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Aug 19, 2011 01:57 PM

Bourdain vs. Deen

I was pretty surprised to see Anthony Bourdain's face on a celebrity gossip site (yes, I read that stuff). The story was about some verbal sparring with Paula Deen. He said something, she said something, blah, blah, blah... it's been going on for a couple of days and who knows when it will end.
Here's the original interview he gave tv guide that set the whole thing off...

I think he went a bit far, but do agree with some of what he has to say.
What do you think?

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  1. I agree he does go too far sometimes, and does say things just for their shock value, but I happen to agree with virtually every word in that article.

    Always entertaining.

    1. I completely agree with Bourdain. Deen may claim she's cooking for working class families but those are the people whose health insurance coverage is spotty and who can't afford the coronary events she's steering them into.

      I learned to love food and cooking from my working class great aunt who made her own bread because "store bought" was a luxury and who cooked her baked beans and made her preserves from the garden my grandfather grew. Low income is not synonymous with high-fat and sugar drenched. And if she *really* came from those circumstances and wants to help those folks out, she can just help them think in terms of healthy eating that prepares them to work and avoids the medical costs.

      I bet she's a *lovely* person. I know she's entertaining and very successful at what she does. But I've never been tempted for a single instant to cook anything from any of her recipes. They sound cloying and, frankly, sort of gross.

      6 Replies
      1. re: rainey

        What kind of example does Tony set for us? The last things I saw him eat (on the Ukraine episode) were a tube steak in a donut, and a MacFoxy burger, and illegal caviar.

        1. re: paulj

          as he ate the dog he dissed her saying its something she would love to have two of after talking about how greasy and bad for you it must be....

        2. re: rainey

          I am completely agree with your comment rainey.

          1. re: rainey

            Watching Deen's show is like watching a 30 minute promotion on how to get diabetes. I think these people should be criticized.

            1. re: david t.

              Sadly your comments about diabetes was prophetic.

            2. re: rainey

              Actually, she's not quite "lovely" at all. I've seen her refuse a quick snapshot with children with whom she was appearing on TV and refuse to sign her own books for those children's mothers (all of whom ran out to buy the books after they've found out their kids would be on TV with Paula). Apparently, if she's not being paid to sign, you can forget it. The TV appearance, which was supposed to be about the kids, quickly got transformed into the Paula show, with the children as window dressing. Not "lovely" at all. Successful yes, but lovely, no.

            3. I agree with both of you. I just read where she said something to the effect of "what does he contribute to America?".
              Unemployment visited my home for a while a few years back and I was one of the American masses that were operating on little income. But 1 hour of entertaining and informative television where I could sit and take in another little piece of the world was far more valuable to me than any quintuple cheesy mac type dish could ever have been.

              17 Replies
              1. re: alliegator

                We've been to a couple of his book signings/Q&A sessions here in Pasadena, and one way to get him cranky is to ask his opinion of LA's restaurant scene. His big beef is that our area's addiction to dirt-cheap food has resulted in a local industry where only the chefs can make a living wage at one job, whereas everyone below that level typically has to work at least two, live with a bunch of roommates, and snitch food just to stay alive. He's genuinely angry about this, and angrier that nobody around here seems to care. Just under that arrogant façade is an honest hard-working man who has never paid less than a good wage to any employee, and who deeply believes that no working person should earn less than enough to house and feed himself and his family. This is not the guy to whom you want to brag about how you stuffed yourself at that dim sum place for $7 per person …

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Thank you, Will, I've never heard that description of Bourdain before- I think you're spot-on.

                    1. re: Will Owen


                      I ran into Tony a few years ago after a show he did on New York aired. I was eating in a Japanese Yakitoro shop featured on the show when Tony came in with two other guys. On his way out, I introduced myself and thanked him for letting people know about the restaurant. He couldn't have been nicer after being interrupted by one of his fans.

                      He's a class act.

                      1. re: mahalan

                        I've never had the fortune to meet him but I do remember that a foodie friend on another forum was attending an event with him shortly after publication of "Kitchen Confidential" when his reputation as a culinary "enfant terrible" was pretty newly minted. At the event she was seated somewhere else but her young daughter was seated right next to Bourdain. I asked her how that worked out and she replied that he couldn't have been nicer or more fun or made the event more of a success.

                        Being put through his social paces like a lamb was NOT what I necessarily expected to hear about but it was her opinion that he was gracious, warm and genuine. Which pretty much squares with your experience.

                        What also comes to mind was the time when he was stranded in Beirut when the US was doing little to protect Americans from the raging civil war. He seemed to handle it with aplomb that indicated some real character beyond the TV personality.

                        He's an easy target to take shots at but I get the feeling he's big enough to take it.

                        1. re: rainey

                          I don't know if he'd make a good nanny, but a babysitter for a few hours, sure, I''m not great with kids but for some reason the little loveable idiots like me and I'm cool with them in small doses. must be the Moe Sizlak factor.

                          1. re: rainey

                            You may also recall the Laos episode where he was face to face with a man who lost his arms from unexploded US ordinance that was in his field. Well, kaboom obviously.
                            He was very humbled and seemed honestly embarrassed that his country had taken this mans arms and way of life away from him.
                            There was also the awe he felt when in the presence of the noodle maker in (Hong Kong??).

                            He knows his place in the world.


                            1. re: Davwud

                              "He knows his place in the world"

                              indeed! He calls himself out just as readily as he calls others out.

                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                Oh Hell! Just give him the Nobel peace prize and be done with it!

                              2. re: Davwud

                                And don't forget the Haiti episode.

                                And what it Namibia where he ate the ostrich egg that was full of grit, sticked, and dirt? Even thought it was disguisting he ate it because he knew that they didn't have much food and as a guest it was the respectful thing to do.

                                He might be a jackass to FN stars, but he always comes across as being respectful to those on his show.

                                1. re: viperlush

                                  The egg was the "good" meal he had in the bush in Namibia...that was also when he ate the half-raw-still-full-of-grass-feces pig intestine, or as he called it "poop chute".

                                  1. re: Bunson

                                    I was horrified watching him eat that food. Call me disrespectful, I don't care, but no way, no how would I eat that!

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      So your show would be called "Some Reservations." ;-)

                                        1. re: monavano

                                          Even better! My personal policy: "never eat the poop."

                                      1. re: Bunson

                                        That's the scene I have in mind when I hear him calling out Paula Deen for being a disease-promoting cow. Not in those exact words, but he seemed to think it was okay for him to eat that on TV.

                          2. Yes, it's all Paula Deen's fault. /eyeroll

                            1. Bourdain is the classic celebrity chef. In fact, at this point in time, he seems to be more celebrity than chef. I think Paula Deen's summation that it is probably a publicity thing is accurate. This was, after all, a TV Guide interview.

                              All this "health" criticism from a guy who drinks like a fish and smokes like a chimney!

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                unless Ms Deen has quit,rumour has it she is a heavy smoker

                                1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                  And Bourdain reportedly quit smoking when his child was born a couple of years ago.

                                  1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

                                    If he smokes, he's hurting himself. If he drinks, the drink is going into his body. He doesn't suggest we do the same.

                                    1. re: jarona

                                      No, he doesn't, and he's certainly not telling you how to make the drinks.

                                      1. re: FoodChic

                                        He's glorifying it and telling you where to get the drinks. How different is that from telling you how to make it? If Paula Deen had a travel show where she ate nothing but deep fried fast food, I'm sure she'd get the same flak as she does with her cooking show.