Critic's Notebook

So You Think You Know Anthony Bourdain? Meet Him for Real.

In a revealing New Yorker profile.

By Kathryn Robinson February 16, 2017

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Bourdain, for real.

Image: Facebook

In the spirit of the Rorschach test that is culinary bad boy Anthony Bourdain, readers interested in him and/or the geopolitical/sociocultural aspects of food should consider committing themselves to the loooong profile of Anthony Bourdain in this week’s double issue of The New Yorker.

The one with the darkly brilliant smoking Statue of Liberty torch on the cover.

I say Rorschach, of course, because nobody seems to be neutral about the mouthy recovering heroin addict and kitchen rat and Kitchen Confidential tell-all author who’s picked fights with Alice Waters and Emeril Lagasse and who delights in eating gross-out food on his CNN show Parts Unknown. You love him or you loathe him.   

Me, I changed my mind about him reading Patric Radden Keefe’s somewhat detached yet telling piece.

There are surprises. At the risk of spoiling, I will merely mention that Bourdain’s fanatical devotion to authenticity—his most animating and genuinely admirable characteristic—makes an unexpectedly inspiring read, even as the story reveals a new Bourdain enterprise that sounds ersatz in the extreme.

Gotta read it.

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