Bourdain bashes beer, gets backlash

Mad world. Proclamation: First We Feast continues to be the only publication some of us (ok, me) want to read in the waning pre-election light. On Tuesday, the site published the latest in its recent cache of Anthony Bourdain-related stories, a compendium of social media sendups aimed at the surly former chef, which lit up Twitter after he lashed out at craft brew devotees for liking what craft brewers do.

It also gets to the heart of one of food and food media’s weirdest phenomena.

Well, actually, the micro-saga is really more ironic and delightful than that. It also gets to the heart of one of food and food media’s weirdest phenomena, which is that if you’ve ever been involved in food and making food important to people, you are rarely allowed to publicly disregard food’s importance and sanctity without people getting mad. At which point you have to get mad. And then they get mad. And you… I digress. Back to irony.

Here’s what evidently happened. After visiting a San Francisco bar where Bourdain spotted some “hipsters” (his–or FWF’s–word, never mine) drinking beer out of flight glasses and taking notes on flavor, he laid into the crew in a subsequent Thrillist interview, calling the behavior “antithetical” to what people should be doing in bars. “A bar is to go to get a little bit buzzed, and pleasantly derange the senses, and have a good time, and interact with other people, or make bad decisions, or feel bad about your life,” Bourdain told Thrillist. “It’s not to sit there fucking analyzing beer.”

The irony, of course, is that Bourdain is supposed to care about flavor notes and stuff. Because he made the mindlessly consuming masses we used to be care about flavor notes and stuff. Right?

Next stop was Twitter purgatory, where Bourdain was relentlessly castigated for having at one time instilled in people a love of and appreciation for the artisanal and then, years later, encouraged them to just chill out and drink and not make such a big deal out of craft.

Public persona in conflict with private behavior? ‘Tis the season for that, it seems.

Also tagged

Kate Cox is The Counter's editor. She oversees partnerships and edits investigative, feature, and senior staff reporting. Prior to joining The Counter in 2015, Kate was a freelance reporter for radio and text, focused on health policy and the American age boom. She has written for The Guardian, The Nation, Huffington Post, and others. She holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she produced and reported a three-part radio documentary on the nation's first emergency shelter for victims of elder abuse.