If you haven’t watched Master Of None’s second season on Netflix, what are you waiting for? You are missing out on the chance to live vicariously through the adventures of Aziz Ansari’s Dev and his time in Italy. Food is a central part of the second season and with that comes an encounter with a celebrity chef that seems to define our current relationship with food and television. Bobby Cannavale plays Chef Jeff on Master Of None and sorta plays the quasi-mentor to Dev before showing his true colors.
As Cannavale tells Vulture in a recent interview, Ansari wrote the part for him and wanted to craft a guy that “everybody liked” but soon revealed a nasty side in the same way that guys like Roger Ailes or Bill O’Reilly had their dirty laundry aired for all to see. For some, Chef Jeff came off looking like a real celebrity chef and not in the most flattering way. According to Cannavale, this was not the case:
Do you think your character is based on Tony Bourdain at all?
I don’t think so. I think Aziz is smarter than to just go, “I’m going to base him on Anthony Bourdain.” He never mentioned Anthony Bourdain, he was just like, “Dude, I love these cooking shows.” He just wanted me to be really f*cking friendly, and really into his job, and really excited about everything. He’s just f*cking inappropriate and it just takes Dev a second to figure that sh*t out. I think it happened to Aziz. He was relaying some kind of story loosely based on a guy that he met. He thought he became friends with him and then was like, “Oh, shit. This guy’s wrong.”
You know, Aziz loves to cook and he knows so much about restaurants. I really think one of the reasons my character’s a chef is so that we could go and eat at all these places. We shot at all these cool, hip-ass, four-table, three-table restaurants that nobody could get into.
So that’s a fine explanation and all, but it does kill the imagined scenario where the real Anthony Bourdain were to do something like this:
Who doesn’t love a good visual gag with a giant sandwich? The rest of the interview is worth a look and shows how the relationship between Cannavale and Ansari goes beyond working on the show. It’s got a friendly vibe that’s not too unlike Chef Jeff on the show. Just leave the nasty bits behind closed doors.