Anthony Bourdain Takes A Shot At Alice Waters

By   |  January 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 Foodsis 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 Market stats 2008

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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6 Comments on “Anthony Bourdain Takes A Shot At Alice Waters”  (RSS)

  1. I love Chez Pannise!

  2. Wellsaid, Ch3k. Supporting a movement like this is really the only way to really effect some change (that we can believe in). If only Bourdo would grow a pair, man up, and not be such a dick. “Legislate food habits??” Its almost like he live in an entirely separate universe that is completely oblivious was to what Waters does. Waters is fine, but to compare her efforts of helping kids have a healthy lunch to the Khmer Rouge is just asinine. Next thing you know Bourdo will be calling for a farmers market gestapo or something. At least the writers here know a good story when they see it……

  3. Hey. You guys do realize that the tagline for this website is “resisting the anti-intellectual culture of the postmodern age….” right?
    Of course Chez Panisse isn’t cheap; developing the post-industrial food movement is expensive, and at least Waters is sensible enough to allow people to come and choose to support it rather than force it out of the masses with taxes. Darya8 also didn’t mention all the community service and organizing that Waters does; its obviously not the point of the article. The article has nothing to do with politics: its merely pointing out that this Bourdain guy is a douch who doesn’t really understand how to have healthy eating habits. He whores himself to the travel channel for godssakes. Of course there are a lot of factors, but a lot of good could be done by taking kids to pick out some fresh vegetables at the market rather than lazily driving to get a burger and fries. Thats where getoffyourself misses the point: fastfood is Bourdain’s scapegoat, and un-industrializing the food chain is Water’s solution. Good article btw.

  4. I do not see how this write up even received 5 stars. Chez Panisse is not cheap either yet you do not make any mention of this. Not everyone is fortunate to have a home cooked meal daily, that is why these fastfood chains are still around, and the reason these chef’s are getting paid so well. Parents are also to blame, we live in an age where we bend and waiver to our childrens wants, when we should be steadfast and ensure we guide them to be balanced and healthy adults. We spend to much time looking for a scapegoat rather then working on a solution.

  5. you guys really gotta get off your soapbox w/ all the political shit… i don’t come to the site to get politics shoved down my throat, and almost stopped after all the republican bullshit that was bein posted in the lead up to the election… stick to what you’re good at, leave the bullshit right-wing politics to the screaming heads on fox news…

  6. Anthony Bourdain is the shit!

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