Bourdain explains to DCist why Alice Waters bugs him:
Any advice about food?
I'll tell you. Alice Waters annoys the living shit out of me. We're all in the middle of a recession, like we're all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market. There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic. I mean I'm not crazy about our obsession with corn or ethanol and all that, but I'm a little uncomfortable with legislating good eating habits. I'm suspicious of orthodoxy, the kind of orthodoxy when it comes to what you put in your mouth. I'm a little reluctant to admit that maybe Americans are too stupid to figure out that the food we're eating is killing us. But I don't know if it's time to send out special squads to close all the McDonald's. My libertarian side is at odds with my revulsion at what we as a country have done to ourselves physically with what we've chosen to eat and our fast food culture. I'm really divided on that issue. It'd be great if he [Obama] served better food at the White House than what I suspect the Bushies were serving. It's gotta be better than Nixon. He liked starting up a roaring fire, turning up the air conditioning, and eating a bowl of cottage cheese with ketchup. Anything above that is a good thing. He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is.
He later backed off a bit on his comments about Alice, twice.
I'm posting this, not because of celebrity chef drama -- really, both are sort of just playing their parts (Bourdain's bark is worse than his bite on this issue -- he readily admits that his daughter drinks organic milk, for example) -- but because the answer to sustainability in the U.S. lies somewhere in between Tony's pragmatism and Alice's pie-in-the-sky idealism. We need both: Alice to pull us toward eating stuff that isn't crap, and Tony to prevent things from going all fluffy Berkeley commune by respecting an individual's right to make a decision, even a poor one, and recognizing that not everyone makes the kind of money needed to shop at Whole Foods on a regular basis. It's New York survivalism meeting California granola, and it's a good thing to have both perspectives to keep things from going too far one way or the other.