Anthony Bourdain knows that you know he has lots of opinions. He's famously (or infamously) shared his harsh, well-crafted thoughts on Yelp, airport food, and even the movie Baby Driver. The celeb chef is also vocal on more serious matters, like the Harvey Weinstein scandal and what it means for the restaurant industry.
Refinery29 recently caught up with Bourdain at a screening of his web series Raw Craft, produced by The Balvenie whiskey. His most recent episode, with Dominique Ansel, gives a rare glimpse into Bourdain's appreciation for the sweeter side of life. We took the opportunity to ask about some of his iconic popular (or unpopular) opinions, a few of which may have even shifted a little throughout the years.
How Easy Is That?
While Bourdain’s fame and TV shows have allowed him to meet many of his personal industry heroes, he has also famously, clashed with big-name food celebs like Guy Fieri and Martha Stewart. When asked if there are any major stars who he thinks gets it right, he did come up with one name after a long pause: Ina Garten. “I’ll make a little fun of her now and then, it’s very perfect in Ina World, scarily so,” he admits, but “what she cooks on TV is legit and instructive. If you do as Ina does, chances are you are going to get a good product…I got real respect for her.”
Sugar & Spice & Some Things Nice
In Bourdain’s latest episode for Raw Craft, he visits Dominique Ansel, the creator of the cronut. He says he’s not “a sweets guy,” so it takes something “extraordinary” like the the things that Ansel creates to grab his attention.
“A lot of people will come and eat your freakish, Instagrammable food, but will they keep coming back? It helps when its good. Everybody wanted a picture of themselves with a cronut… but at the end of the day its actually quite delicious The quality is there, you’ll want another one," he says
His favorite Ansel creation, however, might be the DKA, a take on the classic Kouign Amann (Refinery29 agrees) and the frozen s’mores, which he calls “genius.” Aside from that, however, he enjoys “antique and unloved” desserts from classic French cooking, like tableside Crepe Suzette or Ouef A La Neige, a floating island of meringue in a sea of crème anglaise.
Does anything simple ever catch his fancy? He finally says that when it comes to the more quotidian sweets, he will swipe a peanut butter cup from his daughter's Halloween haul, though few others will tempt him.
Pumpkin Spice Surrender?
And as for the most basic of fall dessert flavors, pumpkin spice? Bourdain’s still not a fan of but, while he once wrote that he wanted to see it, “drowned in its own blood,” he’s since softened his stance. “ I don’t see anything out there that I instinctively hate in an existential way,” he tells Refinery29. After all, with pumpkin spice, he now sees himself as “outvoted.”
“I sound like a complete curmudgeon at this point,” he admits.
Watch Bourdain's Raw Craft Episode with Dominque Ansel: