Anthony Bourdain Has Complicated Views on Veganism

Apr 24, 2018 at 11:17 a.m. ET
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If you thought the tides were turning toward plant foods after Gordon Ramsay added a vegan pizza to his new London restaurant's menu, well… not so fast. Anthony Bourdain just let loose his views on veganism to Eater after being asked about the latest wave-making meatless concoction, the Impossible Burger. And his views were… mixed.

“Look, there are a lot of hungry people in the world,” he told the publication. “I guess if [it] is a means of providing must-needed protein to people who need protein to live, I guess I’m all for it.”

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Bourdain also admits he hasn’t tried the burger himself. “As somebody who spent 30 years as a chef, of course I’m going to be resistant to the notion that there’s any replacement for the texture and musculature and funk of real meat,” he said, and then added the real whopper: “It makes me fearful of a Soylent Green future.”

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Soylent Green is, of course, the name of the 1973 apocalyptic movie (and the meal product that serves as the movie’s main focus) in which you find out that everyone who’s been eating Soylent Green has, in fact, been eating ground-up people. Admittedly, the reference doesn't quite make sense for vegans, whose whole jam is avoiding all animal products, often with the aim of reducing suffering. People are animals, after all.

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It’s not the first time Bourdain has spoken against plant-based diets. In Kitchen Confidential, he wrote, “To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.”

As far as the Impossible Burger, not that you asked, but I’ve tried it myself and it’s pretty tasty. Not a meat substitute by any means and probably not the best vegan or vegetarian burger I’ve tried. But hardly an affront to the pure enjoyment of food.

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