What Made Traveling With Anthony Bourdain So Hard For A Cook's Tour

By the time fans started watching "No Reservations" — and most definitely "Parts Unknown" — Anthony Bourdain had mastered being onscreen. However, Bourdain encountered a huge learning curve that he quickly moved through during his first television series, "A Cook's Tour," which was something of a disaster at its first destination.

Producers Lydia Tenaglia and Chris Collins were the first to offer and get Bourdain to film a television series. The three planned to film for six weeks with their first stop being Japan, according to the couple in director Morgan Neville's new documentary, "Roadrunner." Once the trio arrived in Japan, Tenaglia remembered that "no one knew what they were doing." To top it off, Collins said, "it was like three idiots trying to figure each other out." That was all because, apart from the newlywed Tenaglia and Collins, the three of them had only spent one day together prior to setting out for a month-and-a-half. Their only introduction to Bourdain had been while filming a demo at Les Halles. But why did this hinder their ability to film?

Here's what made filming so difficult

When they set off for Japan, Chris Collins recalled that Anthony Bourdain was "very unsure of what was about to happen." In "Roadrunner," Collins went on to explain that they did not realize just how shy Bourdain actually was until they left. Apparently Bourdain would not easily make eye contact or even interact with the producers because those were not natural things for him.

Lydia Tenaglia simply said that, once they got to Japan, "Tony immediately became uncomfortable and awkward." In "Roadrunner," fans learned that, in such a new and unfamiliar place, paired with the country's more formal culture and practices, Bourdain kind of shut down. The formality "factored into him being quiet, which was like the worst possible thing," Tenaglia said. So filming "A Cook's Tour" essentially became incredibly difficult because of Bourdain's lack of communication with his hosts and guests, as well as with the producers themselves. "Life on the road with Tony Bourdain isn't all it's cracked up to be. The man can be a royal pain in the ass sometimes," Tenaglia said at the time when they were filming in Japan.

Fortunately, Bourdain loosened up significantly when they reached their next destination, Vietnam. He began to enjoy himself more and even had a friend join him. Ultimately, Bourdain finally eased into filming.