Anthony Bourdain Had Super Strict Standards For His Scrambled Eggs

If you stumbled into your kitchen determined to wake your weary bones with warm, tasty scrambled eggs, then good for you. Eggs give you a great hit of protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamin D — so much so that the FDA is pushing for eggs to be officially called a healthy food. Plus, making scrambled eggs — even on our grumpiest, groggiest mornings — is super simple. You crack an egg in a bowl, dollop in milk or cream, whisk it until it's a consistent mix, turn on your pan, toss your eggs in, and wait. The egg concoction firms. You smash it up, plate it, and then you eat.

Except that's all the wrong way to do it, according to the late, great chef Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain died in 2018, yet his genius advice for how to keep simple recipes simple still reigns supreme. On the matter of scrambled eggs, he was insistent. Keep this dish about the egg — and only the egg. 

Bourdain explained his stance in a 2016 interview with Insider Tech, "People find a way to overcomplicate them and screw them up." Bourdain's strict standards highlight a minimalist approach to what should be added to and kept out of scrambled eggs. Plus, he recommended a specific flick of the wrist that ensures you get actual scrambled eggs, not an overworked eyesore. 

Milk is for quiche, not scrambled eggs

No milk, no cream, no thank you. You can use butter in a hot pan, but nothing else should be added. Anthony Bourdain felt adding dairy is better for quiche recipes than scrambled eggs. Bourdain was not alone in thinking this way, either. Martha Stewart also adds nothing to her eggs before scrambling, but not all culinary greats agree with this simplistic concept. Chef Marcus Samuelsson, for instance, credits the addition of melted brown butter for boosting his scrambled eggs into something great. 

Not Bourdain. Using a little salt and pepper is fine, but other than that, Bourdain relied on good technique. Bad technique, according to Bourdain, would be whisking eggs into what he described as a "sort of homogenous yellow." Instead, scrambled eggs Bourdain-style starts by stirring fresh eggs with a fork until the mix looks like a blend of yolks and egg whites, not like a hand immersion blender went after it. 

The whole process sounds, by Bourdain's own admission, "old school." You stir your egg mix (but not too much), and you add it to a hot pan (but not too hot). Making this dish is as much an art form as it is science — except for the spatula work. For this, Bourdain said the movement should look like you're making "a figure-eight pattern" to incorporate the eggs together while they form. If the final dish resembles chopped-up bits of bite-size scrambled eggs, then you have missed the mark.