Normally the subject of such fawning pieces as “Three Cheers for Anthony Bourdain” (on Time’s TV blog this week), Tony the Tiger has been taking some flack on the Internet lately. And not just from folks he has besmirched in print. Over at SF Gate, restaurant consultant Clark Wolf doesn’t seem to have gotten over that whole “figs on a plate” talk that Bourdain had with David Chang. “Frankly, I consider [Bourdain] the Rush Limbaugh of food,” he writes. “He makes cash spewing vitriol and lunacy designed to appeal to the struggling classes — workers and diners alike — he actually exploits.” As for Chang, he’s “rude, limited in scope and not particularly true to a vision even he doesn’t quite grasp.” Clark accuses Bourdain of merely posing as a rocker (“very Courtney Love, with lots of plastic surgery”), but come on — Bourdain has never denied being a sellout. Defending some blatant product placement for Chase in No Reservations he recently told a Miami crowd, “In the end, I'm a whore. It was never a matter of whether or not I was a whore. Really, I was just haggling over the price.” But for some truly off-base accusations of exploitation, we turn to the good folks at Eater.
You probably thought nothing of it when Bourdain released a video calling upon fans to enter a contest in which the person that best answers the question “Why Cook Well?” gets their essay reprinted in the paperback of Medium Raw. Or maybe you thought: Bourdain obviously got roped into some dopey promotional gambit by his publisher, and here he is, in something resembling a hostage video, asking readers to submit their entries. Poor schmuck. Eater, however, felt that sympathy should lie with the winner of the contest, since he or she wouldn’t be getting paid for the 500-word essay: “Now we're crowd-sourcing print media too?” Now, an apparently none-too-pleased Bourdain has contacted the site and offered to “pony up ten grand for the exploited author/winner” on the condition that “Eater/Raphael [Brion, the author of the post] will present it.”
If you win (quoting the Dead Boys or Jim Harrison, or mentioning Siberia in your first sentence is a safe bet), don’t feel too guilty about taking Bourdain’s Benjamins — the man has been said to make $1.5 million per year.
The Raw and Uncooked [SF Gate]
Bourdain Hates on Vegans and Tells Cracked-Out Kitchen Stories [New Times]
Anthony Bourdain Will Publish But Not Pay You [Eater]