Food in the News: The Anthony Bourdain/Paula Deen ‘Feud’

You may have heard about the rant Anthony Bourdain went on regarding the various hosts featured on the Food Network. He criticized the influence and even the personalities of everyone from Guy Fieri to Rachael Ray. His comments may be warranted to some despite the fact that they were unprovoked (though he has apparently been repeatedly asked who he thinks the ‘worse chefs’ are). Read more to see how he saved the ‘best’ for last- for Paula Deen herself.

A gonzo journalist by nature, Bourdain travels extensively and really delves deep into the world of food, discovering the culture and history behind the people who make the cuisine and the way their influence is felt globally. By comparison, many other television chefs are confined to a kitchen space where they entertain, cook and showcase their simple ways of creating good food. Bourdain has not hidden his disdain for such television in the past and has now gotten under the skin of many with his latest comments.

In regards to Southern chef  Paula Deen, Bourdain chose to call her “the worst, most dangerous person to America” given her love of butter and what Bourdain reportedly feels are cooking techniques that promote obesity in America. Deen countered with a more subtle response, expressing that she concerned herself more with working families struggling to put food on the table and not the elite diners that Bourdain both serves and surrounds himself with.

It can be said, however, that you don’t have to shop organic and spend an entire paycheck to make sure your kids eat a healthy meal. There are affordable ways to be sure your children eat a balanced meal that isn’t chock-full of bad fats and carbs. Anthony Bourdain himself turns the spotlight on the suffering poor of Asia and Africa and shows how they make do and manage to continue their cultural cuisine traditions despite the hardships they suffer. When considering Paula Deen, one would hope that her audience is aware that they can prepare the occasional cake or fried chicken, but not eat it every day! Her food may be delicious, but it should be a reward or a holiday treat and not a way of life.

What do you think of this feud? Do you side with Bourdain or Deen? Let us know in the COMMENTS!

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  • david

    Have you a link to the article where Bourdain went on the rant?

  • Emilie
  • Chris

    I love Tony, but this was going a bit far, even for him. He is too good to gossip like this!

  • Rochelle

    I am a big proponent of healthy eating and feeding my family as naturally as possible provided it does not break the buget. That said, I believe that variety is the spice of life and Paula Deen represents a culture of food that many people (particularly southerners) know and love. It is comfort food, the stuff of family gatherings, Sunday dinners, holidays etc. Just about every dish has a story. Such food has been the language of love and the connection of family and friends in the south for generations. Bourdain’s style is more upscale, gourmet, representing the finer things in life which is also nice from time to time. I believe there is room in this world for many different styles of cooking. I choose to feed my family healthy and natural foods but there are times when we splurge and do fried chicken or cake.. especially on holidays and special occasion. And I try not to condemn people who feel differently, although I may gently educate them as to how to eat more naturally on a budget. Therefore, I feel Bourdain’s rant was unnecessarily meanspirited and arrogant.

  • http://InternetExplorer Joan

    Anthony is an a gormet while Paula is a downhome Southern cook. Never the twain shall meet. Most people could not afford Anthony’s style and should not make a daily habit of Paula’s either. It was not gentlemanly of Anthony to single out Paula with such a mean statement.

  • barbara

    How good life would be if we all followed our parent’s suggestion to say nothing if we can’t say anything nice. Having an opinion is one thing, but there is a way to do that without hurting anyone. I personally think Paula Deen is more showmanship than a genuine food chef, and her sons have only followed her fame. That does not mean I would hurl critical statements at her, nor to Anthony. I have a delete button on computer and a remote that allows me to change channels. Each of us would sleep better if we were honest, but not hurtful toward others. We need all types of food preparation, by the way. I wouldn’t single one method out over another; I simply would use the one which worked for my family.

  • Sugel

    However I appreciated his honest efforts to stumble into the 21st Century wine world and find him still to be perhaps the most and good-natured of the Dinosaurs of Wine Journalism..Until yesterday..Yesterday Suckling Tweeted a link to about his encounter with No Reservations host author and chef Anthony Bourdain in Cuba. James Suckling holds dual US-UK Citizenship which coupled with his journalistic credentials as one of the worlds foremost cigar critics the lifestyle-magazine equivalent of the guy who reviews link NSFW affords Suckling the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time in Havana..You can read the full post for all its bizarre-ness but essentially Suckling learned that Anthony Bourdain was coming to Havana to shoot an episode of No Reservations. He then effectively stalked Bourdain so he could end up at a table next to him while filming. He then was perturbed when after accosting Bourdain unannounced after the shoot name-dropping the cigar documentary he was filming and offering him an example of the aforementioned Bourdain was merely politely disinterested instead of eagerly sycophantic..Sucklings post runs the gamut from egotistical to tasteless to just plain idiotic and has irreversibly soured me to a guy I gave the benefit of the doubt to far longer than I should have.

  • Carl Eggers

    I agree with the guy. After 70 years of “southern food” I know first hand it will slowly kill a person and as far as the woman is concerned she thinks her stuff don’t stink. Like every one eles- it does. Carl

  • http://Recipe4Living Connie Hancock

    Second try to post this. Not fun to have to re-type it. I love Paula Deen. I have never seen or heard of Anthony Bourdain. That being said “in the olden days” people had to make their own butter,cream,ect.. grown their own veggies,had to raise,kill & clean their own meat. They did not have the “luxury” of going to the store & buying alot of things. Let alone know what “healthy” eating was. I choose to watch Paula Deen-I choose to buy her magazine-I choose to make her recipes sometimes. I live in California & have never been to the South for their much talked about Southern Cooking & Food. I do not beleive Paula promotes obesity.

  • Debra Damminga

    Give me a break! I watch Bourdain and
    also the Food Network shows. They are
    all fun to watch and I can decide what
    I like and whether it works for me and
    my family. As someone already mentioned,
    variety is the spice of life. Obesity
    is a problem but for most people they
    have a choice in what they eat and don’t
    need the government or a snob like Bourdain
    to tell them so.

  • Jackie R

    I occasionally watch the Food Network and find most of the shows/chefs enjoyable if not always what I would choose to cook. That said Mr. Bourdain’s comments were rude, insolent and uncalled for. You may express an opinion “gently” about less fat in foods, better choices, more natural, closer to nature etc. I would respect your opinion and take it under consideration. But unfortunately his arrogance and high opinion of his own skills and show only allowed us to see what a real jerk the man can be. His opinions on things in the future will be in question as we can see he is not able to be fair or unbiased.

  • Chris

    Bourdain is an innovator. Can’t say the same for Deen!

  • Justin Playfair

    I know this is an old post, but I couldn’t help but mention that Bourdain is now lending his name to a candy bar that sells for $100 per pound. Are we to believe that Bourdain is stupid enough to think that candy bars are healthier than what Paula Deen cooks? No, more likely Bourdain doesn’t mind unhealthy fare as long as he’s the one pocketing the profits, which by any reasonable definition makes him a hypocrite.

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