The Reason Anthony Bourdain Couldn't Stand Rachael Ray

Anyone familiar with the late legendary chef, author, and TV host Anthony Bourdain knows he didn't pull any punches with his opinions, especially about food. Throughout his decades in the spotlight, he had some high-profile (and often one-sided) clashes with other well-known chefs and food personalities. One of the most notable was with Rachael Ray, the Food Network star and cookbook author known for "30 Minute Meals," but what was behind Bourdain's disdain?

Among his earliest criticisms was what he saw as Ray supporting what he considered "junk food." He took issue with her promotional campaign for Dunkin' Donuts, something he considered akin to "endorsing crack for kids."

Bourdain also strongly criticized Ray's "30 Minute Meals" format on multiple occasions. By telling home cooks they could buy pre-chopped onion at the store, Bourdain argued Ray gave them the takeaway that, in his words, "I could cook, but [instead] I'll finish this bag of Cheetos and that gallon of Diet Pepsi before dying of diabetes." Anthony Bourdain even went as far as calling Rachael Ray a "bobblehead" and "freakazoid," as well as labeling her the "anti-Julia Child."

Feud resolved?

To be sure, no one could accuse Anthony Bourdain of being unable to take it as good as he dished it out. At a 2012 roast (attended by Ray, among other friends and foes), he offered his opinion that it's "perfectly appropriate" for public figures he took on to reply with their own critiques.

Although Anthony Bourdain sadly died in 2018, Rachael Ray has since revealed more about the relationship between the two. In a 2019 Instagram post showing a photo of her with Bourdain, Ray wrote that he was "cool and brilliant" and someone she "respected very deeply." She explained the two had found common ground over time through their shared love of food, music, and humor.

Despite Bourdain's often prickly personality, Ray's not the only one with fond memories of a man just as talented at guiding viewers through a foreign destination as he was whipping up a gourmet dish. A look at what celebrity chefs remember most about Anthony Bourdain includes descriptions like "inspiring and generous" from friend Eric Ripert. One of his idols, legendary chef Jacques P├ępin, praised his journalistic skills, saying Bourdain "revealed the food in such a way that it became a window into the people and their values and aspirations." While Bourdain's loud and public criticism of Rachael Ray may have raised plenty of eyebrows, it was just one small part of their relationship and Bourdain's complicated character.