once (maybe not as creative and talented as RDS, but definitely good). He quit the professional kitchen amd became a writer and tv personality (see Top Chef judging for examples).

    Why does Bourdain get our admiration for his choices and Rocco gets our disdain?

    Bottom line. You guys are writers. Rocco is a pretty good writer, too. He’s not a hack and he’s earned your respect. (Translation of the above: Imo, the name of your “award” should be changed).

  • Art

    You and Bourdain REALLY need to move past your irrational and juvenile hatred of Rocco DiSpirito. A hatred that seems based on something he did, what, 7 years ago?

    Grow up.

  • Suzanne Mandell

    I have yet to understand how y’all can think that Rocco is a “good” writer. His blog on Top Chef is atrocious.

  • Jennie/Tikka

    Oh pleeeeeeeeeeease – let the official music be Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, from the “Going Places” album – pleeeeeeeeeeeease! (This is the same music they used for the Dating Game.) I’M FLAT OUT BEGGIN’ YA!!

  • doodad

    Sorry KC rube, html appears to be off. I tried several ways. Only a link can be posted. Bandwidth cost and demand I am sure, and I don’t blame the guy.

  • john atkinson

    f rocco. sorry for his mistakes but no chef of merit is ever going to take him completely seriously again. it is like taking traci lords seriously as an actor, sorry i’ve seen your taint, you can’t do shakespeare. same goes for rocco. i’ve seen what a bitch he is in is own (funded) million dollar restaurant, he can’t be great chef again. at least bourdain never shot dope on film!

  • Big Red


    I may piss myself after this! I want tickets! I would even make a special trip. But isn’t this a little fishy? (No pun intended over the smell coming from Bourdain’s apartment. If we could get him to bathe for the event…)Every major group is having an award of some sort. However, some of them, like this one, are ideas that you think…”WHY THE HELL didn’t someone think of this before now?” Tell us more when you know it Ruhlman!

  • KatD

    John Atkinson, above, “…at least Bourdain never shot dope on film!”

    There’s a great “Do you still beat your wife?” defense if ever I saw one!

    Seriously, just imagine if we’d met Tony in some version of “Kitchen Confidential” as a reality show. Would people have contempt for TB as much as they now do for Rocco?

    Point being…seven years ago Rocco showed himself an asshat famewhore who totally corrupted his talent and we saw it all to well on film. Bourdain was luckier and shared the ugly side of his career in a book. Commonality? Both have moved on with their (new) careers.

    Shouldn’t we?????

  • lipsmackin

    Wait a second what happend to the coveted “Bucket of Shit” award? The one that honors such inovations as freezed dried snot, edible used tampons and the ever so popular trend these days Sous Vide of colostomy bag.

    Rocco is nothing more than a hemoraging douche bag these days, he had a pretty face but could truly never cook.The food at Union Pacific read well on a menu but fell on it’s fucking face on the table.

    If i can leave you with one thing it is this.
    We may live without poetry, music and books, but civlized men can not live with out cooks!

    Michael if you find anything edible in South Beach that doesn’t have a walk up window, please report back.

  • Jennie/Tikka

    And who, may I ask, is catering the prestigious after-party?? KFC? Applebee’s? The folks who invented the deep fried Twinkie, avocado, and deep fried Coke????

  • RI Swampyankee

    I hope Rocco isn’t thinking that he can re-invent himself as writer. He knows how to write a complete sentence and he can string together a cogent paragraph and that’s about it.

    To be a good writer you have to be a good thinker. To be a Ruhlman/Bourdain/delGrosso writer requires equal parts of mechanics, insight, research, and snark.

    The folks who post on this blog are, on the whole, better writers than Rocco is on his best days.

  • French Laundry at Home

    Ditto on the podcast request. This would rival sales of The Ricky Gervais Show on iTunes, I’m sure of it.

    How about including:

    THE “BOB AND SUSIE” AWARD – For achievements in forced, disingenuous crying by on-air competitors in reality programming.

    THE “COCKTAIL TIME” AWARD – For a scrapbooker who pilfers recipes from processed-food boxes, Pampered Chef brochures, and Women’s Day magazines from 1974, and whose drink ratio is 3 cups of alcohol for every 2 tablespoons of mixer, and who thinks that spraypainting a full-size chair in gold and staple-gunning fringe and silk flowers onto it makes a beautiful centerpiece.

    THE “HEARTY” AWARD – For a food personality(ies) who are sadly relegated to a Saturday 6 a.m. timeslot.

    THE “DELICIOSO SUGAR” AWARD – For achievements in beoming an FN token.

  • Vincent

    Lipsmakin – that was fucking hilarious.

    I am in the shit for an event this weekend – any tips, pointers or comments leave them at

  • amanda

    just some thoughts…

    mayhaps the rocco winner should be forced to do something not unlike a keg stand from the infamous twinkie pipe? that could be entertaining!

    and ruhlman… you two are hysterical. just when i thought it couldn’t get any better than hunter references in the vegas episode… i think you guys need your own sitcom!

    one last thing… how long would you need to stew a croc before it’d become edible? i’m just wondering- because those things have to be good for something!

  • Bwana


    THE FOAM AWARD-goes to the most pretentious chef (I prefer the “Marcel”, but it was used above…)

    THE ROAD TRIP AWARD-Goes to the chef/food personality who logs more time in other folks kitchens/establishments eating their food rather than preparing or showing how to prepare food.

    THE “THROWDOWN” Award-Goes to the silliest use of a talented chef in a television program.

  • Joe

    You totally need a HOWIE Award for best dish comprised of prosciutto, balsamic, parmigiano, lamb chops, risotto or any other goomba ingredient used way too much at tri-state area eateries.

  • Claudia

    Why the Cloggies really DO need a special specific-to-offending food personality award, or at least one for Media Ho':

    As for Rocco – OK, he, like Icarus, did fly to close to the sun and fell tragically to Earth in his ongoing quest as a fame whore. And, yes, he is a terrifically talented chef, as Bourdain has repeatedly stated (which is why I suspect Rocco’s fall still bothers him so much), and which anyone who ever ate at Union Pacific back then can likewise tell you. And, yes, maybe Bourdain should give Rocco a rest, since it’s been 4 years since the Restaurant debacle. Maybe. But, you know, while Rocco can be forgiven being a personal chef or even for the SUV commercial (a guy’s gotta eat), there WAS that Rocco di Spirito for Fancy Feast fiasco, and I know if I was a snarky food writer with a love of the satirical, that would be a SITTING target. How could Bourdain be expected to leaver THAT alone?

    Since Tony’s Tuscan NR episide was all about a man who lost his way and must travel through eleven circles of Hell to find love, redemption, etc. at the other end of the journey, we can only hope that Rocco comes through his own mass media/pop- and food-culture Inferno with the same happy result. Really. But, in the mean time –


  • Claudia

    Oh, and between collapsing in fits not only at the idea of the Cloggies but the actual post themselves (I’m happy to see Bourdain hasn’t been the only one over-sniffing spray paint fumes), it occurred to me that that Cloggies need a big production number, like the Oscars, maybe introduced (or led by?) Mario and his line cooks:

    Oh, OK. That takes rehearsal. Maybe you could just call up Fergus and have them send a team of “professional” Morris dancers over . . .

  • Candice

    I am almost offended by the fact that the award is a Croc spray painted gold. Do we really need to feed into such horrible footwear? Make it a real clog- wooden, from Holland…you know the deal. I’d rather it be a golden turd than a gold Croc. Although, I guess the term Turdies or Shitties just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  • Sara

    Nah, they can’t do the “Road Trip” award suggested above, because that would instantly have to go to Bourdain himself, and that would rob him of the ability to fully unleash the snark he cares to unleash to the winners of these dubious — though fabulous — awards. No one knows how to eat through an expense budget like Bourdain.

  • Claudia

    But Candace, chefs wear clogs – not sabots, not wood, and not suede, either – and Mario is the cloggiest of the clog brotherhood, so a Croc (of any color) WOULD be le dernier cri in chef footwear for this particular . . . . ummm . . . award. This whole stunt is just rife with inside jokes – I’m loving it. And in tribute to Mario:

  • Candice Anti-Croc

    Fat Italian men in tight orange Crocs sends shivers down my spine. It’s just wrong.

    And actually, I think the supply of Crocs has been sucked up by 4 year-olds with Mickey Mouse’s punched out of them (that’s child abuse). Sorry, I live in Orlando “culinary armpit” and I had to make one lame Disney reference.

  • Bwana


    Good point…but since Bourdain is not actually showing how to cook these days (simply traveling and consuming or judging), I imagine he would be exempted from consideration leaving him free to unleash the hounds…or at least the Santoku’s.

  • lipsmackin

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!!!!!!! Doesn’t any one cook any more? I have one last award for your reading pleasure how about”The Go Fuck This Golden Clog Award.” That is for the shoemaker that has nothing more than a title on a white coat. Marco Pierre White said it best “If the Chef is in front of the camera, than who is in the kitchen?”

    Peace love and chicken grease

  • Jerry

    I’ve got nothing really to add, but if there really is god, she’ll let this be broadcast on the Food Network… 😉

  • artnlit

    Re: Lester’s comments. GROOVY…times 3!
    Dear God, this is a great subject/discussion! I’ve been LMAO for days and just when I think I have something to add, someone from our fabulous group beats me to it. BRAVO! If only a show could be made out of this idea…hmmm!

  • Richard Black

    You guys are pretty funny. Hilarious actually. Holding the Food Network accountable for some of their assinine moves.

    I just about shat my pants laughing at the “Rocco” category for worst career move by a chef.

    I’ll bet Bourdain thought of that one.

  • Snoozer

    Hey, Tony — you might want to take a few minutes out from clogging to chat up your people at Les Halles in DC — the Post totally dissed their hamburger yesterday. Hamburger! This is your honor at stake, man! They even dissed the frites!

  • Curlz

    What, no Alcoholic Tablescape Award?!?
    Oh, the horror. Really. That’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed, guys!

  • Art

    Bourdain is an active closeted homo. Ruhlmann is probably still just living vicariously through him.

  • Snoozer

    Art, clearly, as stated in your profile, you are still “reserving” the right to write brilliantly. Let us know when you decide to do so.

  • Ellie

    AS a publicist, I was delighted to see the proper use of an exclamation point in the head: Press Release!

  • artnlit

    Curlz – I think that would fall under the “cocktail time” award noted above (but I kind of like your name better) or perhaps the SLOSH AWARD. I happened to catch an episode of our favorite lush while flipping through the channels last night and her special recipe drink blew my mind: Bourbon, gin, and orange liquior with ice in a glass pitcher – no mixer! Tablescapes and all, that deserves an award!

  • Sara

    Les Halles in DC got blasted for its burger because its burger is shite. Seriously. Not to knock Les Halles in general or anything (I’ve had some great meals there… none including the burger), but there are better burgers to be had in DC and I think the Post did a good job of finding some of them. Now, next time I’m able to spend $16 bucks on a burger, Central will be my first stop…

    Bwana — while you’re right, Bourdain doesn’t seem to cook anymore, there’s been an increased theme on No Res where he goes into the kitchen and tries to prove he can cook for the people showing him around. Tuscany was kind of a failure wasn’t it, Tony? (Although, I suppose you could blame Jamie Oliver for that one but SERIOUSLY, Bourdain, you’ve spent 15 years trashing the guy… why on EARTH would you use one of his recipies???) So, if that trend continues, he most definitly becomes eligible for the award.

    And if I’ve misspelled or been unable to make sense… I have the flu. Be nice to me.

  • Snoozer

    Oh, I knew it was humor as soon as he said “Jamie Oliver.” Or an attempt at humor. Not my favorite No Res episode, not enough Tuscany, too much other schlock. That whole “crazy director” thing was so not funny.

    And Sara, my husband and I are going to Komi for our anniversary…can’t wait after all we’ve heard. We like Central a lot — try just ordering a few appetizers, they are generous and excellent. Tony, Michael, when are you coming to DC?

  • Sara

    Snoozer — I’m totally on the boat with getting Tony and Michael to DC. They’d have a great time. Your anniversary is the best time I could imagine to go to Komi… it’s a beautiful, intimate restaurant (see if they’ll seat you by the window, you can gaze at the pedestrians on 17th); I highly, highly recommend going for the full tasting menu while you’re there. Price-wise it’s extravagent, but I can’t describe how delicious everything is. And while the wine pairing it comes with is rather daunting (you’d consume about a bottle each, by the end), they can do limited wine pairings (three wines, five wines, etc.) that will leave you a bit more sober while still adding tons to the meal.

    Monis, FTW. Seriously.