Louisa Chu's accidental stardom

January 17, 2011

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(Photo courtesy of Louisa Chu)
Louisa Chu was accidentally thrust into the limelight on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.
(Flickr/Cecily Upton)
The game hall at Rungis Market in Paris.

Before she was the host of jet setting TV shows like Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, Louisa Chu was a recent graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, staging at some of the world's best restaurants, like Alinea and El Bulli. One day she received a call asking for help scouting locations for a new show hosted by Anthony Bourdain, by then well known for his behind the scenes look at the not-so-nice world of professional cooking.  Chu remarked that “this is the kind of opportunity you pay for!” and agreed to be a location scout for the very first episode of No Reservations, set in Paris.

Chu endeavored to show Bourdain and his crew her version of Paris, starting with the famous meat hall at Rungis Market, but did not sign up to be on camera. That all changed when her informant/butcher canceled last minute, thrusting Chu into the limelight and launching her food-centric reality TV career. She told the story at a talk sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Chicago, which you can hear in the audio excerpt posted above.

If you want to see the segment Chu recorded with Bourdain for No Reservations, there are some bootlegged clips on YouTube.  The segment at Rungis Market starts around 6:25, Louisa comes on around 8 min in. It continues here.

Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Click here to hear Chu’s full talk, recorded by Chicago Amplified, and click here to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast.