by China DeSpain
Categories: Entertainment, Film/TV
Tags: .

The Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain, host of the wildly popular No Reservations, is known for speaking his mind, being politically incorrect, and eating some crazy things (seal eyes, anyone?).

In a recent interview with Playboy, the chef was his typically irreverent self, slamming vegetarians and vegans, criticizing PETA’s videos on foie gras and mocking other popular chefs.

While discussing the exotic foods he is fed on his travels, he had this to say about vegetarians: “They make for bad travelers and bad guests. The notion that before you even set out to go to Thailand, you say, ‘I’m not interested,’ or you’re unwilling to try things that people take so personally and are so proud of and so generous with, I don’t understand that, and I think it’s rude. You’re at Grandma’s house, you eat what Grandma serves you.”

And his opinion of vegans is even worse. When asked why he “loathed” the vegan lifestyle, Bourdain’s response was both simple and telling: “Being a vegan is a first-world phenomenon, completely self-indulgent.”

Bourdain’s derision is not strictly reserved for those who avoid eating animals or who might turn down his host’s offerings. He also stated that he will never eat in a Wolfgang Puck pizzeria, openly criticized the food that chef Emeril Lagasse used to prepare on TV, and had some choice words for journalists who’ve reviewed his restaurants.

He also has opinions about the fois gras industry, and the way that animal-rights activist portray it. “I don’t know any chef who would buy the kind of foie gras that is produced the way they show in those PETA films. No restaurant I know of would buy the product of a stressed-out, terrified, abused goose or duck. That equals bad foie gras. But it’s a straw-man issue to start with, because every duck and goose raised for foie gras in this country, at least that I know of, lives a far more luxurious, happier, better life than any chicken ever killed for the Colonel or Popeye’s, as the PETA people well know. They’re picking on foie gras because it’s French, it’s expensive, most people haven’t had it and it looks ugly in the scary films they show.”

But Bourdain isn’t opposed to all conservation efforts. He’s against eating shark fins, calling the practice “incredibly cruel” and “wasteful.” He’s also concerned with childhood obesity, and supports Michelle Obama‘s fight against the problem, although in typical Bourdain fashion, his reasoning is a tad unusual.

“We might need to draft these kids to fight off terrorists and invaders. Sarah Palin and all these others, are they arguing that one out of seven or two out of seven kids having type 2 diabetes within the next few years is a good thing? I fully support your right as an adult to eat yourself to death. I would greatly prefer that if you’re going to eat yourself to death, you enjoy yourself while doing it. But a morbidly obese kid? No, that is wrong.”

For more on the opinionated chef, including why he was willing to have a meal with rocker Ted Nugent, despite their vastly different politics (Bourdain is firmly liberal) and his struggle with drug addiction, head on over to Playboy. But keep in mind, the interview is crude and a bit NSFW.

About China DeSpain

China DeSpain is a San Antonio-based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain

View all posts by China DeSpain →
  • LittleMe

    In all honesty I’d rather be a ‘bad guest’ than cause unimaginable pain and suffering to animals. But then I suppose I’m just being self-indulgent…

    • katee

      lol great

  • Meghan

    I was appalled when I read this interview – thanks for covering it. Here’s my repsonse, from a vegan’s perspective, if you’re interested! Anthony Bourdain Loves Sheep Testicles, Hates Vegans:

  • Des Bellamy

    Of course veganism is First World. In the Third World, they love their foie gras and caviar. Wouldn’t touch rice and lentils with a silver spoon.

    Tell me Mr Bourdain, when the Namibians were serving you their Third World speciality “unwashed warthog rectum” (“No Reservations 3:4″), flavoured no doubt with tears of laughter at the stupid Westerner, didn’t you just wish that for that moment you could say “sorry, I’d love to, but I’m vegan”?

  • Nezu

    Bourdain is one of the few decent human beings to grace popular TV.
    As someone who cares about animals, I don’t think there is any arguing with him. If your planning on being a guest in a meaty foreign home, you should consider providing your own food.

    • Rachelle

      I agree–there’s no arguing/debating/reasoning with people like him…You just have to say “F*ck you” and move on. LOL! His opinion is just his opinion.

  • herwin

    I love it when people like him talk stupid ! Makes us vegans look good !
    Funny him mentioning Thailand. Thailand just ended its annual ten-day national festival the Vegetarian Festival, celebrated nation wide and in which a couple of million people join and eat veg for ten days.
    Veganism a first world thing ? Oh, the ignorance of it. Probably never visited countries like Taiwan with a veg restaurant in every street and where vegetarian still means no eggs and little if any milk.

    • herwin

      Thanks for posting this article. After reading it a few times, i suddenly did get a liking to the guy, he simply speaks his mind in a sincere way, i can apreciate that.
      Of course, as a meateater he “loathes the vegan lifestyle” just as much as i “loathe the meateating lifestyle”. Thats only logical.
      And as a meateater, i think he has a point in trying diferent foods, and not making a diference between a McBurger and seals eyes. LOL.
      He DOES make a diference though when it concers cruel foods like shark fins.
      He doesnt have his facts straight though. When he says PETA only attacks fois grass because its French and for rich people, etc., he seems to be unaware that PETA has a whole campaign against KFC, and not only attacks rich peoples food ?

    • Earth

      Do you know who this guy is?

      Of course he has been to Taiwan. I think he is mostly reserving the criticism for travelers that refuse to try local dishes because of their status as a vegeterian and vegan.

      Culturally, the East offers numerous vegeterain and vegan options. However, imagine going to someone’s house in a developing country in Africa and/or South America. You are a guest and they graciously prepare a meal for you; using their time and resources. Unfortunately for you, they add meat or some form of dairy. Then you simply refuse to eat it. This is what Anthony Bourdain hates. This is what I hate.

      With this said, I am a vegeterian. When I am a tourist, there are plenty of vegeterian options. However, part of me knows that I am truly missing out on the true cultural experience of every place I visit. I am not vegan because my grandma is Turkish and it breaks her heart that I cannot eat all of her cooking.

      • herwin

        its all a load of bollocks to me, the whole “they graciously prepare a meal and you have to eat it” kinda thing what Anthony says. Its false and hypocritical and respectless for any guests.

        Its simple. Imagine, lets say, a Hindu visiting a westerner and join a meal.( a non hindu). I am sure everybody including Anthony wouldnt even suggest the Hindu is rude for refusing to eat cow meat, if served.

        Everybody would understand and defend the rights of the Hindu refusing and explaining why he doesnt eat cowmeat AND not being labeled a “Bad Guest”.

        In a way, it is xtremely RUDE to cook something for your guest and expect that your guest eat it even if its against his beliefs or lifestyle or simply doesnt like it. It is rude because obviously the host is not interested in the guest and simply doesnt care about his guest.
        Its like giving a Cindy lauper cd to a Ramones fan and expecting him to like it.

  • dana

    I don’t see any real difference between eating foie gras and shark fins- they’re both incredibly creul but for whatever reason self-righteous foodies will defend foie gras but be quick to push for a ban on shark fins.

    If those foodies actually liked the taste of shark fins more, they’d push just as hard as they do against a ban on foie gras.

  • Olive Oliver

    he doesnt against eating shark fin. i watch him eat it on a reservation episode. he has no guilt at all .he bashing vegan all the time on the show.well, im not a vegan but i respect one. shark fin its cruel.but his show make me sick and i never watch his show ever again after that.