What Anthony Bourdain Really Thought About Bobby Flay's Throwdown

Anthony Bourdain may be gone, but his acerbic wit and legend live on. The prolific cook and author created 5-star worthy descriptions of both the experiences he loved as well as those he hated. Incredibly beloved by other chefs too, he was described by chef and writer Daniel Patterson as famous and seemingly unapproachable, but a cook at heart who could "[rip] open the glossy facade of the celebrity chef" (via New York Times). And rip he did. In a recently rediscovered article shared on Reddit, Bourdain tore into Food Network hosts, and he didn't pull any punches. "I find myself riveted by its awfulness, like watching a multi-car accident in slow motion. Mesmerized at the ascent of the Ready-Made bobblehead personalities, and the not-so-subtle shunting aside of the Old School chefs," said Bourdain.

One of these chefs to be critiqued by Bourdain was chef Bobby Flay, specifically in reference to his television show Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Described Bourdain, "They seem to have noticed Bobby's strong 'negatives' among some viewer responses during focus groups – and decided to respond by subjecting poor Bobby to THROWDOWN; the object of which is to allow every web-fingered geek with a backyard grill – or half-mad muffin maker to proclaim, 'I beat Bobby Flay at makin' barbeque!'" The flaying of Bobby's show continued with the suggestion that the contestants had "meth labs" to tend to once all was said and done. But wait – it gets better.

Every web-fingered geek with a backyard grill

While quick to criticize, Bourdain was also quick to defend those he respects in the industry. Said the Kitchen Confidential author, "I watched poor Bobby battle to a draw recently in some bogus Southwestern 'Chili Face-Off.' Now...does ANYONE actually believe that Bobby Flay can't make a better chili than a supermarket ground beef bearing amateur? I don't. It's a cruel exercise in humiliation." His full ire is reserved for the television network itself.

Bourdain expounded, "I find the network's misuse of one of their founding chefs to be nauseatingly cynical." He sarcastically accused Food Network of hatching a "Secret Plan to rid themselves of the annoyingly big-ticket chefs – by driving Bobby to quit – or insane with misery. He may not be Mr. Cuddlesworth, but he's a successful businessman and a good chef – and he doesn't, after all, need this s***." Leave it to Bourdain to compliment a host while backhanding the show.

But there was more to him than insults that left third-degree burns. Chef Patterson reminds us that Bourdain was not only quick to call attention to wrongs or injustices that he saw but also consistent in showing the humanity of and his respect for those working in the kitchen. While Bourdain may be gone, we are fortunate that we can look back on his work and his words and continue to benefit from those things he shared with us while he was here. We miss you, Anthony Bourdain.