At a raucous, funny, and profane New York Wine & Food Festival panel Friday night, David Chang and Anthony Bourdain scorched the earth of the food world. Dubbed “I Call Bullshit!” their wide-ranging discussion singled out several foods and food trends for scorn, targeted several chefs, named very few things they liked (Wylie Dufresne, Jeremy Fox, the ethnic restaurants of Queens, and Grub Street among them), drank a lot of beer onstage, and, overall, called for a more creative spirit in New York cooking. (Europe is years ahead of New York, charged Chang.) We’ve distilled their rage into ten separate beefs.
Cupcakes. “I hate fuckin’ cupcakes,” said Chang.
San Francisco. “Fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate. Do something with your food,” said Chang.
Overexposed Foods. Pork bellies are the new tuna tartare, Chang asserted. That said, he passed on answering Bourdain’s question: “Is bacon less cool because Paula Deen likes it, or is it always cool, like Orson Welles?” As for cheeseburgers on a Krispy Kreme doughnut, Bourdain called it “a war crime.”
Guy Fieri. Cooking is not about “fuckin’ sunglasses and that stupid fuckin’ armband.” If he ever does that, “throw [him] down the stairs,” Chang said.
Career-Changers Who Want to Start Cooking Professionally at 30. Cooking is “grueling physical labor,” said Chang, adding that he’d never seen anybody start “that late” in life and succeed.
Hell’s Kitchen. “They’re shooting the wounded on that show,” said Bourdain. But he defended Top Chef (which he’s appeared on), praised Tom Colicchio, and explained, “On that show, the worst chef that day goes home and the best chef that day wins. That’s not bullshit.”
Alice Waters. While both men applauded “her message” and Chez Panisse’s game-changing cuisine, Bourdain likened her to a hippie who doesn’t grasp that the poor can’t afford organic milk.
Type As. Like the people who take pictures and notes on the food at Ko. “The food’s getting cold,” Chang observed.
Critic Alan Richman. His insistence that celebrity chefs actually cook in their own restaurants is ridiculous, the two concluded. Richman just wants chefs to “kiss his ring,” said Bourdain. “I’m going to Emeril’s restaurant — do I suddenly expect him to pop up and say ‘Bam!’?”
The Biggest Bullshit of All. Chang: “Gray Kunz and Christian Delouvrier, the two greatest chefs in New York, are still trying to make a living.”