Anthony Bourdain , the host of the Travel Channel show ” No Reservations ” , riled not a few people when he criticized Food Network stars Paula Deeen , Guy Fieri , Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. In an interview with TV Guide , Bourdain blasted Paula Deen as ” the most dangerous woman in America ” , saying “She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she’s proud of the fact that her food is f—ing bad for you. If I were on at seven at night and loved by millions of people of 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.”He later used Twitter to modify his comments saying that Deen is “hardly the worst person in America, just the most destructive influence on [Food Network].”
About Guy Fieri , the popular host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” Guy Fieri, Bourdain said “I’m glad that’s not me”. As for Rachael Ray, Bourdain asked “Does she even cook anymore? I don’t know why she bothers. To her credit, she never said she was good at it.” He then discussed an interaction he once had with Sandra Lee, Bourdain stated : “Don’t mess with her. I rarely feel uncomfortable, but she has a powerful force. I hate her works on this planet, but she is not someone to be dismissed, clearly.”
As can be seen from the above , his strongest comments were about Paula Deen and she responded in kind and at length .
On Fox and Friends , she fired back on Friday, saying ” I was actually kind of shocked considering I’ve never met Anthony, “I know he’s never been to my home; I’ve never cooked for him. I don’t think he’s been to my restaurant. I was really shocked that such harsh words could be used.Deen said she has no idea what prompted Bourdain to lash out at her, but suggests it could have been a publicity stunt. “I don’t know if it was a publicity thing or if someone had just peed in his bowl of cereal that morning and he was mad.” ( LOL)
She told the New York Post that “Anthony Bourdain needs to get a life. 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. I wake up every morning happy for where I am in life. It’s not all about the cooking, but the fact that I can contribute by using my influence to help people all over the country. In the last two years, my partners and I have fed more than 10 million hungry people by bringing meat to food banks.” Also, My good friends Rachael, Guy and Sandra are the most generous charitable folks I know. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills . . . It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable.”
Paula Deen’s response was impassioned but it misses the point . Bourdain was not criticizing her character ; he was criticizing the food that she cooks . For reasons that escape me , millions of people watch Paula Deen’s show and get a wrong idea of what they should eat. Her dishes are drenched in butter , loaded with fat , sugar and calories … exactly the wrong things for our obese nation.
In a conversation with Bill Moyers , the food activist Michael Pollan made these points : The food supply system in the U.S is incredibly wasteful . The huge government subsidies benefit giant agri- businesses more than they do family farms . These corporate giants grow food far from where consumers live and spend incredible amounts of fuel to get the food to market.More fossil fuel is used to produce and distribute food than any other activity, including driving to work. The five crops most heavily subsidized are corn , wheat , soy , rice and cotton. Much of the corn is used to produce high-fructose corn syrup and ( along with the soybeans ) cheap feedlot meat. The food distribution system has become highly centralized and dangerously vulnerable to contamination . In recent years , Americans have increased their daily caloric intake from 2,000 to 2,300 calories, much of it from corn syrup and fat and this , coupled with a sedentary lifestyle ,has caused severe health problems . Americans born today will be the first generation to have a shorter life span their parents and ,of those born in the year 2000 , one in three will have type 2 diabetes .
And that is why Bourdain went off on Paula Deen. Because her cooking glorifies all these things that are bad for us . As he himself later admitted, he was guilty of hyperbole when he called her ” the most dangerous woman in America ” , but I understand where he’s coming from. And , by the way , I don’t care for Paula Deen’s Southern charm . I think it’s put on and it leaves me cold.
As for Guy Fieri , I enjoy watching ” Diners , Drives and Drive – Ins ” , once in a while , and he seems like a fun character but I’m appalled by the food that he showcases — huge portions , laden with fat and sugar and meat. These dishes are all right once in a while , as a special treat ( and in smaller portions ) but I don’t think viewers understand that . This , and other programs like Man vs Food, foster the notion that eating more , a lot more , is fine and somehow even heroic.
Bourdain’s comment that Rachel Ray is not a chef brooks no argument. I once saw an Iron Chef America episode in which she and Bobby Flay took on Mario Batali and Giada de Laurentis . I was shocked at how amateurish the two women appeared in contrast to their partners . I don’t think Rachel Ray herself would claim to be a chef. She is a very successful talk show host and a celebrity who can cook and she has a perky , very pleasant personality but a chef she is not .
Indeed , in my opinion , the word ” chef ” has been tossed about too freely. In my book , a chef has a deep understanding of the cuisine and the ingredients and his dishes are as beautiful to look at as they are good to eat . A cook also prepares food and may have some of the mechanical skills that a chef does but that’s about it . His food is less complex , less imaginative and his presentation inferior.
Morimoto is a chef . Mario Batali is a chef . Anthony Bourdain is a chef ( though nowadays , he’s more of a TV personality and food writer). Paula Deen , however , is not a chef. She is to be admired for the way she has worked her way up from modest beginnings and become a successful TV personality but a chef she is not . As far as food goes , she’s a cook and , in my opinion , not a very good one .