Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain isn't shy about controversy -- after all, his career took off with his book "Kitchen Confidential," which told readers about behind-the-scenes life at chic restaurants. (My wife, who loved the book, learned that head chefs almost always take Monday off, so it was years before I could get her to go to a decent restaurant on that day.) But now Bourdain may have bitten off more than he can chew, by slamming TV chefs such as Paula Deen and Rachael Ray. In an interview with TV Guide, he said Deen was the "worst, most dangerous person to America ... . She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she's proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you." Of Ray, he said, "Does she even cook anymore? I don't know why she bothers. To her credit, she never said she was good at it." Don't sugar-coat it, Anthony.
The victims have begun to fire back, of course, with Deen saying, "I don't know if it was a publicity thing or if someone had just peed in his bowl of cereal that morning and he was mad."
But as Bourdain well knows, cooking is beside the point on TV. My wife is a great cook, and probably has extended my life expectancy by several decades with her healthy meals. Still, there's something endearing about Deen's personality, and my wife has even suggested eating at her restaurant, The Lady & Sons, if we ever get to Savannah. If she can win health-conscious folks over while touting dishes like country fried steak, why can't Bourdain lighten up? Hasn't the guy ever eaten a plate of fried chicken and greens?