Anthony Bourdain has never been known for pulling his punches or having especially nice things to say about Food Network’s colorful cast of characters. In this week’s issue of TV Guide, Bourdain was asked to dish yet again about his least favorite celebrity chefs, and as usual he had a lot to say. "I look at Guy Fieri and I just think, 'Jesus, I'm glad that's not me,'" he said before musing aloud about Rachel Ray: “Does she even cook anymore? I don't know why she bothers. To her credit, she never said she was good at it.”
Bourdain saved most of his venom, however, for Food Network Grand Dame Paula Deen, straight up calling her the “the worst, most dangerous person to America” for her partnerships with corporations like Smithfield as well as her unapologetic celebration of all things butter and starch. “She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she's proud of the fact that her food is f--king bad for you,” he said. “If I were on at seven at night and loved by millions of people at every age, I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it's OK to eat food that is killing us.”
“Plus,” he added, “her food sucks."
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He later mitigated the remark during a prolonged Twitter binge yesterday, calling her a nice lady and not necessarily the worst person in America so much as the “most destructive influence on [Food Network],” before vowing to just shut up next time he’s (inevitably) asked again for his opinions on the worst Food Network cooks.
Though Bourdain had already made his promise to take the high road from now on, Paula Deen caught word of the tirade and shot back in an interview with the New York Post. “Anthony Bourdain needs to get a life,” Deen retorted. “You don’t have to like my food, or Rachael’s, [Sandra Lee]’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… I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable.”
Addressing his comments about her food, Deen added: “Not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. 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.”
While we’re not sure what paying the bills has to do with Krispy Kreme hamburgers, and on the other hand we’re pretty confident that Anthony Bourdain actually spends as much time on rough situations and social strife has he does on the finer things, at least Bourdain’s final Tweet should put a lid on the feud for now.