Anthony Bourdain Takes A Shot At Alice Waters

by | Jan 23, 2009

On Monday, January 19, the dcist printed an interview with celebrity chef and star of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain. When asked if he had any advice about food, Bourdain took the opportunity to point out that Alice Waters “annoys the living s***” out of him.

Really? Thanks, Tony, great advice.

Here is the excerpt (here is the link):

Any advice about food?

I’ll tell you. Alice Waters annoys the living s*** out of me. We’re all in the middle of a recession, like we’re all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market. There’s something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic. I mean I’m not crazy about our obsession with corn or ethanol and all that, but I’m a little uncomfortable with legislating good eating habits. I’m suspicious of orthodoxy, the kind of orthodoxy when it comes to what you put in your mouth. I’m a little reluctant to admit that maybe Americans are too stupid to figure out that the food we’re eating is killing us. But I don’t know if it’s time to send out special squads to close all the McDonald’s. My libertarian side is at odds with my revulsion at what we as a country have done to ourselves physically with what we’ve chosen to eat and our fast food culture. I’m really divided on that issue. It’d be great if he [Obama] served better food at the White House than what I suspect the Bushies were serving. It’s gotta be better than Nixon. He liked starting up a roaring fire, turning up the air conditioning, and eating a bowl of cottage cheese with ketchup. Anything above that is a good thing. He’s from Chicago, so he knows what good food is.

I’m not sure where to start.

Clearly Bourdain understands neither the goals nor the motives of Waters’ political activities. No one is trying to legislate good eating habits. Well, maybe someone is, but it isn’t Alice.

Waters is one of a growing number of activists that recognize the government already has too big a hand in governing what we eat, specifically through controlling what is available. Currently the federal government (i.e. tax payers) subsidize the mass production of food and products known to cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

Decentralizing our food supply means putting our food production back into the hands of people who grow real food rather than high-fructose corn syrup and trans fat. Why this is “unrealistic” is beyond me.

His economic argument–as if Bourdain knows anything about being poor–is equally infuriating:

“We’re all in the middle of a recession, like we’re all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market.”

It is a common misconception that eating fresh, seasonal food is prohibitively expensive. This is simply not true. Sure the produce at Whole Foods is pricey (you pay for what you get), but their dry goods are inexpensive and of high quality.

You know what’s expensive? Brasserie Les Halles.

Farmers markets are becoming more prevalent every year and local, seasonal produce is some of the highest value food you can buy. Cooking at home is far more cost effective (in price, long-term health and often time) than eating out.

Once again, thanks for the advice Tony.

Does Alice Waters annoy the s*** out of you too?

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11 Responses to “Anthony Bourdain Takes A Shot At Alice Waters”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I generally think Anthony Bourdain is decently entertaining/amusing and usually comes across as relatively intelligent. Maybe he was just drunk, as usual, when he made those comments. Luckily, the vast majority of Americans have no idea who Bourdain is, but are becoming increasingly educated about the benefits of healthful, organic, locally-grown food. Let’s just keep spreading the positive message.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that is unbelievable to me. We’re in a recession and people want to cut down their expenses. But think of the money people could save on medical bills and prescriptions if they ate healthier. Yes, they SHOULD run to a green market!!!

  3. Mike says:

    What does Brasserie Les Halles have to do with anything- is it his restaurant or somethign?

  4. Travis Saunders, MSc says:

    Another excellent post. Very well put.

  5. doug says:

    Khmer Rouge?? Seriously? Of course. Why didn’t I realize that trying to improve the health of America’s population is EXACTLY like murdering 1.5 million people, or 20% of Cambodia’s then poulation. That is a perfectly sensible, unoffensive parallel to make. Glad someone finally had the guts to make that connection. (What’s the emoticon for rolling one’s eyes in dismissive disgust?)

  6. Darya Pino says:

    @anon1I agree. Generally I like the guy (arrogance and all) and hope this was an exaggerated drunken slur.—–@anon2I like the cut of your jib!—–@MikeClick the link, it’s his fancy, schmancy restaurant.—–@TravisThanks! —–@dougSeriously dude. That was the most outrageous comparison ever. I don’t think he could possibly realize what he implied. It’s almost like he thinks Khmer Rouge was some harmless socialist nation. Wrong and wrong.—-Thanks for your input everyone!

  7. Matt Shook says:

    I’m not too familiar with Mr. Bourdain since I don’t watch television, but from the few articles I read with him he seems to exude and arrogance that I find really distasteful.I think Waters’ message is spot on…focusing on locally-grown in-season food is the way of the future…whether we agree with it or not. ;)I agree that eating organically does not have to be expensive, and can be done quite easily today than in years past. Trader Joe’s offers a lot of organic staple foods (rice, beans, quinoa, lettuce, produce, nuts, etc.) that are far cheaper than places like Whole Foods and Safeway. The bulk bins at places like Whole Foods, New Seasons, and local co-ops can become an organic eaters best friend. Plus, as Darya states, there is always the farmers market where fresh and organic is often in abundance.As I have said before, and as anonymous pointed out, if we made a conscious effort to eat well and live well (ie. exercise both brain & body), then we will save ourselves a lot of medical/pharmaceutical bills in the future.Thanks for posting this Darya, it's good to have this kind of discussion interspersed between the great recipes.

  8. Matt Shook says:

    @ DaryaOops! I started my post before your response…then got distracted for an hour before I finally posted…hence why it seems so after-the-fact.

  9. MizFit says:

    saw your kind comment on my guest post at BackInSkinnyJeans…wanted to say thanks…and I LOVE your blog.who knew?off to explore more…

  10. Ch3kyos3lf says:

    Just linked here from your posting of this article on, and wanted to tell you that I liked this article, and defended it against some of the raving lunatics overthere. Keep it up…..

  11. Darya Pino says:

    @MattTotally agree.—–@MizFitThanks for stopping by! Loved your post and love your blog too!—–@Ch3kyos3lfThanks! You gotta have tough skin when you put your opinions on the internet. But it’s a little easier when the mean people have no idea what they’re talking about 😉

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