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.