Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain was interviewed by Amazon's David Blum for a Kindle Singles Interview. Throughout the course of the 9,500-word interview Bourdain tackles the current state of restaurant criticism, remembers his drug-addled past, and even manages to takes a stab at Amazon. He notes that, "Critics are a dying breed. They've been replaced. It's now a big bathroom wall." Below are the interview's top ten quotes:
1) On life as a chef: "You're sort of a fly in aspic when you're in the kitchen. You don't develop a lot as a person when your whole life is spent in a kitchen with other cooks."
2) On eschewing roles: "I definitely did not feel any obligation to keep the leather jacket well past the point where that's dignified... If anything I feel — if I feel any pressure, I put pressure on myself to subvert any expectations whenever possible."
3) On his culinary skills and Les Halles: "I was doing food that I loved. I made a good steak frites. Choucroute. Cassoulet. Nobody expected me to come up with anything innovative or world-changing, which was just fine."
4) On brunch: "…the worst case scenario."
5) On Amazon and privacy: "They know more than the NSA. The NSA is not permitted by law to know anything close to what Amazon knows. "Judging by your past purchases, we think you'd like…." You're right! Oh my God!"
6) On great chefs: "The great chefs understand human desire... There's a lot going on. Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller. There is Mom's voice in there somewhere. Because without that, it's a sterile experience. It doesn't really resonate as powerfully as it could."
7) On restaurant critics: "Critics are a dying breed. They've been replaced. It's now a big bathroom wall. Anybody can write on it ... Even the best, even the people who really set up a firewall, and really try hard to do the right thing — the New York Times comes to mind — they are still living in something of a bubble. However hard they try. Jonathan Gold is the last honest man."
8) On Yelp: "Some chefs borrow money, they do everything they can, they kill themselves, it's the culmination of a career working 100 hours a week or more. They finally open a place and within eight minutes of opening, some asshole has posted on Yelp, 'Worst meal ever.' You can understand why they go insane..."
9) On a contemporary chef's career: "There's a real future in cooking. Snorting coke and getting high on the job is not acceptable in a good restaurant now because there's real hope for the chef now ... Chefs get actual respect now. People actually care what the chef thinks."
10) On molecular gastronomy: "The techniques have been incorporated in a very graceful way, into an everyday experience. It's not necessarily laboratory food."
— Devon Walsh