Anthony Bourdain: Still Awesome

Anthony Bourdain’s new Travel Channel show “The Layover” is nearing its debut, and with it the outspoken chef/writer/food and travel expert/raconteur is doing a round of interviews. In particular, his interview with Playboy (SFW) is worth 20 minutes of your time, but in the interest of time I’m going to cherry-pick two quotes from a brief Q&A with the Mercury News, with another shot at Paula Deen and an honest appraisal of “The Chew.”

On the politics of fast food versus healthy food:

The notion that the only affordable option for hardworking people with little time to cook is or should be unhealthy fast food — or freakish novelty food from no tradition other than marketing a business — is (expletive). It’s a lie. If you look at the history of gastronomy, it’s hardworking farmers taking what little they have and finding a way to make it reasonably tender, nutritious and delicious. This notion that there’s red state food and blue state food, or rich food and poor food is offensive and elitist in ways I could never be.

On “The Chew”:

(Heavy sigh) I’m really shaken. Honestly, I don’t know what to believe anymore. Mario Batali is a better chef than I am, a better businessman. And Michael Symon! I can’t tell you how much I like and respect those guys. They’re the smartest, funniest, best since Julia Child. They had to know what they were getting into. I’m not trying to be funny or snarky — I’m really shaken. I feel like I’ve left the mountains, and found all my comrades had joined the Interior Ministry. The whole world has tilted in a way I don’t understand. I feel like I’m a million years old and very naive. I just don’t know who the fool is. I suspect it’s me.

I just love this dude so much. He spent twenty years working in kitchens and jamming drugs into his body, then he ran restaurants because he was good at it, then he wrote an awesome book about it, and now he travels the world eating awesome food in the coolest places and speaks his mind because he absolutely does not give a f**k what anyone thinks. He’s just out to enjoy his life, and he’s honest about whatever vanity and privilege that entails. I want to murder him and steal his life.