As you have probably heard about five times by now, Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw, contains a chapter called “Alan Richman Is a Douchebag.” It lambastes the GQ critic for writing a scathing review of Les Halles just weeks after Bourdain publicly called him a douchebag.
Rebecca Marx got in touch with Richman to ask him about that review, and why he wrote it. The writer confirmed that it was, indeed, a vendetta:
I wrote the piece with the intention of getting even with Bourdain. I admit that. But I had no ill-will towards Les Halles. To be honest, Bourdain is such an untalented cook that I expected it to be better than it was when he worked there. Instead, I found an appalling restaurant, one of the worst in New York. … Even more disgusting than the food was its dishonorable exploitation of Bourdain’s fame. … I think, in retrospect, it was one of the most useful and serviceable reviews I’ve written — nobody else had said how dreadful one of the most crowded restaurants in New York had become.
And now Bourdain is on Eater, responding to the response …
In [GQ food writer] Alan Richman’s case, I was pissed off. I think I’d made my case as succinctly as I could in the chapter. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s done. Now if he wants to take shots at me, he’s well within his rights from this point on and that would be entirely appropriate. I just hope he doesn’t take his wrath out on innocent third parties.
I thought the Les Halles review was grotesque. If I was supposedly an honest broker of opinion and a food critic, the standard should be: Would what I just wrote require a correction in the New York Times or would I possibly be fired by not pointing out that this man called me a douchebag a few weeks ago? I never would have reviewed this place if my agenda was simply to hurt by proxy.
Meanwhile, the Gulf fills with oil and Sarah Palin may actually be the next president … but we’ll be over here obsessing over these two dudes and their pissing match.