Mess with the Cooks, You’re Messing with Tony

On Monday, we reported on the Beard Awards, and how Florence Fabricant of The New York Times had indulged in a mild tut-tutting over the switching of the gala to Lincoln Center, a venue with no kitchen.

Now, Tony “Do You Kiss Your Mama with That Mouth?” Bourdain has weighed in on the same subject. Commandeering author Michael Ruhlman’s blog, he starts out his flame with a quick recap of the Beard Foundation’s past troubles (multimillion-dollar embezzlement by a former president, little money going to culinary-school scholarships), then cuts straight to the chase—namely, the switch from the Marriott Marquis.

This venue had the appropriate—one would think—virtue of actually having a fucking KITCHEN. Presumably—and I’m just guessing here—COOKS like—when laboring for free to put their restaurant’s best foot forward and bring honor to their clans—to have an actual KITCHEN. You know..that place where they actually COOK?

He then goes on to recount an episode in which he challenged an (unnamed) Beard Foundation honcho to start doing something for “the people who are actually doing the cooking in this country—the between 30 and 70% of restaurant employees of Mexican and Latino origin—of varying legal status. I was thinking a few bucks set aside for free para-legal advice. Maybe a widely accessible library. English lessons.”

The Beard flack’s ever-so-earnest response? You’ll have to read it yourself, but we’ll agree with the poster who describes it as “so far beyond Clueless it would take the light from Clueless ten thousand years to reach it.”

Still, Tony Bourdain shooting his mouth off about “the industry” is nothing new; really, his bad-boy rep depends on it. What’s more interesting is finding his rant on the site of Ruhlman, a man who’s made his career by playing nice with the big boys, from the staff of the CIA to haute cuisine gods like Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert.

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