The No Reservations Episode You Forgot Michael Symon Appeared On

Local media tended to notice when Anthony Bourdain came to town to shoot an episode of "No Reservations," his Travel Channel series that ran from 2005 to 2012. So, when he turned up in Cleveland, a behind-the-scenes article appeared in Cleveland Magazine, complete with an illustration of Anthony Bourdain and Michael Symon tucking into a meal at Hot Sauce Williams, a soul food spot with a hearty local reputation. 

The biggest feature of the caricature is their grins, and watching the clip in question on YouTube, it's understandable why that became the artist's focus. In the midst of ordering almost everything on offer, the giggling friends get into a dispute about sharing a side of mac and cheese, and giddily anticipate their Southern-fried feast. 

The chuckles continue as they eat. Symon strips his barbecue ribs to the bone with efficiency, while Bourdain picks more gingerly at his haul, prompting  Symon to quip, "You're too pretty to eat barbecue." Bourdain playfully mocks Symon's more aggressive approach. "You're really gonna hate yourself," Bourdain says, hinting at Symon's impending food hangover. The whole sequence only lasts for less than two minutes. But watching it, you can tell that the two had a brilliant night, which isn't surprising considering their lengthy friendship. 

Symon considered Bourdain 'a dear friend'

It's clear from the "No Reservations" Cleveland episode that Anthony Bourdain and Michael Symon were actual friends, as opposed to just televised ones. Bourdain died in June 2018, and Symon later recalled in an interview with Mashed, "Anthony was a dear friend. I knew him for, gosh, well over 25 years. ... He's as good a human as there is to sit down and have a cocktail with." Noting his late friend's often unrestrained wit, Symon added, "He could talk s**t, but still make you feel good about the situation and bring people together."

Such an example occurred during the early days of "The Chew," an American talk show with cooking elements. Symon co-hosted the series from 2011 to 2018. Of his friend's casting, Bourdain, while noting his "respect" for Symon, told The Mercury News in 2011 that the then-rising wave of celebrity chefs left him "really shaken" and "feel[ing] like [he's] a million years old and very naive." In other words, Symon had sold out in Bourdain's view. 

But Symon, ever the willing sparring partner for Bourdain, responded to his comments during an episode of "The Chew" (via Eater), saying, "He doesn't do a lot of cooking on television, so I'm very happy he leaves that up to us." He also joked that Bourdain looked "spectacular" if a bit "swollen" in an image they flashed of his friend. 

We're tempted here to say "fight nice, boys," but then again, they always did.