Skip to Main Content

Vegans vs. Anthony Bourdain?

I think the opposite is clearly a bit closer to the truth if you look at this quotation from chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain:

“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.”

Don’t get me wrong—I like Anthony Bourdain as much as any vegan really can. I read Kitchen Confidential, and I enjoy No Reservations and his bad attitude in general—just not when it’s directed at me.

In reaction to ole Tony’s disdain for those of us who avoid animal products, a blog appropriately titled Hezbollah Tofu has started up to prove that there’s nothing lacking about vegan recipes, even when they’re based on Bourdain’s own recipes.

But wait! It gets even better. Now we can see how these veganized versions are stacking up against Tony’s originals. Endless Simmer lets visitors vote in its regular “Who Cooked It Better?” series, and this time it is Bourdain’s French onion soup vs. Hezbollah Tofu’s veganized version.

Thanks go out to Brendan for the tip on this great story.

Commenting is closed.

    LOVE all the commments. Oh God; I love you guys!

  • Tyler Durden says:

    “TV Chefs are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.”

    The nerve! Telling us we’re not living our lives to the fullest, when he’s wasting his life making television shows. Sheesh.

  • Ivy says:

    I read Kitchen Confidential years ago and I loved it. When Bourdain got a tv show, I was thrilled for him as I like his quirky, raspy dry, self-deprecating, New Yawka sense of humor. I watched the show before I went vegan and I really liked it. Now as a vegan, I just can’t get into it anymore as I realized wayyyyyy too much time is spent on dead animal recipes all over the world. The man seems to have almost a dislike for vegetables. I’m sorry to hear of Bourdain’s disparaging of vegans, that’s the final nail in the coffin lid for me. The best offense is a good defense, as more people go vegan, Bourdain’s show (at least his bad attitude toward vegans)will just naturally fade away. But the man should really do a show with vegan chefs just to prove if he REALLY has “no reservations.” By the way, love everybody’s comments on this page so far.

  • Sara says:

    What I think is interesting is that in the interviews he does promoting his show, he actually comes across as very respectful of the cultures, aware of the importance in food in many traditions and interested in the stories behind the food. Perhaps the issue isn’t that he really hates vegans, it’s that he doesn’t really understand the story and real issues from the people behind the food. Maybe we can encourage his program to have “no reservations” at an organic farm or with a vegan community.


  • rjj says:

    I have seen his show, hes a tv hog, out for a buck, when the cameras are off and the editing begins do they leave out the part when he spits out the animals parts that his mouth really didnt have the guts to swallow nor his stomache enudre. No of course not…Hes a typical human who believes in this crap that all animals are ours to do with what himans want, depsite the immense suffering it involves, look at thw workld and the constant abuse of animals whether for food clothing trim or fur…Its time these wimps and their “food shows; wake up to reality and really have a reality show for what it is meant to be…the good and the bad and then we will get more people to switch, As stella mccartney said if we all visisted a slaughterhosue we would stop eating meat instantly….
    LETS HOPE we can end most of the suffering that end up on our plates.

  • We're ALL Better Than Bourdain says:

    Bourdain’s comments should be seen for what they are, a CHEAP PUBLICITY STUNT by a truly TALENTLESS chef.

    His “I’m an A$$HOLE & PROUD of It” SCHTICK probably isn’t impressing too many people these days.

    And I’m guessing that Tony’s show is having a few “RATINGS PROBLEMS” and that he DESPERATELY needs to generate a little “MEDIA ATTENTION”.

    His BOOK SALES have probably SLIPPED a little too. Oh my…. that’s so very like, “tragic”.

    BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! : )

    Someday, Bourdain’s “Parisian Roadkill Diet” may earn him a nasty little case of A$$ CANCER.

    And then he’ll be able to “impress” all the the other patients in “Chemo” as he swaggers, make that “staggers” down the hall in his cowboy boots. He’ll be the guy with his A$$ hanging out of his hospital gown, the guy that’s sneering out nasty “one liners”.

    WAY TO GO TONY! Say something funny DUDE! No really! Put down the COLOSTOMY BAG and say something FUNNY! I am now SNEERING at YOU Bourdain! SNEER!

    Now, HAUL your little CONSTIPATED A$$ all the way back to JERSEY, if they’ll have you. DOUBLE SNEER!!

    You’re really much better suited for a job at DENNY’S, or is that not PRETENTIOUS enough for THE DIVA OF SPRAY CHEESE! TRIPLE SNEER!!!

    I’ve now achieved the “SNEERGASM”, the ultimate in TANTRIC BLISS! : )

    And now I’m ROLLING OVER and FALLING ASLEEP because you’re starting to BORE me TO-TO, but it was fun while it lasted.


  • Gideon says:

    Hezbollah actually slaughter animals on a regular basis for thir silly holiday rituals. they’re not vegan. it’s a bad metaphor. vegans are against killing. hezbollah are all about killing.

  • Tired of Bourdain says:

    I try to keep an open mind when it comes to stuff. I really do. But no matter what he’s doing, from critiquing people on Top Chef to eating a still beating cobra heart, Bourdain is an all out jacka–. He is one of the most self-righteous people on TV today. As much as I love watching Top Chef, I turn off the episodes when he’s on there. To say that a veg*n is the “enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit” makes me wonder what kind of a life he leads when he’s not on camera, especially after what things he does when he’s on. For someone who’s so willing to eat raw cow rectum, you’d think he’d enjoy the creativity and flair involved in veg*n cooking. That we make use of various textures, spices, herbs, and oftentimes uncommon foods.

    I understand that by working as a chef in an omnivore’s world it can be a bit frustrating to have things going a certain way all the time, only to have an oddball customization throw a monkey wrench in it. But that’s what happens if you work in a mass production restaurant. If you work in a privately owned one branch only establishment, a chef should be able to delight and appreciate in the ability to add some flair to his or her work.

    I think food is food. I’m not a big meat-eater. I’m still in the process of becoming vegan. It’s taking me some time to do it but I know there will be great rewards. My fiance will more than likely always be ameateater. But I think anyone who claims to be a foodie should be open to all ideas and concepts. Just because you don’t eat it doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the thought that went into the process.

  • Sara says:

    While I understand that trying to please a vegan maybe irritating to a chef, Bourdain just doesn’t know how irritating it is for a vegan to find a chef “worth a damn”. Furthermore, to say that we do not enjoy food is ridiculous. To be Vegetarian or Vegan to me is culinary joy. I revel in cooking delicious meals with a variety of flavors, textures and design. To bake a beautiful cake without eggs or dairy is a novel and delicious accomplishment, to me and my omnivore friends. All that I have learned about nutrition since I have become veg is icing on the proverbial cake. To me the pure enjoyment of food comes when the food itself is purely delicious.

  • Ekta says:

    A good chef is someone who can make anything taste good. Looks like Mr. Bourdain will not be able to do much with handful of veggeis, and I am pretty sure I can whip up a fabulous dish with them. So I wonder…….whos the good chef here??? 😉

  • charlotte bliss says:

    Anthony Bourdin – what a short sighted complete MORON. so his pleasure is more important to him than making people aware of the acute suffering endured by millions of animals… and making people aware that a non meat dish is delicious, colourful and very enjoyable.

    Give me veggies over some mingfest, disguting intestines anyday.. eating meat does NOT make you cool, its SO last season 😉

  • Bri says:

    I, like everyone else here, think that Anthony Bourdain is a narrow minded ****.
    I’ve only recently become a vegetarian (with intentions of eventually becoming vegan) and i have no idea why people are so against it! Even before i turned vegetarian i was willing to try foods that didnt contain meat, and enjoyed them.
    Although i can say that if you had asked me a few years ago that i wouldnt understand why people were vegetarians – but that was because of being ignorant to the amount of cruelty that goes on within the farming industry – therefore i think that Anthony Bourdain is just ignorant and should get himself educated! ANIMALS ARE NOT OURS TO EAT

  • Olivia says:

    As a “newbie vegetarian” I read this blog and the comments on it and thought “hmm”. How can any chef think so negatively about other people’s eating choices. If Anthony Bourdain is that narrow-minded and ill thinking of vegetarians then he obviously has a lot of learning to do. It’s better to have no opinion of something, someone, or a group of people then learn something about them than to think ill thoughts of them right off.

  • Dan says:

    Anthony Bourdain is a selfish tool. He thinks that animals are a resource for humans. He thinks that eating all these animal products makes him some kind of real man/tough guy. I think he’s a p*ssy. I think he wouldn’t eat any of this sh*t if he had to had to kill it himself.

  • Ali says:

    A huge issue I have with Bourdain’s comment is his open hatred of a certain group of people. This statement wouldn’t be okay if he were insulting a person’s race or religious affiliations. I take veganism seriously; it is a belief system for me, and I am upset that he would be that disrespectful about it.

  • Rosha says:

    k, i’ve never even heard of him nor his show. But now i REALLY dont wanna know.

  • Rio says:

    After reading Kitchen Confidential, I really don’t have a lot of respect for this addled drug-addicted guy’s opinions. Every other chapter was a description of what drugs they were doing (and they did all of them), and he seemed to think that it was a requirement of being a part of his kitchen staff. Sorry, but I know lots of folks who can throw down amazingly without relying on the crutches of drugs OR meat products.

    I also feel that his inability to cope with vegetarian cooking demonstrates a remarkable lack of creativity. Not only that, but after reading his book, I wondered how he would cope with a low budget, if he didn’t have access to his fancy Normandy butter, shallots, truffles, and foie gras. Any culinary school dropout can do “amazing” things with pricey ingredients; it’s a true master who can build a fabulous meal from modest materials.

  • Holly says:

    Chris, I totally agree with your last statement. He would not be as frustrated as a chef if vegans/vegetarians with the drive to stamp out factory farming/environmentally hazardous consumption practices were not eating at his joint(s) in the first place! Vote with your dollar people! Instead of bashing the guy and getting angry, put your time, energy, and money elsewhere. We all know his attitude is potty, but WHO CARES…it is up to those who actually know what destruction HIS diet and menu do the Earth to DO SOMETHING. Why buy his books, his videos, etc? I for one believe veganism is a life choice that highly involves how and where you spend your money.

  • Kaylie says:

    I love this show, but I can’t believe he would be s disrespectful. I am a vegetarian, working my way to veganism, and I respect meat eaters’ point of view entirely. However, I ask for respect in return. If Bourdain wants to eat meat, thats fine, but he has no right to go knocking vegetarians and vagans, it’s a personal decision.

  • thatveganchick says:

    Any food can taste like crap if it’s not well prepared, meat or otherwise. I don’t see how someone ordering a dish “meat free” is any more difficult than someone else ordering “without onions,” et cetera, to suit their allergy needs. Anyone worth their apron should be adaptable in the kitchen for just such circumstances.

  • Chloe Jo says:

    Can you tell us where to write the charming fellow some kind missives? I went to, but couldn’t find a contact for him. Can’t wait to let him know what I think of him… Thanks! 🙂

  • Sara Pekar says:

    Well, I have talked to many chefs who don’t see a Vegan as a threat, but a challange to please thier pallette. So, seeing us as the “enemy” is a coped out b/c someone who can REALLY cook can please any diet!

  • Chris says:

    Thank you Josh (above). As a person who has been a line cook for many years myself, it is simple to see things from Bourdain’s point of view. I have read Kitchen Confidential. I eat vegan. However, unless you have really worked in a restaurant kitchen environment, it’s very difficult to understand just what goes on back there.

    While I do not support the killing of animals for human consumption, I do support Anthony Bourdain’s efforts in culinary enlightenment. It is a difficult task and I think he is suited for it.

    While his view on vegetarianism may be a bit narrow-minded, anyone who has been a line cook in a non-vegetarian restaurant knows exactly where he’s coming from on that point. I don’t personally agree with him, but working in an extremely high-volume restaurant and getting someone who orders something “no meat” or “no animal products” is frustrating. It says volumes more if you look at the menu, write down the recipe (and veg-ize it later), and walk out of the restaurant than to simply order your item and have it customized to your liking. When you order something veg-ized you’re still putting money into the restaurant which in turn goes to the farming industry. Do the veg world a favor and take a stand against restaurants who do not have veg menu items already created for us.

  • Jaclyn says:

    LOL! Good point Mylie!

  • Mylie says:

    Does Anthony not realize that everytime he eats a gross animal part on T.V. that someone, somewhere, goes vegetarian? 🙂

  • Chrissie says:

    Anthony Bourdain is outspoken. It’s the persona he’s made for himself and it’s what the public expects of him. I would not take it as a personal attack against Vegetarians or Vegans – it’s just his way of expression, be it as offensive as it is sometimes!

  • Anthony "Night_Raid" Walsh says:

    I have to say, this seems like it will be a great match. I did like his show the few times I watched it, but I have to say that, (as someone just recently starting into veganism (is that right) that I have seen both sides, and am voting for the tofu =D.

  • Adrian says:

    I think Mr. Bourdain should be served a plate of Ratatouille. lol

  • Fran Takacs says:

    I have watched this show with an open mind even though I am vegan, my boyfriend is a meat eater. Even he was disgusted by this “mans” appetite. Goes to say, we no longer watch his show. I do not know if this show is meant to shock people or disgust them, but his attitude is definetly close minded and I find him very rude. A decent show this is not! I feel he should be taken off the air. This would do a favor for both veggies and meat eaters.

  • Andrew M says:

    I think he missed the point a little. Even if vegan food was tasteless crap (which it needn’t be), that doesn’t make it anymore acceptable to eat meat. The morality of an act isn’t related to how much you enjoy doing it. If babies were incredibly delicious, would it be okay to kill and eat them?

  • Josh says:

    As a vegetarian of 15+ years who spent many of those years working in kitchens, I’m one of Bourdain’s biggest fans.

    I don’t take offense to his outlook on vegetarians. As “right” as we all know that we are about the reasons for living a meat-free lifestyle, we can’t expect everyone to agree with us. My wife respectfully disagrees with my reasons. It’s ok. I’m not out to convert anyone.

    On another note, I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the great work!

  • Jaclyn says:

    I really enjoy No Reservations, but I feel guilty enjoying the show because he’s such a vegetarian hater!!