Thanks to cable TV, there are now dozens and dozens of celebrity chefs filling the airwaves with their own unique brand of foodieness. However, they seem to fall into two separate categories, the pretentious and condescending, and the modern and accessible. Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel show No Reservations, falls into the former category and he took it upon himself to hurl some vile canards at his more prosaic peers.
In an interview with TV Guide, Bourdain didn't hold back about his feelings on southern belle Paula Deen, everyday cook Rachael Ray, boozehound Sandra Lee and the frenetic Guy Fieri:
Paula Deen: "The worst, most dangerous person to America is clearly Paula Deen. She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she's proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you. If I were on at seven at night and loved by millions of people at every age, I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it's OK to eat food that is killing us. Plus, her food sucks."
Guy Fieri: "I look at Guy Fieri and I just think, 'Jesus, I'm glad that's not me.' You work that hard and there's not a single show of yours that you'd want to sit down and say, 'Hey, I made that last week. Look at that camera work. It's really good, huh?' I'm proud of what I do."
Rachael Ray: "Does she even cook anymore? I don't know why she bothers. To her credit, she never said she was good at it. I feel bad that she still feels compelled to cook. Her [syndicated] talk show is doing well, and she does that well. I don't watch, but I don't run screaming from the room."
Sandra Lee: "There was an incident with Sandra Lee when I ran into her [after criticizing her publicly]. It was deeply terrible. Don't mess with her. I rarely feel uncomfortable, but she has a powerful force. I hate her works on this planet, but she is not someone to be dismissed, clearly."
Coincidentally, all the chefs Bourdain went after are all part of the Food Network's stable of celebrity chefs, and Bourdain is on a competing cable network, so obviously this is just made-for-the-tabloids PR b.s.
Dlisted posted Paula Deen's response to Page Six, and butter's best friend really lets Bourdain have it:
Anthony Bourdain needs to get a life. You don’t have to like my food, or Rachael’s, Sandra’s and Guy’s. But it’s another thing to attack our character. I wake up every morning happy for where I am in life. It’s not all about the cooking, but the fact that I can contribute by using my influence to help people all over the country. In the last two years, my partners and I have fed more than 10 million hungry people by bringing meat to food banks.
My good friends Rachael, Guy and Sandra are the most generous charitable folks I know. They give so much of their time and money to help the food-deprived, sick children and abandoned animals. I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable."
You know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills . . . It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.
Personally, I find Bourdain to be a pompous ass who clearly banks on being perceived as the last arbiter of good taste — a renaissance man who promotes swanky living (ha!) — but the truth is, he's just a food whore like the rest of them. And while I don't necessarily disagree with his assessments of these so called "chefs," he's no less irritating than they are.
The only way to solve this dispute is with a good old fashioned food fight — which we all know would end with Sandra and Anthony throwing drinks into each other's faces and then having hate-sex in a vat of butter. Now that's quality television!