Not My Job: We Ask Michelin-Star Chef José Andrés About The Michelin Man Andrés' restaurants have won Michelin stars, but how much does he know about the spokesmascot for the Michelin tire company? Originally broadcast Aug. 31, 2019.
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Not My Job: We Ask Michelin-Star Chef José Andrés About The Michelin Man

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Not My Job: We Ask Michelin-Star Chef José Andrés About The Michelin Man

Not My Job: We Ask Michelin-Star Chef José Andrés About The Michelin Man

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BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Hey, Times Square - count to 10. I'm your New Year's Eve Bill drop...

(APPLAUSE)

KURTIS: ...Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. We're in the holiday sweet spot - that glorious time of year when there are no rules. We can gorge ourselves on leftover Christmas cookies and candy canes before pretending to make all sorts of New Year's resolutions.

KURTIS: Peter, as God as my witness, I promise to ride the new Peloton you gave me...

(LAUGHTER)

KURTIS: ...Every damn day.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: One man who has an even more generous spirit than I do is our new friend, humanitarian and chef Jose Andres.

KURTIS: Chef Andes joined us on a beautiful summer day outdoors at Wolf Trap near Washington, D.C., in August.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

SAGAL: Chef Jose Andres, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

(APPLAUSE, CHEERING)

JOSE ANDRES: I've never been surrounded by so many people who speak proper English at once.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: It's amazing.

SAGAL: Really?

ANDRES: My wife and I - which, by the way, she listens to you guys all the time.

SAGAL: Wow.

ANDRES: She's my translator because I can never understand anything you say.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: She tells me, can you wait until the show is over so I tell you all the words you don't understand? It's so unfair.

SAGAL: It really is.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So you are one of the world's most celebrated chefs, so we just have to ask you, what do you think of the Popeyes chicken sandwich?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: I waited in line, and then by the time it was my turn, the Popeye was gone.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: But there's so many amazing chicken sandwiches in America.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Do you actually...

ANDRES: You're in the line waiting for an hour, and next door is another place that has a sandwich as good or better. But everybody has to be in the line. It's like going to Disney. You go, and you are in the line. Like, well, sometimes the line is not the way forward, people.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: Find your own line. Find your own line. That's the answer you wanted to get?

SAGAL: That's a very - I don't know what I wanted. That's a great answer. I know that a lot of chefs - famous chefs, award-winning chefs - often have, like, a favorite junk food or, like, something - because they're just so tired of, like, fancy food when they want to eat. Do you have one of those, like, favorite guilty habits?

ANDRES: Yeah. I love cans - canned food.

SAGAL: Cans of food.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: Can - C-A-N.

SAGAL: Yeah.

FAITH SALIE: Yeah.

SAGAL: I got it.

ANDRES: Can.

SAGAL: Like, but...

ANDRES: Yeah.

SAGAL: Do you care what's in the can?

ANDRES: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Or is it just the container that...

ANDRES: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like - I love - you know, the "Finding Nemo," the little eggs, the black eggs. They call it caviar, the fancy people.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah.

ANDRES: That's good canned food.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: I mean, if you don't have caviar in a can, you can eat Spam, and it's good, too.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ANDRES: But, you know...

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: ...If you can choose - I love caviar, but...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I love the fact that after a day of cooking brilliant food for expensive patrons, you know, in fabulous restaurants, you relax just with a simple dish of caviar.

ANDRES: I like food in a can. Let me put it this way. Imagine you're hungry. You have nobody around you. You have a can. You open the can. You are eating. Amazing.

(APPLAUSE)

ANDRES: Canned food should - deserves an opportunity in our lives, people of America.

(LAUGHTER)

PETER GROSZ: Do you eat SpaghettiOs - you know, the little, like, pasta with the sauce in the...

ANDRES: No. No.

SAGAL: No.

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: Because that's the caviar of pastas, just so you know.

SAGAL: He has some standards, Peter.

ANDRES: Sardines.

SAGAL: Sardines.

GROSZ: Oh, yeah. You like that.

ANDRES: Mussels.

GROSZ: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah, yeah.

ANDRES: Oysters.

NEGIN FARSAD: So you just want fish in a can.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Oysters come in cans?

GROSZ: Oh, yeah.

ANDRES: But...

GROSZ: Anything.

ANDRES: ...The fish feels so protected in a can.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, yeah. The fish is lying there going, nothing's going to happen to us in here.

ANDRES: Take a look what happened to Nemo in the anemone. I mean, in the can, nothing happens. And then you open it.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ANDRES: And especially when, you know - can I open you? And the fish tells you, yes, Jose, you can. And then...

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Yes, you can (laughter).

SAGAL: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

ANDRES: Yeah.

SAGAL: I just figured out your reference to "Finding Nemo." Did you mean the eggs that Nemo's mom lays in the very beginning of the film - a big pile of eggs...

ANDRES: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...That are then all eaten except for Nemo...

ANDRES: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...Which is the starting tragedy of the whole story. So you...

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: Yeah.

SAGAL: ...Are, in this metaphor...

ANDRES: I am.

SAGAL: ...The barracuda.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: No, I am more protective than the barracuda. I mean, I don't want to eat them the first moment I see them.

SAGAL: No, no.

ANDRES: I put them in the refrigerator. I keep them.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: I make sure the temperature is right. Only when I feel it is that right moment, I really eat them.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: But...

SAGAL: I mean, you're not a savage.

ANDRES: ...It's very different than the barracuda. I mean, I'm more like a seal. I mean...

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: I'm so happy when I eat it that I start clapping.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Now, one of the things we wanted to talk about you is you have a bunch of restaurants. Two of them, if I'm not mistaken, have two Michelin stars, which is a very difficult thing to get in this world.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: And we understand that Michelin star reviewers - nobody knows who they are. They're not like newspaper reviewers. Everybody knows their name if not what they look like. Do you guys who want a Michelin star who might get one - do you try to figure out who they are? Are you, like...

SALIE: Look for the people with the fake moustaches.

SAGAL: Yeah, like, I think that guy's from Michelin.

ANDRES: Oh, sure we do.

SAGAL: Really? So if we wanted to convince you that we were Michelin reviewers so as to get better service, what should we do?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: Well, you come in, and you look like a super interesting person.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: You start smelling the air.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: You see the temperature.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. You wave your finger in the air, and then you lick it?

ANDRES: No, hold on. I am overacting, but...

SAGAL: I understand.

ANDRES: You...

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: It's for you to understand idea...

SAGAL: Yeah.

ANDRES: ...In case you guys don't get my English, and...

SAGAL: Yeah.

ANDRES: And usually, they may be alone. And they're looking to the right, and they're looking to the left, and they don't talk to anybody. That may be a Michelin...

SAGAL: Or...

ANDRES: ...Critic.

SAGAL: It could be a sociopath.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Has no friends.

ANDRES: Has happened before.

SAGAL: I'm sure. You get both.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Everybody gets served.

ANDRES: Has only happened once.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: But...

SAGAL: Did he - how long did that person sit there?

ANDRES: He ate an entire 30-course menu.

SAGAL: Did he really?

ANDRES: Yeah.

SAGAL: Because, you know, he was going to protest your politics, but he got a little peckish.

ANDRES: At the end, he went from one political party to the other. That's...

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: I want to ask you one more question before the game. So you're a great chef. You're a master of several different cuisines. Is there one thing that you're terrible at making? Like, your kids will - for example, like, your kids would never eat your mac and cheese.

ANDRES: Is this going to make it into the show? Or...

SAGAL: Yeah, I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It depends how honest you are.

ANDRES: It's so hard for a chef to recognize.

SAGAL: Your weakness.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: Let me tell you one thing. Can I tell you one thing?

SAGAL: You may tell me anything you want.

ANDRES: Whatever I did was wrong...

SAGAL: Yeah.

ANDRES: ...Was not my fault.

SAGAL: There you go.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You are a chef.

ANDRES: But I can tell you one thing.

SAGAL: What?

ANDRES: Some of my most popular dishes...

SAGAL: Yes.

ANDRES: ...They're never mine. The No. 1 dish everybody in America has repeated the most, gazpacho.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ANDRES: You know the recipe, who it's from?

SAGAL: Yeah, who?

ANDRES: My wife.

SALIE: Aw.

SAGAL: Really?

(APPLAUSE)

ANDRES: And I love it, and I love her. Her gazpacho is unbelibabable (ph). For the English-speaking people, unbelibabable is beyond unbelievable.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, Jose Andres, we are so delighted to talk to you. And we have invited you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Michelin Star, Meet Michelin Man.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So, as we've said, you've won Michelin stars as well as other awards. But what do you know, sir, about the Michelin Man - the weirdly bloated, rubberized spokes-mascot for the Michelin Tire Company? We're going to ask you three questions about the Michelin Man. Answer two of them correctly, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of their choice on their home answering machine. Bill, who is Jose Andres playing for?

KURTIS: Gabriel Patterson of Reston, Va.

SAGAL: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right, the first question - the Michelin Man, who has a name - it's Bibendum - wasn't always the cheerful figure he now is in advertisements. Early on, around 1900, he was depicted doing what? A, beating up a horse, his main competition...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, drinking a glass of nails and broken glass; or C, eating a pint of ice cream by himself after a bad breakup with the Michelin woman?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: B.

ANDRES: B as in boy? B as in boy?

(CHEERING)

ANDRES: I think it's very obvious to me that the correct answer is B as in boy.

SAGAL: You are correct.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: I don't know how you figured that out.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The idea is, of course, that he was such a tough tire or made of such tough tires that he could down broken glass and nails with no harm. All right, next question - he wasn't always depicted as a tough guy. They changed his image back and forth. In one early poster, he was depicted doing what? A, lying down under a maiden jumping from a burning window so she could bounce; B, removing a tire from his own abdomen to help a family fix a flat; or C, letting a drowning swimmer suck air out of his tubes?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: I like the one of the belly giving a tire.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: I don't feel so bad now about my belly.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: I think it's B for belly.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And again, you are right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: The poster, he's pulling a tire out of his own abdomen to hand it to this family...

SAGAL: ...So they can fix it - very generous. Your last question - the Michelin Man was given his own column in a company magazine back in 1907, and here's the Michelin Man speaking for himself. And he used that platform to do what? A, complain about how his rubber was getting thinner as he aged...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, invite people to come on over and blow into his valves...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Or C, brag about his vast success with the ladies?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDRES: C.

SAGAL: It is, in fact, C.

SALIE: Wow.

SAGAL: You're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SALIE: Wow.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Jose Andres do on our quiz?

KURTIS: His ingredients were perfect - 3 and 0.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Very well done. Chef Jose Andres' new cookbook is "Vegetables Unleashed." It's available now.

Jose Andres, thank you so much...

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: ...For joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

ANDRES: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL YOU CAN EAT (AND YOU CAN EAT IT ALL NIGHT LONG)")

CANDYE KANE: (Singing) All you can eat, you can eat it all night. All you can eat, you can eat it all night. All you can eat, you can eat it all night long.

SAGAL: Coming up, we talk to a country music rebel and a classical music outlaw. It's Steve Earle and Marin Alsop. That's when we come back on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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