Paula Deen Fights Back Against Anthony Bourdain Insults

August 19, 2011

The spat between Anthony Bourdain and Paula Deen has heated up even further. In a recent TV Guide interview, the "No Reservations" host blasted Deen, Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Guy Fieri. Of Deen, he said, "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 [bleep]ing bad for you... plus, her food sucks."

Deen didn't take Bourdain's diatribe lying down. She fired back an exclusive response through Page Six in which she attacked Bourdain's lack of charity. She said, in part, "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... In the last two years, my partners and I have fed more than 10 million hungry people by bringing meat to food banks." Deen also highlighted Fieri, Lee and Ray's charitable contributions.

Although Paula Deen's Twitter account has remained mum on the spat, Anthony Bourdain's been tweeting up a storm. The following are some screencaps from this week, starting with the most recent:

@Stankalicious my comment was actually "worst, most dangerous to America cook on FN."Thu Aug 18 22:02:12 via Twitter for iPad

I love red beans and rice. Do I need it between pancakes?Thu Aug 18 21:49:44 via Twitter for iPad

What the hell's wrong with a normal Goddamn Po' Boy? I ask you !Thu Aug 18 21:48:38 via Twitter for iPad

“ I give you the "horrific" "Lady's Brunch Burger" (yikes)” this erodes our military readiness!Thu Aug 18 21:40:21 via Twitter for iPad

What was Jesus's position on gout?Thu Aug 18 21:26:58 via Twitter for iPad

A cheeseburger between donuts is no kind of "Southern" cooking. It's just bad cooking.Thu Aug 18 21:19:01 via Twitter for iPad

@NOLABravesFan Paula hardly the worst person in America. Just most destructive influence on FN. Nice lady, though, yes?Thu Aug 18 14:23:56 via Twitter for iPad

Resolved: Next time I'm asked (for the millionth time) who the worst cooks on Food Network are, I'll just shut up. Who cares?Thu Aug 18 01:55:53 via Twitter for iPad

@SoPaulaDeen No. The FN cook worst for America. As a person? I'm sure she's very nice.Thu Aug 18 01:40:20 via Twitter for iPad

Who do you think will win this PR battle, Paula Deen or Anthony Bourdain?


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RJ Flamingo's picture

Honestly? I don't cook any of their food. If I watch them, it's for the entertainment value, to learn something, and/or to get inspiration.

On the flip side of that coin, however, Bourdain hasn't set foot in a kitchen in years - he's too busy running around the world eating gross shit and pretending he knows what good food tastes like. The only current restaurant to sport his name, Les Halles, only does so in an honorary capacity. I daresay that he's had no input into their menu, possibly ever.

In an early No Reservations, Bourdain visited some dairy farm in New Jersey and positively <i>raved</i> about their cheeses. Well, we love us some good cheese and, on his say-so, located the dairy and ordered a big 'ol sampler of everything they make. I can't begin to tell you how awful this stuff was. Each cheese was worse than the one before it. If Bourdain has any taste, it's in his, um, feet.

So, while I don't necessarily defend Deen, Ray, Lee, or Fieri, I consider the source. And as far as I'm concerned, Bourdain lost his credibility from the moment he stepped outside the kitchen and decided to make his money by emphasizing his "bad boy" image, rather than his cooking chops.

Shut up, Tony.

Jo Anne's picture

Beware Food Network, as of today, I will not watch any shows with Anthony Bourdain. This no cooking, eat nasty stuff, talk nasty and look even nastier person is on my no watch list. I enjoy a variety of cooking shows but not one where the person is a no-talented no-cooking has been! He attacked 3 out of the 4 of my favorite Chefs.

Siamese Cats's picture

Jo Ann, I suspect he may have actually attacked all four of your favorite chefs, since he made a snarky comment about Giada's show to his wife on one of the Italian episodes, can't remember if it was Rome or Sicily.

I'm in an interesting place because I'm in the middle, I watch some of Bourdain, some of the others. I don't have an axe to grind one way or another. I think even Paula Deen would agree that her food is not the healthiest on the Food Network, but then Southern food generally isn't, if you want low fat and healthy, you're watching Ellie Krieger, not Paula. It meets a need, or at least a want, or a taste in food. But then, I've seen Bourdain eat some stuff too that clearly wasn't geared towards health, and its more than a little ironic hearing a fellow who has admitted to taking a good deal of drugs, and who has demonstrated repeated preoccupation with the acquisition of drugs (legal or otherwise), who drinks to excess and smokes IIRC, to be suddenly concerned with health issues.

Like many "serious" professionals, Bourdain has contempt for the Food Network, and he's made comments about their programs and philosophy in the past. Some of that disrespect may well be justified, and he certainly isn't alone in it. I've heard Christopher Kimball make repeated slams against TFN on America's Test Kitchen over the years, although obviously his style isn't nearly as abrasive, and his profile is lower.

But I also realize that while I generally learn more from PBS cooking shows than Food Network ones, everyone has to start someplace, and shows like ATK may be a little advanced, or even a little "clinical" for some people. Some people watch Food Network shows for entertainment value, and there's nothing wrong with that, either. Different strokes. I personally think whatever interests people in food, in expanding their food horizons is a good thing, however much fluff has to be added to make it more palatable.

Bourdain has made cracks about TFN before, that is part of his jaded world weary persona, or at least the persona he tries to project, but only on his own show that I know about, and he hasn't to my knowledge attacked so many of their stars and all at once. For someone so savvy he should have known that the media will try to start these kinds of catfights to sell papers, and he should have known better that the problem with attacking popular celebrity chefs is they have a loyal following that will defend them to the last breath, and if you attack so many at once, it amplifies the effective outrage. I'm not surprised he was inundated on twitter. It was incredibly naive of him not to expect such a public backlash.

And Paula Deen was right, too. Attack their food, say you don't like it, don't attack the people, don't attack their character. The two are not linked. And she's also right that she and her colleagues charitable efforts, and yes, the efforts to raise money and contributions to feed the hungry have been around for years and years, have probably done more good for the public than anything Bourdain's ever done. Its an issue particularly important to Sandra Lee for personal issues. But I suspect Bourdain has learned his lesson and will keep his opinions to himself in future.

angela's picture

Hey last time I checked restaurants make those burgers like "lady brunch burgers" DON'T you dare bring the military into aren't fit to like my husband's combat boots.

Joy Walston's picture

At least Paula, Guy, Rachel, and Sandra are not drunk when they do their shows and they are absolutly family shows.

Temperance's picture

I realize this is an old post but Tony Bourdain criticizing anyone about health issues is beyond hilarious. In fact, it may even be the very definition of irony.

Isn't this is the same aging, has been who is well known for his almost flamboyant (early) drug use, (current) overly excessive alcohol abuse, (recent) excessive tobacco use, chewing coca leaves in Peru and even (suggested by himself) consuming hallucinogenic drugs in the Amazon and Paula Dean is the dangerous one? She may be annoying, (like Rachel, Samantha and Guy) but dangerous? Other than a new diabetes drug, I don't believe any of these personalities have ever promoted, glorified or encouraged drug use. And Paula's the worst culinary culprit here? Isn't Tony HIMSELF on some fairly heavy cardiac cholesterol drugs because of his own uncontrolled gluttony? (hi kettle, you're black)

In the end consider the source. This is the same disappearing cook who once made a living talking crap about Chef Emeril as well. That was until WE ALL watched terrified Tony cower before Emeril on the Katrina episode. Face it, that was the most teary eyed and uncomfortable we'd ever seen Bourdain and Emeril looked like it took everything he had NOT to elbow Tony right in his throat.

He's also the same broke down excuse for a host that crucified Jamie Oliver for daring to televise his family that according to Bourdain (nobody cared to see and he would NEVER do on his show) Ahh, and yet again we have Bourdain irony. If I had a freakin' penny for every time I saw his wife or kid on his show..... I wonder what changed his mind? Better yet, who screamed louder? The all mighty dollar or his wife?

If I were Tony, I'd worry more about producing future stellar episodes such as Romania, Iceland, Uruguay or Cleveland and seriously reevaluate my taste in women. Aside from the obvious, she's got a mouth like a drunken sailor and has just about as much respect for other women as Tony does. Seriously, just read some of her more articulate Tweets that usually begin with her calling women bitches. As for Tony, track down how many times he's referred to eating sperm as, "a womans facial." Ya, that's respect and real class.

I'd say if Tony defines as irony then Bourdain translated must mean delusional, angry hypocrite.

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