Anthony Bourdain on Food, Authenticity and Being Wrong

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  06.02.10 | 5:45 PM ET

Slate has a lengthy, compelling interview with the writer and No Reservations host, centered around the ideas of “right” and “wrong” in cooking. Here’s Bourdain on food, tradition and authenticity:

There’s enormous respect and a romanticized reverence for what’s considered the “right” way—meaning, the classic way—and I think most chefs feel powerfully that one should know that before moving on. Like, “I’ve researched this, this is the way they were making it in 1700, goddamn it, and that’s the way it should be made.” Or: “This is the way they make laksa in Kuching and Borneo; that stuff I just had on Ninth Avenue is definitely not the same; ergo it’s wrong.” But, you know, what does “real” or “authentic” mean? The history of food is the history of migrating ingredients and occupation and foreign influences and accommodation.

We spoke recently with Andrew Potter, the author of “The Authenticity Hoax,” about similar themes.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

1 Comment for Anthony Bourdain on Food, Authenticity and Being Wrong

Garry 06.02.10 | 6:14 PM ET

“Authenticity” is a pompous and really a very bogus idea that immediately makes me question the honesty and intelligence of those who assert it. “Authenticity” is what you are doing, and what’s in front of you, right here and right now. It’s what’s on your plate, no matter how much you’d like it to be otherwise.

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