Listen, I get it if Bourdain isn’t your cup of tea. The man is opinionated and abrasive and to say he has a checkered past is an understatement of a staggering size. But we can’t keep “well actually-ing” every single person. Anthony Bourdain will be the first person to tell you what an ass he used to be. And that’s just one of the things I like about him. He’s honest. He’s also a jerk. But he’s an equal opportunity jerk. I’m a vegetarian and, have you read or heard some of the things he’s said about vegetarians? (If you haven’t, read his book Kitchen Confidential, or better yet, listen to the audiobook; it’s a treat.) I should be offended by the things he said about that, yet I’m not. Why? Because that’s his opinion and it doesn’t diminish the other things I love about him. And probably because some vegetarians can be really big jerks too.
Another thing I love about Tony is that he’s obviously come a long way. He knows what an ass he was in the past and it seems to me (at least from what I see on his show, see from his tweets, and see from his interviews) that he’s trying to be a good person now. And for the most part, I think he’s succeeding.
The man has been in the restaurant industry for 30 years, and he accepts how terrible that industry has been to women. He’s speaking out about this now, and it’s yet another reason to cheer him on. In this interview with CNN, he calls out the “meathead bro culture.” It’s refreshing to listen to someone talk honestly and openly about the harassment they caused, or in his case, were a part of the culture that enabled and supported that environment. He says the restaurant industry has been “traditionally and pervasively hostile to women.” Take a listen:
Obviously, we (or rather, you — men) have a very long way to go. But it does feel like this could turn into a tide that sweeps in real, meaningful changes. For my part, on this topic, I’ve started to favor restaurants run by female chefs (which is probably easier for me to do, given where I live). For movies and TV, I know some of you (myself as well) boycott Polanski movies. What else can we do?
Ursula lives in Chicago and likes potatoes very much. You can follow her here.