An adaptation of Anthony Bourdain's professional memoir and a behind-the-scenes look at restaurant kitchens, this Work Com looked at the goings-on in the kitchen of a fancy Manhattan restaurant. The cast of characters includes two literary references: Jack's Lancer is Stephen Daedalus, while his great rival, a woman chef, is Becky Sharp.
The television series debuted on September 19, 2005 on Fox. Bradley Cooper played the Anthony Bourdain-like lead character, Jack Bourdain. The show's first two episodes did not earn strong ratings, and its run was then interrupted by Fox's coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs. On November 11, 2005, Fox announced only 13 episodes would be produced. Four days after the fourth episode aired to dismal ratings on December 5, 2005, Fox cancelled the series outright. Considered Screwed by the Network. Can be found on DVD and on Hulu.
This TV show provides examples of:
- Brainless Beauty: Tanya isn't the brightest bulb.Jack: You put the ho in hostess.Tanya: Aww, thank you!
- Dogged Nice Guy: Seth to Tanya. He buys her lingerie. When they're not dating. Otherwise, he's nice.
- Escalating War: The plot of the episode "French Fight" is escalating sabotage with the French restaurant across the street.
- Even the Guys Want Him: The kitchen has a serious discussion about who among the chefs, if trapped on a desert island, they would have sex with. Jack and Stephen are very popular. (Seth spends the rest of the episode miffed that he didn't get any votes.)
- Fanservice: Donna's breasts, Mimi and Becky's Les Yay dispersing kiss.
- Flamboyant Gay: Downplayed for Cameron, as his flamboyancy isn't as professed as the trope normally requires.
- Give Geeks a Chance: Towards the end of the series, Jim and Tanya begin dating, much to Seth's chagrin.
- Heel–Face Turn: Becky, after seducing Jack and "accidentally" puncturing the box with the eels that he needs to win a prestigious award that her restaurant is also up for, has a change of heart and gives him her eels. It's almost sweet.
- Karma Houdini: Stephen does all kinds of shit that should get him fired in the real world, though the nonfiction source book shows that what Stephen does is tame compared to what the real Steven did. Yet on the show, as in real life, this trope is still in full force.
- Lethal Chef: Played with in the episode "Dinner Date With Death." Jack's Evil Mentor wants Jack's delicious food to kill him.
- The Mafia: It is heavily implied that Pino is a member of the Mafia, technically making Mimi a Mafia Princess.
- Odd Friendship: Donna and Cameron, two of the waiters.
- Porn Stash: Jim (heavily implied and later confirmed to be a Mormon) stated in Rabbit Test that he had a "magazine" until his mother found it and cried.
- Pun: Wordplay staple for the show.
- "Gruel and unusual punishment" in reference to the staff meals.
- Affogato give you something.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: No one can bring themselves to kill the bunnies because they're too cute.
- Scary Black Man: Rather, Scary Hispanic Man. Ramon the Dishwasher makes Jim his bitch for an episode. Fortunately, Seth comes to the rescue by buying Jim off him for $10.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Jack and Mimi constantly insist they aren't dating.
- Shout-Out Theme Naming: Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair), Stephen Daedalus (Ulysses).
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The fish chef brought in to replace Teddy almost became one. Fortunately, Stephen drugs him up with every substance imaginable and so gets him fired.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: After an escalating war of sabotage with the French restaurant across the street, Jim finally gets the rival chef convicted and deported for tax evasion.
- Vetinari Job Security: In the episode "Teddy Takes Off" Jack takes credit for Teddy's tuna dish and, as the title implies, Teddy quits. This leaves Jack to cook the Crusted Yellowfin Tuna. It doesn't go well.