Chef Loves Melting Pot


Baylen Linnekin profiles Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and head chef at New York's Brasserie Les Halles:

"America is a mutt-culture, isn't it?" he writes in The Nasty Bits. "Who the hell is America if not everybody else? We are -- and should be -- a big, messy, anarchistic polyglot of dialects and accents and different skin tones. Like our kitchens. We need more Latinos to come here. And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women."

NEXT: Say (None of the Above) to Michigan!

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  1. Nothing against Latinos, but I should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.

  2. Nothing against Latinos, but I should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.

    Wow. Let’s hear it for the Prime Directive!

  3. Andy, Andy, my old friend…

  4. Nothing against Latinos, but I should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.
    Only if it is on rich Corinthian leather.

  5. Anthony Bourdain is such a bore. I don’t understand why he’s always profiled so positively. I caught “No Reservations” a couple of times. His schtick was “Look at all these bozo tourists being led around town like sheep. What idiots. I’m going to find some craphole where I can get drunk and complain about everything – that’s how to experience this city. God, I am so cool.”
    And I’m sure he’s really getting into all the subtleties of the fine cuisine he’s eating as he puffs on his cigarette. I hear all the great chefs coat their tongues with tar to help them appreciate good cooking.
    God, I hope he’s not the best pop culture rep libertarians have going. Give me Penn Jillet (sic) any day.

  6. kebko,

    Kitchen Confidential is not a travelogue. Maybe you would enjoy it more – no tourists. Pretty outrageous stuff happening in those kitchens. I recommend the audiobook with him reading it.

    Over the weekend I read a novel he wrote. Bone in the Throat It was much better than I expected. Sort of Elmore Leonard meets Kitchen Confidential. Nothing heavy. Lots of violence, drug use, cooking.

  7. Fair is fair. We native-born should have the same chance of impregnating latino women.

    kebko–You must have watched a different show than I did. Bourdain is self-depricating enough that I know he doesn’t take himself all that seriously. Half the fun was watching him eat food that is unthinkable to a westerner. Good fun that!

    Let’s keep in mind this is basic cable budgets he’s working with. I doubt few could ad-lib an hour’s worth of commentary that’s still entertaining and informative. Not everything he did can be a winner, but his shows are better than most of the fare out now.

    ‘Cept for Galactica.

  8. “America is a mutt-culture, isn’t it?”
    Alas, no.

  9. And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.

    I smell a typo. I think he meant “your” women. I doubt he wants his wife impregnated by a Latino.

  10. Bordain was divorced fairly recently. She must have been a very patient and understanding woman to have stuck with him through some of the low points he describes in “Kitchen Confidential”.

  11. It is obligatory that I comment whenever I see the words, “anarchistic polyglot.”
    Now, if we could see the word, “nudistic,” I’d be hitting the trifecta!
    Life is good! All is getting better with this woild.

  12. Good to see I’m not alone in pondering Bourdain’s libertarian tendencies. To outsiders, his attitude may rub off as elitist machismo, but that’s the sort of crusty sneer you’ll get after working thirty years in the hellish and often thankless world of professional cooking.

    Having been back-of-house staff in several upper crust eating establishments, I can assure you Tony’s anecdotes are far from hyperbole.

    The biggest draw, for me, is the acerbic defense of balls-out gastronomy. And if you’ve worked in kitchens, the writing takes on a nostalgic appeal that makes you believe you survived a world war or some shit.

  13. ‘And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women.’

    By God, there’s a sentence you don’t hear every day.

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