Friday, August 03, 2007

Howie Kleinberg: Napoleon-Complex Dynamite?

Like any number of you, possums, we stared at the television with equal parts incredulity and anticipation during Howie Kleinberg's contradictory, misogynist tirades. We waited eagerly to see whether his head would explode or spin off his neck of its own accord.

Of course, Ms. XaXa, being more of a pragmatist, put our mind at ease, "Oh, I wouldn't worry. There's no neck for it to fly off from."

However safe we might have been from a spinning head, though, we did think it was a serious possibility that at some point Howie would lose the power of human speech, an ability he appears to have acquired with great difficulty, and simply start barking. Sara Mair was right to call him "bulldoggish." Indeed, in our mind's eye he sports a turtleneck and a newsboy cap, like that bulldog in the Warner Bros. cartoons followed by the little dog who just wants to be his friend.

Playing armchair psychologist is a lot easier when, like us, you have a nice leather club chair. And retire to it we did, to ponder the source of the Bear Bulldog's rage.

To mind came a January 18, 2007, article we had come across before, which had the following tidbit:

"Kleinberg grew up in an apartment inside the Waterways Shoppes and attended a private prep school in Maine. It was the kind of institution designed for kids with less-than-spectacular academic track-records.

He excelled on the field of play, but when he tapped out at 5-foot-6, he knew he’d better find another way to make a living."

As Miss XaXa put it, "Was that when he found out that yes, the NBA would take him, but as a basketball and not as a basketball player?"

We cautioned Miss XaXa, "Are you sure you want to say things like that? What if he wants to find you and yell at you about how he'd never hire you to wash dishes in his restaurant? Is that really what you want?"

We were amused, though, at the contrast between Howie's statement on Wednesday's show that "I’m a little bit more of an academic in a lot of ways; I’m a thinker," and his having had to attend a prep school "for kids with less-than-spectacular academic track-records."

The article also informs us that "Kleinberg’s ambition was to coach. Football or wrestling or lacrosse; they were all passions. But without a teaching degree, he found it impossible to secure a job."

Most interesting, we learned about his philosophy about working with other people: "A lot of what’s required to be a great chef comes down to leadership, and that goes back to the lessons I learned from sports. I’ll always give [subordinates] a kick in the ass and then a bear-hug. Never one or the other. Always both."

First of all, see? We told you he was a bear. However, we didn't get to see the bear-hug he gave Sara Mair. Perhaps the editors simply didn't show us? Or perhaps all his bear-hugs are reserved for Joey, because, you know, girls have cooties and stuff, and they're only good for writing out your menu 'cause they have pretty handwriting and stuff, and that's how girls should be, you know, helpful, doing girl things, and not contradicting you and stuff.

Truth be told, though, it's the misogyny that puzzles us the most, since, as his Bravo bio says, "Due to his father's early death, Howie was raised by only women and has no problem communicating his feelings." Howie, Howie, Howie, didn't your momma teach you better?


frogboots said...

jesus, WHEN is how going to pack his knives and go sweat into food in the privacy of his own kitchen?

His attitude has pissed me off since day one, and the sweat - the SWEAT!! it drips into the food! - makes me want to vomit.

and yes: more than a hint of misogyny in Mr. Kleinberg.

Hung's an arrogant little bitch, but nowhere near as revolting and obnoxious as Howie, in my book.

The Big Shamu said...

I think Sara Mair got it wrong. Not bulldog, but toad. Mr. Toad.
(No offense frogboots)

Anonymous said...

Bravo has a lot of merchandise online in their Top Chef store. If we all emailed them maybe they would add a "Top Chef headband".

Anonymous said...

there is no working 'with' Howie..he is a dripping pot of anger completly controlled by his overblown sense of being the top rooster.

Get a sweatband dude, cause I would NEVER eat in your restaurant

CharmingDinnerGuest said...

In the spirit of opening minds and hearts I ask, are we not judging Chef Howie based on superficial values?

If his statements came from Bourdain, wouldn't he be considered snarky, clever, manly, decisive?

As for his education, Chef Howie's academic acheivements can be compared to Chef Bobby Flay who was given a job working as a cook in the kitchen at Joe Allen Restaurant, where his father was a partner.

It seems Flay had a "less-than-spectacular academic track-record" yet it did not prevent him from going on to become the owner and executive chef of six restaurants and highly regarded by many.

It seems that Howie held back from criticizing Sara until she blamed him for what Chef Colicchio said was her failure to contribute. Howie then spoke up. She responded not with reasons but with ugly name calling.

Ms. Place said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms. Place said...

Dahlings, I just wrote a long rant that had no place on your funnily outrageous blog, so I deleted it. Suffice it to say that I thank you for echoing what we've all been saying on our blogs, Charlus and Miss Xa Xa. You said it best and with humor.

Melanie said...

Oh, don't blame it on the mamas! He's old enough to know better -- his mama has nothing to do with it.

WordNerd said...

I wanted to like Howie, and he's had his nice moments, but he seems to have quite the problem with women. So, yeah, he can go pretty much anytime, as far as I'm concerned.

Emilie said...

Oh, he's next. Definitely next to go. I can't believe he's still on here.

Anonymous said...

He's very Old World, and the sweatings just gross.

Marius said...

Yeah, the sweating is gross. Even Ted mentioned it in one of his blog posts. Howie should be disqualified for that. It drips into the food, and that's a problem.

Great post! Oh, and I loved Ms. Xaxa's basketball comment. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Oh stuff it, all of you! He obviously comes off as abrasive to the vast majority of you, but he's exactly like the guys I went to school with up in the east, and I think he's hilarious and lovable, and I totally understand him. I had a laughing fit when he described tricolor fusilli as the stuff found in every schlockhouse... ! He would be my choice for a perfect date, as he is nothing less than fabulous. (However, I do wonder about the sweat...)

Gabriela said...

I am not from the US so have just learnt about Howie's existence. I find him so hot, so masculine! Can anybody please tell me where I can get some videos or pictures of him cooking? I would love to see the sweat falling off his face while he prepares the dishes. Contrarily to most opinions, I would like to taste the "salty" food containing the drops of testosterone and sacrifice that he has dripped to prepare it. It is only sweat, salt and water, it does no harm! And I understand that men like Howie sweat a lot in hot kitchens, so he is not to blame for that. He simply can`t avoid it! Blame it on his masculine hormone!
Are there any videos of him in Youtube? I have failed to find them. Please, tell me where I can get anything about him. I have become a huge Howie admirer.