5 Bitter Anthony Bourdain Feuds: Paula Deen, Rachael Ray and More

February 29, 2012

Alice Waters

alice waters

The Attack: In 2009, Bourdain said, "I'll tell you. Alice Waters annoys the living shit 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 greenmarket. There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic."

The Response: Silence, although in 2011, Waters played a fun April Fool's joke by claiming to author the @RuthBourdain Twitter account, which mashes up Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain.

The Resolution: Gothamist contacted Anthony Bourdain in 2009 to clarify his statements. Here's what he wrote:

I don't have any burning issue with Alice Waters, a restaurateur and visionary whose accomplishments clearly dwarf my own, so I doubt it. In a perfect, candy-colored world, I'd like to eat most of what she'd like to see us eat. I feed my daughter mostly organic food whenever possible -- and greatly admire what Dan Barber is doing. My comments were a heartfelt reaction to her wildly hubristic letter to the (then) president-elect, a document whose tone, timing and content I found distasteful -- particularly coming from someone who hadn't even bothered to vote in the four previous elections.

True, I am suspicious of wealthy suburbanites who preach "back to the soil" philosophies -- as if most -- or even many -- could start digging subsistence gardens in their back yards or afford expensive organic or locavore lifestyles. But Chez Panisse was inarguably a cradle of the food revolution. I respect Alice Waters' enormous contribution to changing the way we eat and cook today. No one can take that away from her. No one should try.

I intend to treat her with the respect she rightly deserves. She says some stupid shit sometimes—and she is certainly free to call "bullshit" on me when I do the same. I might, in the spirit of good fun, point out that following even my own not particularly distinguished career in kitchens -- most of it in view of the "Choking Victim" sign, I DO, at least, know the Heimlich maneuver.




Dianne Jacob's picture

You saw the date on that piece about Alice Waters being Ruth Bourdain, right?

Marissa Brassfield's picture

Gah! Wishful thinking. Thanks, Dianne and Lauren!

Lauren Edlund's picture

The Alice Waters/Ruth Bourdain admission was an April Fools joke.

Perry P Perkins's picture

I've called B.S. on the whole Tony vs. Paula thing, lol -


Marissa Brassfield's picture

Perry, that's genius. I think you've hit the nail on the head.

Perry P Perkins's picture