Then Tower shook up the New York establishment
While speaking to Rose following a screening of the film, Bourdain called Tower "a constant in his career." So, with longtime collaborator Lydia Tenaglia set to direct, Bourdain and CNN Films got to work on Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, a sensory journey replete with reenactments and testimonials from culinary talents like Ruth Reichl, Mario Batali, Jonathan Waxman, Ken Friedman, and Martha Stewart. Near the end of production, in 2014, Tower shocked everyone by accepting the executive chef position at New York City’s Tavern on the Green.
When Bourdain learns of Tower's Tavern appointment, he tells the camera, "My first reaction was, of course, holy fuck. My second was, why?" He cites the position at Tavern, a high-volume institution notorious for inconsistency, as a thankless "chef-killer," especially considering that the restaurant's then-new owners' attempts to revive it were seen as a failure.
"I was pissed," Tenaglia said to Rose, to which Tower replied, "I thought the movie was over." Instead, cameras rolled during those turbulent three and a half months, which ended less than a week after the New York Times delivered a poor review of the restaurant in February 2015.
"My comment to Lydia was, 'This is going to last about two months,'" said Bourdain about Tower's new gig. "Because Jeremiah is about fabulousness, about creating a fabulous and fantastic environment, a dream world where fabulous people come and want to be part of it. And that's not Tavern on the Green. Tavern on the Green is where you bring your grandmother because you won't be embarrassed -- you're sure you won't see any of your friends there." The audience broke into uproarious laughter.