A Chef Who Won’t Duck Questions

Anthony Bourdain is not a shy chef. The popular host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations and author of The Nasty Bits is known for pulling pork, not punches. And his latest public statements about the politics of the dinner plate are no exception. Speaking to a video crew at the libertarian Reason magazine, Chef Bourdain summed up the animal-rights fight over foie gras in a way that captures exactly what’s going on behind the scenes:
Basically it’s people who don’t want you to eat any meat at all. And this is the spear point. It’s a vulnerable way in the door to get an easy win, a high-profile win. And they can then point to that and raise more money to go after the next thing.

You know, they’re smart. They know they’re not going to win going after battery-farmed chicken and the Colonel, or McDonalds, right out of the box. They’ll go and pick on small, artisanal, traditional farmers with suspiciously French accents—an ingredient that ‘only rich people can afford,’ and few understand.

Not that Bourdain finds propaganda battles distasteful. He allows that “it’s okay for PETA to use propaganda to scare people away from foie gras.” But the outspoken gourmand quickly adds that “when you start terrorizing chefs and extorting them, I think you’ve crossed the line.”
We also appreciated Bourdain’s thoughts about the latest push to mandate fat, calorie, sodium, and other nutrient labels on restaurant menus and menu boards:

On one hand, I don’t want people putting battery acid in my food. But on the other, I don’t feel that I need a twenty-page informational pamphlet telling me the cholesterol and contents of every special at every restaurant, as some people are suggesting … Essentially, we’re being infantilized by our government.

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