There can’t be any doubt but that Anthony “Boring” Bourdain is the worst food celebrity on the planet. He even might be in the running for the title bestowed by that maniac Keith Olbermann of “worst person in the world.”
Here’s the essence of Bourdain: He spends lots of time criticizing people like Paula Deen for cooking lame-ass American food and telling people they should eat wonderful, cheap, fresh exotic foreign food instead. Yet on one of his TV show episodes, about his own home town of New York City, he was shockingly exposed. Attempting to climb the steps to an elevated park in Greenwich Village called The Highline, Bourdain was stopped by a fan who asked him where in the city he should go to get a great meal for less than $15. And guess what fantastic insight was received from Anthony Bourdain: Shake Shack!
That’s right, the best this expert on cuisine could come up with, in his own home town no less, was to send this hapless minion out for a cheeseburger, fries and milk shake. A cheeseburger! Not Vietnamese, not Indian, not Spanish, not even Ukrainian. American cheeseburgers!
What in the world is this man doing on television?
On his former TV show called “No Reservations,” Bourdain introduces himself by claiming boldly: ”I write.” But if you check out his blog, you see he doesn’t do that too often. The blog was created in December 2007, and since then he’s never published as many as 10 posts in a month. In all of 2011, he published just 19 posts, not even two per month on average.
As for how well he does it, well, just listen to the tone of voice he uses when he reads what he’s written on his TV shows. The tone is unmistakable. It’s the tone of somebody who, when he is scribbling his illiterate nonsense, feels he is baring his soul and offering deep, meaningful insights about the human condition but who, when he actually has to verbalize those scribblings, instantly sees how utterly ridiculous they are, and reads them tongue-in-cheek as if he were being forced to say something somebody else had written, and was in on the joke with the listener.
And when he has to speak extemporaneously, it’s an epic disaster. The Highline moment is a good example, but for another just listen to him struggle to offer even the most basic adjectives to describe the things he eats on his TV show. Basically, every single time he puts something into his pie hole he murmurs: ”Oh, that’s good!” It’s genuinely painful to watch it happen over and over again.
And the arrogance. Oh, the arrogance!
But by far the worst thing about Mr. Boring is his cowardice. I’ve watched many of his shows and read his blog, and I’ve never — not once — seen or heard him offer any serious criticism to any eatery he has visited. Bourdain has also been virulent in attacking fellow food celebrity Guy Fieri, apparently put off by his fawning show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Yet Bourdain does exactly the same thing himself, to the power of ten. He would have his reader believe that every single place he enters offers nothing but ambrosia, food for gods like him. Not once has he ever confronted any restaurant owner or server for overcooked, undercooked, oversalted, undersalted or otherwise defective grub. Everything’s perfect! Wow!
It’s perfectly clear, in other words, that Bourdain would never have the courage to confront any chef or owner on behalf of his viewers. The New York Times called him “childish and mean,” but that was in reference to yet another attack on one of his fellow food celebrities, nothing but negative political campaigning designed to increase, by any means possible, his ratings. It’s some sick, depressing stuff.
And there’s an even darker side: By failing to find any fault in any of the restaurants he visits, Bourdain is tacitly imply to readers that he and his staff are perfect. They never pick a bad place, and never catch a good place on a bad day. There are no weak items on any of the menus, or if there are Bourdain always avoids them. So you can trust these geniuses to steer you through any city in the world with perfect accuracy, and you’ll float in a land of bliss by following his advice.
Bourdain added to “No Reservations” with a second even more odious effort called “The Layover.” The show was ripped to shreds by TV critic Troy Patterson of Slate. It’s idiotic in the extreme. He begins by offering viewers advice on how to get from the airport into town and spends the rest of his time on absurd antics that indicate he thinks he’s fascinating no matter what he does. Visiting San Francisco he spends all his time drinking, telling viewers that if they don’t like the tiki bar in the basement of his expensive hotel, they are hopeless losers who should be exterminated.
That’s right: If you’re on a layover in San Francisco, having never been there before, Bourdain’s advice is to ignore the city’s main attractions (be like him, he says, and learn to hate beautiful views from high places, because if you like them you’re a hopeless loser). Instead, spend your time in grungy bars getting wasted. Yeah, man! YEAH!!