Anthony Bourdain Calls Racism The Most Important Food Related Issue That No One Is Talking About

You can always count on Anthony Bourdain to be blunt about anything, but especially the state of the food and restaurant industry. And in a recent interview, Bourdain talked about racism as a pervasive but often ignored issue in the restaurant industry.

Here’s Bourdain’s answer verbatim, from Ocean Drive:

Racism. In an industry that’s always been open to everybody, notoriously so—every refugee and fugitive, dysfunctional character in the world could always find a home in a restaurant—why aren’t there more African-American chefs and African-American cooks represented in the mid- to high-range restaurants?

There have been some studies conducted on this very issue. Seattle’s The Stranger wrote up a Restaurant Opportunity Center United (ROC) study of King County, Washington, that found women of color making $4 an hour less than white men on average, and people of color being overrepresented in kitchen “tier II” grunt work, as opposed to the higher level cooking jobs. A ROC study from this year found that people of color were mainly relegated to back of house work in California restaurants, which the president of the California Restaurant Association has tried to refute.

In this interview, Bourdain’s chef friend Jose Andres discussed undocumented immigration in answer to this very same question. It just goes to show that hot-button issues exist everywhere, even the kitchen.

(via Ocean Drive)