How Stanley Tucci Says He's Different From Anthony Bourdain

There are plenty of differences between Anthony Bourdain and Stanley Tucci. Bourdain, a tall drink of water with a full head of lettuce (read: a tall man with lots of hair) doesn't share many physical traits with the diminutive, follicularly challenged Tucci. Where Bourdain was brash and brazen, Tucci is more restrained, reserved. Bourdain had French-American heritage (via Bon Appétit) and took his licks in the culinary kitchens of New York. Tucci was raised in an Italian-American household and spent time living in Italy (via CNN). The world of theater and film would serve as his school of hard knocks (per Purchase College).

Still, one could argue that Tucci has, in a way, picked up the travelogue torch that Bourdain passed on with his untimely death in 2018 (per People). Tucci's six-episode docuseries, "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy," was a surprise hit for CNN last year (and for Tucci, who told People, "It became this thing that I don't think any of us really anticipated"). Even though the series was based on the kind of tried-and-true formula set out by Bourdain's "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," food + travel + charisma = ratings. The New Zealand outlet Stuff even ran a headline that declared, "CNN finally finds its new Anthony Bourdain." For his part, Tucci seems resolved to refuse the crown. "I would never try to take his place," he said of comparisons between him and Bourdain. "He made us all a lot happier."

There's room for (at least) two at the food-series table

When sources like The Guardian suggest that "There's already a sense that [Tucci] could be the next Bourdain," Stanley Tucci graciously — but firmly — rejects the notion. And not just on speculation, either. "I knew Tony a bit," Tucci told The Hollywood Reporter. "He was an incredible mind, a real raconteur, and a great explorer." And, lest you be tempted to point out that Tucci himself is all those things, he goes on: "The show that we are doing is distinctly different than his: I am not nearly as adventurous as Tony was, not nearly. Or as brave." And that different approach has succeeded so far, as "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy"  has been picked up for a second season

Luckily, as Tucci rightly points out, the world is wide enough for different kinds of personas to explore the cultures of the world through food. Condé Nast Traveller called Anthony Bourdain "the Godfather of the foodie-travel genre," a moniker proving true with every new food-travel series announced. But while fans of Bourdain's may once have wondered who could possibly take the place of such a unique host, Tucci reassures us that, ultimately, no one has to. "What he did," Tucci tells The Hollywood Reporter, "is open the doors to all of us who were interested in food, and travel, to explore in our own ways."