Anthony Bourdain has gluten-free intolerance. He can eat bread just fine — it's the people who insist on proselytizing about their medically dubious grain-free lifestyles that piss him off.
The culinary icon is currently on the cover of Adweek after being named one of the magazine's 30 Most Influential People in Food, and it's not hard to see why: Beyond his wildly successful CNN series, there's also his upcoming food hall project in Manhattan, a recent cameo in a major Hollywood film, and a new cookbook dropping this fall (with a speaking tour to go along with it).
Adweek talked to Bourdain about everything from Chick-fil-A to Frito pie; here, the best excerpts from the interview:
On product placement — and lack thereof — on Parts Unknown: "The angriest mail I get is from beer nerds— people who are craft beer enthusiasts and see me drinking a cold, available beer from a mass production and they get really cranky with me, and they assume that I'm plugging it or something. In fact, I just like cold beer, and my standards rise and fall depending on access to cold beer."
On the rise of YouTube food stars: "I don't know any of them, but I'm all for it. ... Even the worst of them in principle do good for the world, and the more we talk about food, the more people that are interested in food, the more people that are interested in cooking."
On Korean food's current surge in popularity in the U.S.: "Now this is exactly what everybody wants and is craving and what the cool kids want—spicy, funky, fermented, that whole spectrum of flavors."
On annoying dietary trends: "Look, before you start boring me to death at a party about how you got gluten-free, you know, if you think you have a disease as serious as celiac disease, shouldn't you see a fucking doctor before you make this big move?"
On New Yorkers boycotting Chick-fil-A: "I support your inalienable right to say really stupid, offensive shit and believe really stupid, offensive shit that I don't agree with. I support that, and I might even eat your chicken sandwich."
On what to expect from his upcoming cookbook Appetites: "Meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, budae jjigae, the [Korean] army stew—stuff that makes me happy, that I crave, that I would try out on my daughter, that seems to work at home, but also some strategy of tactics. For instance, how do you get through cooking for a big holiday meal, a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, without killing yourself and your family?"
On high expectations for his international food hall in NYC: "We cannot disappoint, OK? One grandmother comes in and says this Hainanese chicken is not at all like what I enjoyed back in Singapore or this budae jjigae is totally not anything like what I enjoyed in Seoul, and we're doomed."