How Anthony Bourdain Really Felt About Ina Garten

If he hadn't gone into cooking, Anthony Bourdain would have made a great insult comic. In his nearly two-decade career as a food journalist and documentarian, Bourdain tossed off many memorable one-liners — often targeting other beloved celebrity chefs. All told, Bourdain roasted just about every major chef on the Food Network roster (via E!) — from Guy Fieri to Sandra Lee to Adam Richman, and Paula Deen. However, there was a culinary star he had a soft spot for.

In a 2017 interview with Refinery 29, Bourdain was asked to name a celebrity chef he thought "[got] it right" — and Bourdain offered up Ina Garten. Garten is the host of the popular Food Network cooking show "Barefoot Contessa," which first aired in 2002, per the company's website. "What [Garten] cooks on TV is legit and instructive," Bourdain said. "If you do as Ina does, chances are you are going to get a good product ... I got real respect for her." He had kind words for her in 2015, too, during a stand-up performance at Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theater, taking a moment to praise Garten's cooking technique: "When Ina Garten roasts a chicken, she roasts it correct. When Ina Garten makes mashed potatoes, those are some solid mashed potatoes" (via Atlanta). He went so far as to admit professional envy. "In many ways, I want Ina's life," Bourdain told the Atlanta audience.

Garten had the Bourdain stamp of approval

With that said, Anthony Bourdain did, over the years, occasionally poke fun at the Food Network star. In his Fabulous Fox set, he took a dig at the picture-perfect home life depicted in Garten's cooking show. "I don't want to live in her house," Bourdain quipped. "I don't want to spend a weekend there. It gets weird in Ina Land ... 'Oh, when Jeffrey gets home, he'll be so happy I made meatloaf.' And then he comes home and you're pretty sure he's not into meatloaf" (via Atlanta). As reported by Babbletop, Bourdain has also riffed on the TV chef's staid, homemaker persona, in one instance comparing his process for writing nonfiction to "morph[ing] into ... an anally retentive, bad-tempered Ina Garten."

All in all, however, Bourdain seems to have admired Garten's work, expressing admiration for her "correct" cooking technique, and, as reported in Atlanta magazine, offering her up as one of the best celebrity chefs to have made their name at Food Network. And that's no small praise, considering Bourdain himself got his start at Food Network in 2002 (via Delish)!