Six years have gone since Anthony Bourdain’s untimely passing, yet for many serious thinkers throughout the world, his words still ring true. Aside from the fact that Bourdain used to travel to discover the richness of various cultures via cuisine (via The Washington Post), his sincerity was unabashedly made known: the famous culinary critic was able to talk about the harsh truths of human life, apparently without breaking a beat.
The 14th episode of Season 2 of “No Reservations” may be difficult to forget for fans of the honest food writer. This time, instead of recording a culturally specific meal item overseas, Bourdain chose to commemorate the inhabitants of Beruit by bringing attention to the crimes committed by all sides during the 2006 Lebanon War (per The Atlantic).
In addition to bringing attention to the under-recognized, Anthony Bourdain became famous for saying what many people were thinking about prominent players in the culinary industry. The echoes of Bourdain’s prior comments have been felt far and wide, whether he was calling Paula Dean “very greedy” for her engagement in a diabetes campaign (as reported by ABC News via YouTube) or mocking Guy Fieri for dressing inappropriately for his age (as reported by Atlanta Magazine). Yet another instance of Bourdain’s use of weighty language has just appeared on Twitter, this time striking closer to home than anybody could have anticipated in the year 2022.
Anthony Bourdain’s words regarding domestic workers in Singapore stoked strong responses
Twitter user @theMcKenziest shared a clip from Season 10 Episode 1 of “Parts Unknown,” in which Anthony Bourdain reacts to one of his Singaporean dinner partners discussing the presence of maids in the home. She calls them “the opium of the people” and praises them for taking care of the kids, the laundry, and everything else at home. Anthony Bourdain retorts that individuals who employ maids are “living off the labor of an oppressed underclass” and labels the arrangement “bourgeois.”
Social media users were outraged by Bourdain’s film for a number of reasons, including the way foreign employees were treated and the certainty with which Anthony Bourdain made his charges about Singaporeans. Some people thought Anthony Bourdain was being hypocritical, even as many others appreciated him and attempted to raise awareness about the condition of domestic workers. According to Twitter user @fredleept: “Flying across the globe as a media class white person tasting ‘local’ foods… is not bourgeois?” For “show[ing] up in their nation and telling [them] they are living badly and should follow his system,” the user @GrannyWeatherw4 said.
Different points of view are to be anticipated. In numerous cases detailed by VICE, employers mistreated their housekeepers. According to Human Rights Watch, many domestic workers in Singapore have very challenging circumstances, including reports of abuse and misbehavior in the year 2020. Some people think Bourdain should have considered his social status before making such strong statements about foreign cultures.