A Brief History of Anthony Bourdain Insulting Other Food Celebrities

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When Anthony Bourdain isn't crapping on Icelandic delicacies, he's trash-talking other celebrity chefs. The man does not mince words when it comes to donkey sauce disciples or even fancy French maestros -- and because his words are always entertaining, we collected a bunch in this recap of his most notable feuds below. You may never know what it's like to be branded the "hellspawn of Betty Crocker and Charles Manson," but Sandra Lee sure does.

Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives

Guy Fieri

The history: One of Bourdain's most famous (and most heated) beefs is with Mr. Fieri. Although Tony insists in Medium Raw that he doesn't hate Guy Fieri (he just really hates "the idea that somebody would put Texas-style barbeque inside a fucking nori roll"), it sure seems like he has a problem with the guy. He's referred to Fieri's Times Square restaurant as a "terror dome," gleefully ripped on the dude's love of Nickelback, and claimed you'd get Fieri's clone "if Ed Hardy fucked a juggalo." Damn.
Have they made up? Of course not. Fieri even fought back at Bourdain's charity roast.

Rachael Ray

The history: A couple of years ago, Bourdain was routinely dismissing Rachael Ray as a "bobblehead" or "freakazoid" who couldn't cook. He was especially pissed about her stance on pre-chopped onions (she's for 'em), and basically called her the anti-Julia Child in an especially brutal analogy.
Have they made up? Yep! Rachael apparently sent him a fruit basket, then he felt bad about saying nasty things about her, so he stopped. Looks like the bobblehead played this one just right.

Wolfgang Puck

The history: This one's a little trickier. Bourdain clearly respects Wolfgang Puck -- he's called him an important chef on several occasions -- but, like your parents after you blew out the car window with a keg, he's just disappointed. In an interview with Playboy, he laid it down like this: "Listen, I’m not eating in his shitty pizza restaurants. I think it’s bullshit, and it breaks my heart to see him on QVC or whatever." He also called treason on Puck's move to ban foie gras in all his restaurants in 2007.
Have they made up? It's unclear how Puck feels about the whole thing, and Bourdain's tempered his insults a bit here. But he certainly hasn't apologized.

Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee

The history: The only person who even comes close to Fieri on the Bourdain spectrum of scorn is Sandra Lee. He's called her "pure evil" and the "hellspawn of Betty Crocker and Charles Manson," and he takes issue with her heavy reliance on store-bought ingredients (i.e. canned frostings), which led to a spectacular meltdown over her now-infamous Kwanzaa cake. The "eye-searing" disaster made him "mad for all humanity," and several years later, he's still not over it.
Have they made up? In Medium Raw, Bourdain tells a bizarre story of Lee approaching him at the Julie & Julia premiere after-party. She apparently snuck up behind him, started groping his waist, and told him he'd been a "bad boy" for trash-talking her in the press. He summed up the whole incident as "closer to Cape Fear" than erotic. Sooooo, maybe?

Gordon Ramsay

The history: Perhaps out of fear, Bourdain is a little more careful with his Ramsay burns. He rarely outright rips him as a person -- in fact, he's said before that "Gordon's actually a really sweet, nice guy." But he called Ramsay's move to copyright Spotted Pig (and thereby screw over the owners of the renowned New York spot) "shameful pathetic." And he's very vocal about how much he hated Hell's Kitchen.
Have they made up? This is a pretty minor one, and Gordon thrives on this stuff, so they're probably fine. Even if there was no public mea culpa.

Alice Waters

The history: There's an entire chapter in Medium Raw called, "Go Ask Alice" that takes Waters to task on her voting record, cooking credentials, and essentially her whole image. Bourdain's mad about all of it, but the gist of his rant is that Waters promotes this locally sourced, fresh food agenda without A) taking into low-income families, and B) worrying about sustainability.
Have they made up? Nope. Bourdain never really backed down, and Waters made a parody Twitter account because, as she put it, "Tony has always been something of an ass to me."


Alain Ducasse

The history: The French chef might be more of a niche foodie figure, but that didn't stop Bourdain from treating his fans to a multi-page Ducasse rant in Medium Raw. Bourdain credits the man with nearly destroying fine dining (all of it!) with his eponymous restaurant. According to Tony, Ducasse's utter pretentiousness made luxury dining rooms "dangerously uncool" and left customers angry and offended "that anyone, much less this out-of-touch French guy, would think [they] were so stupid.” He closed out by calling Ducasse an "arrogant fuckwit," which stings across all languages.
Have they made up? There's no coming back from "arrogant fuckwit," so no.

Paula Deen

The history: "The worst, most dangerous person to America is clearly Paula Deen. She revels in unholy connections with evil corporations and she's proud of the fact that her food is fucking bad for you. Plus, her food sucks." Well, it doesn't get more plain than that screed, which Bourdain delivered in a 2011 TV Guide interview. He also threw some social media shade Paula's way after she revealed her diabetes diagnosis, though he showed surprising restraint during Deen's 2013 public scandal.
Have they made up? Paula hit back on severaloccasions, but both seem to have softened in the past couple years. Maybe one day they'll ride off into the sunset together. On a giant stick of butter.


The history: Emeril was one of Bourdain's earliest targets. All the way back in Kitchen Confidential, Tony casually references his "naked contempt for... the cooking of Ewok-like Emeril Lagasse." He then spent many years bashing Emeril's numerous shows, and generally giving the guy no respect.
Have they made up? They have! Though he insists he's still not a fan of Emeril's cooking shows, Bourdain admits he should've given the guy more credit. They're kinda friends now -- Bourdain even wrote a scene for him in Treme.

Kristin Hunt is a staff writer for Thrillist, and thinks Sandra Lee might be even scarier in a Cape Fear situation than Robert Mitchum. Or Robert De Niro. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.