Anthony Bourdain has long been the anti-celebrity chef, keeper-of-the-cool in the culinary world. He been touted as the guy who just “got it,” who knew that good food wasn’t measured by the price tag. But as holistic and punk rock as his approach has been to dining, he seems to have a pretty severe blind spot when it comes to coffee. When Belle Cushing of Bon Appetit asked about his coffee strategy on the road, Bourdain stated:
Et tu, Anthony? This has caused quite a disturbance in the Force, with many folks in the coffee world taking to Facebook to write a takedown, a rebuttal, or just a good old-fashioned rant. And there are some pretty infuriating bits amongst all that horse plop (does anyone in Mumford and Sons actually HAVE a man-bun? Can someone fact check him on that?), but perhaps none more enraging than Bourdain’s ordaining of coffee as unlifestyle-worthy.
Never one to pull any punches, Bourdain probably meant to be a little inflammatory with that last little button, to go after the hot new culture de jour, which happens to be coffee right now. But reducing coffee to just a “beverage” is cheap and it’s unsubtle, and it makes him look like an asshole. Art is just doodles. Philosophy is just chin stroking. Food is just calories. See how easy that is? His little platitude doesn’t hold up some mirror to the coffee world, forcing us to take an honest look at ourselves and see what shams we all are for putting so much personal and professional time into just a “beverage”. When we look in that mirror, all we see is a leathery pair of Bourdain butt cheeks, because that’s really what he’s showing us.
But really, and this is the larger point at hand here, who gives a shit what Anthony Bourdain thinks about coffee? Maybe this means there won’t be good coffee at Bourdain’s million-dollar street food kraft hall when it opens in 2017, but so what? The dude doesn’t like coffee culture and he doesn’t have to, but we don’t have to pay him any nevermind, either. His coffee hot take reads like that of an out-of-touch old man throwing out a few (dated) cultural reference points he learned in hopes of staying relevant (again, I don’t think anyone in Mumford and Sons has a man-bun). Why should we treat it as anything more than that? I mean, he says it in the first sentence that there are few things he could care less about than coffee. That should tell you just about all you need to know about how much he’s thought about coffee culture and how much weight his opinions on it should be given.
So as much fun as it would be to write a scathing takedown, to cry “Fraud!” and let slip the verbs of war, there really isn’t much of a reason to do so. Because when it comes to coffee, Anthony Bourdain is completely fucking insignificant.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*top image via Cottages & Gardens