Skip navigation
anthony bourdain

Bourdain’s brash, unfiltered tongue was adored by legions of fans

Quotes from the chef and celebrity over the years

Anthony Bourdain enlightened foodies of all ages with his vision, frankness and devotion to showcasing the human spirit behind cuisines around the world. The famous chef is dead at age 61.

Related: The food world mourns Anthony Bourdain

Part of his charm, and TV success, was his unfiltered look at the world.

Bourdain was the opposite of political correctness. His brash and often ruthless commentary was why legions of fans adored him. And, why many of his peers feared him.

He showed no mercy.

Here are a few quotes from interviews Bourdain had with publications over the years, including Nation’s Restaurant News.

On being a chef:

“I always saw my responsibility as a chef as being in the pleasure business. I’m not a doctor or health care professional or a health care provider. I care about the best tasting tomato; I don’t particularly care if it was grown in a greenhouse or in a hippie’s backyard."

(Nation’s Restaurant News, 2007)

On crowd-sourcing restaurant reviews:

(Kindle Singles Review/Eater, 2013)

On 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 fucking 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."

(TV Guide, 2011)

On New York Times columnist Frank Bruni calling him an elitist after criticizing Deen’s cooking style:

“To accuse me of elitism? I think it was misplaced. For 10 years of my life I’ve been eating at food stalls and trucks and celebrating street food and peasant food above all else. It’s just dead wrong to say that batter-crusted, stuffed-with-cheese, unhealthy food is necessarily the province of the working poor. I like butter. I like a lot of butter. But batter-fried butter? Is this a good thing for America? It’s wrong to suggest we have to eat badly because we don’t have a lot of money. Centuries of French, Italians, Chinese and poor people all over the world have basically developed every great dish in the history of gastronomy because they were poor and didn’t have a lot to work with.

(San Diego Union-Tribune, 2011)

On his rock star rep:

 “I think the bad-boy thing is getting a little old. It’s useful to remind people that I’m a dad now. I’m not going to be buried in a leather jacket. Immediately upon the birth of your child, it’s pretty much time to burn the Ramones shirt, and the earring’s gone. It ain’t dignified. No one wants to see their parents rock.”

(Entertainment Weekly, 2010)

On 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.”

(TV Guide, 2011)

On who he chooses to work with:

“I live by something called a no-asshole rule. Whatever it is I’m considering, I ask myself, whoever I have to deal with in this project, if they call me at 11 o’clock at night, will it be O.K.? I don’t want to have to pick up thinking, Oh, that asshole’s on the phone.”

(Time, 2015)

On #MeToo movement:

“I came out of a brutal, oppressive business that was historically unfriendly to women. I knew a lot of women, it turned out, who had stories about their experiences — about people I knew — who did not feel I was the sort of person they could confide in.”

(Bravo, The Daily Show, 2018)

On his girlfriend’s personal #MeToo reveal:

“I started speaking about it out of a sense of real rage. I’d like to say that I was only enlightened in some way or I’m an activist or virtuous, but in fact, I have to be honest with myself. I met one extraordinary woman with an extraordinary and painful story, who introduced me to a lot of other women with extraordinary stories and suddenly it was personal.” 

(Bravo, The Daily Show, 2018)

On recent Royal wedding:

If you or anyone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Contact Nany Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.