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20 Foods Anthony Bourdain Didn’t Like

We think of celebrity chefs as willing to try anything, and for the most part, they do. Still, that doesn’t mean they like everything. In fact, there were several types of food Anthony Bourdain hated.

anthony bourdain with an emmy

Years after his tragic death, Anthony Bourdain remains a colossal figure in the culinary world.

During his life, he turned countless hole-in-the-wall restaurants into tourist destinations. If he liked something, it meant something. It also meant a lot when he disliked something.

Below, read about the 20 foods Anthony Bourdain hated the most and why he found them so abhorrent.  

Brioche Hamburger Buns

Anthony Bourdain didn’t dislike brioche dough or bread. He just didn’t like it used as a hamburger bun.

Fresh homemade burger buns with sesame

Brioche buns have a shell-like exterior that doesn’t absorb liquid well. That’s what disqualifies them from hamburgers, according to Bourdain. 

He firmly believed that a good hamburger bun should absorb all the juices that leaked out from the scrumptious meat, and since brioche doesn’t do that, it was a no-go for him. 


Club Sandwiches

Bourdain railed against the club sandwich in his cookbook, Appetites.

club sandwich with turkey and bacon and side of french fries

It wasn’t the combination of bacon, deli meat, cheese, and vegetables that he found disgusting, though.

It was the extra piece of bread in the middle, which he encouraged all of us to part ways with.

In his opinion, it was an unnecessary addition to the meal that blocked the flavors of the other sandwich elements. 


Frito Pie

Frito pie is a southern delicacy consisting of a small bag of Fritos smothered in chili, cheese, and spices. Its portability makes it a favorite of workers on the go. 

However, Bourdain described it as “feeling like holding warm crap in a bag.”

He may not have hated the flavor, but he feared what the combination of ingredients would do to his digestive system- which is fair enough! 


Hollandaise Sauce

Bourdain hated everything about brunch, right down to one of its most popular dishes, eggs benedict.

brunch food served at a restaurant in staten island

The worst part is the hollandaise sauce, which he saw as a haven for bacteria due to the uncooked eggs in the sauce.

He only liked it if it was made to order, which is impractical during a brunch service. 


Ranch Dressing

For Bourdain, ranch symbolized what was wrong with food in America.

Hidden Valley brand of Ranch Dressing

Instead of freshness, preservative-laden food gets smothered in strong flavors like ranch, which disguise the true flavor of the ingredients. 

While he admitted that he might like it in private, he’d never order anything with ranch in a restaurant, believing that a chef should be talented enough to impart flavor without relying on pre-made dressings. 


Truffle Oil

Bourdain had a lot to say about truffle oil. He described it as “industrial waste” and went so far as to say he doesn’t even think of it as food.

truffle oil surrounded by fresh truffles

One of the worst of its crimes is that it doesn’t even contain truffles.

If you’ve seen Bourdain judge on cooking shows such as Top Chef, you know the wrath truffle oil invoked in him during tastings. 


Extra-Hot Fried Chicken

Extra-hot fried chicken is a favorite in Nashville, but Bourdain wasn’t a fan.

hattie b's hot chicken

Rather crudely, he stated that the dish was a two or three-day commitment to being in the bathroom.

It wasn’t like Bourdain didn’t like spicy food, either. He had a strong stomach and ate adventurously.

Something about this chicken didn’t suit him- maybe the heat of the chicken left him unable to taste the rest of the meal! 


Unicorn Frappuccino

Starbucks introduced unicorn frappuccinos in 2017, about a year before Bourdain died.

Like some other celebrities, he didn’t jump on the bandwagon. He thought it had too much going on, and while he enjoyed dessert, the sweetness overwhelmed his palate.

Plus, if he wanted sweetness, he’d order an actual dessert- not waste time in a drive thru line for a glorified coffee! 


Swordfish

Bourdain was famously cautious when it came to seafood. While he usually enjoyed the taste, he avoided certain types, and swordfish was one of them.

As a trained chef, he knew that improper preparation–which is not uncommon–could easily cause sickness.

Therefore, he seldom ordered it unless he knew where it came from and who prepared it.


Juice Cleanses

He may have loved fresh fruit and even fresh-squeezed juice, but he didn’t understand juice cleanses.

He thought it was nonsensical to make oneself ill and nutritionally depleted to make one’s body healthier. He described it as herd mentality.


House-Made Ketchup

To Bourdain, the ketchup you buy in a bottle in stores is as fancy as it ever needs to be.

ketchup ingredients

He didn’t think it made sense for chefs and their staff to waste their time making ketchup.

In his opinion, it never ends up tasting better than the original.

What’s more, since ketchup’s sweetness is meant to simply complement other flavors, it could detract from those if a chef heavily flavored theirs.


Craft Beer

It surprises some people that Bourdain didn’t get on board with the craft beer craze.

Glasses With Different Sorts Of Craft Beer On a Bar.

But to him, beer has historically always been a beverage for the common person.

Making it fancy or even pretentious defeated the point, and you can see him drinking whatever’s cold in many episodes of his TV shows.


Chicken McNuggets

There are a lot of foodies who refuse to eat fast food, but Bourdain wasn’t one of them.

Chicken nuggets with sauces on wooden board

In fact, he loved Popeye’s. But he hated McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

Bourdain said he refused to eat these popular staples because he had no idea how they were made or even what was in them. 


Airline Food

Rarely did Bourdain rule out entire categories of food. But airline food was one of the few.

woman cutting airline food on plane

He stated that he didn’t know anyone who ever felt better after eating it. 

Even though he was a world traveler, he apparently never ate on airplanes.

He preferred to wait until he arrived at his destination.


Kobe Sliders

Bourdain loved beef, but he saw Kobe–especially Kobe sliders–as a scam.

Not only is Kobe beef an unclear designation, but a real chef probably wouldn’t waste good beef in a slider.

Bourdain called Kobe sliders the “epicenter of douchedom.”


Brunch Foods

I mentioned brunch above when discussing hollandaise sauce, but Bourdain wasn’t a fan of brunch in general.

Chicken and waffles

In one of his first books, Kitchen Confidential, he said brunch was a way for chefs to get rid of unused food from the night before.

It was overpriced and not fresh, and he opted to pass.


Chicken Caesar Salad

Bourdain loved chicken in many forms and didn’t have a problem with caesar salads.

grilled chicken caesar salad

He just didn’t want them together.

To Bourdain, a caesar salad was an appetizer meant to be enjoyed before a main course, not as a main course. Besides, the chicken will be overcooked.


Gluten-Free Foods

To be clear, Bourdain didn’t oppose gluten-free foods for people with Celiac disease.

He didn’t think anyone without a serious medical condition should adopt such a drastic diet unless they needed it.

He didn’t believe–and many medical professionals agree–that it was necessary for most people.


English Muffins

Bourdain didn’t like many things about eggs benedict, and another aspect of them he hated were English muffins.

stack of english muffins

He thought these particular pastries didn’t toast properly because of their unique texture, especially when toasted under a broiler.

What’s more, he felt they got too soggy- definitely not ideal for sandwiches! 


Anything Pumpkin Spice

Bourdain was not one to jump on a bandwagon.

iced pumpkin spice latte from starbucks

Pumpkin spice was another fad he couldn’t get into, both in food, desserts, and coffee

He thought it was just a craze and found it rather disgusting. He hoped it would drown “in its own blood.” Those are strong feelings! 


Anthony Bourdain’s Least Favorite Foods

  1. Brioche Hamburger Buns
  2. Club Sandwiches
  3. Frito Pie
  4. Hollandaise Sauce
  5. Ranch Dressing
  6. Truffle Oil
  7. Extra-Hot Fried Chicken
  8. Unicorn Frappuccino
  9. Swordfish
  10. Juice Cleanses
  11. House-Made Ketchup
  12. Craft Beer
  13. Chicken McNuggets
  14. Airline Food
  15. Kobe Sliders
  16. Brunch Foods 
  17. Chicken Caesar
  18. Gluten-Free Foods
  19. English Muffins
  20. Anything Pumpkin Spice

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.