Part of the reason Anthony Bourdain has been so successful as a chef, author, and television personality over the years is the fact that the man has a built-in bullshit detector. In an industry that often thrives on duplicity—making sure the lighting and color is just right on a mediocre dish in order to titillate and tease—food-media needs an unofficial ombudsman to keep the scales balanced.
In 2016, nearly every celebrity—chef or otherwise—must have a cookbook to show their prowess in the kitchen. From Chrissy Teigen and Ayesha Curry, to Questlove and Lady Gaga, the cookbook industry is a booming business, one that promises the average stay-at-home chef the opportunity to cook like a pro after reading a few short pages.
In an interview with the Canadian lifestyle magazine Nuvo this week, the always irreverent Bourdain points out the biggest problem with the current state of America’s cookbook obsession.
“Everyone lies in cookbooks,” the chef says simply. “That’s why they’re generally so frustrating. Nobody ever tells you, for instance, that you’re going to screw up hollandaise. It’s not gonna happen for you the first time. It takes professionals many repeated times."
“You’ll notice at the end of every segment they always sum up what we just saw, then they tease out what we’re about to see after the commercial,” Bourdain said in April. “Television in general is an environment where most of people who work in television live in a state of perpetual terror that they’re going to wake up and not be on television anymore.”
Bourdain's own forthcoming cookbook, Appetites, is expected to hit shelves in October, and will hopefully be a more honest, profanity-laced foray into the world of the kitchen.
"Within the pages of Appetites and in conversation with Bourdain, there are still hints of latent anger," Nuvo writes. "The recipe for steak appears on a bloody page with a headline that reads Big Fucking Steak. Similarly, the first line of the dessert section is “Fuck desserts,” though the next line is, “OK. I don’t mean that.”