The 'Parts Unknown' host also calls Twitter and Instagram a "fully democratic bathroom wall."

Elisabeth Sherman
October 12, 2017

Combine two controversial pop culture mainstays, Yelp (is it useful tool or a space for grumpy diners to air their grievances against over-worked waitresses) and Anthony Bourdain (is the outspoken television host just a contrarian or are his cultural insights, about, things like the Unicorn Frappuccino merely underappreciated) and you have a recipe for an epic showdown for the ages.

The Parts Unknown host sat down with Danny Bowien, the chef behind Mission Chinese, for an interview with Business Insider, and things quickly got heated. Bourdain unleashed a slew of vitriol—perhaps deserved, depending on your perspective—against Yelp.

“There’s really no worse or lower human being than an elite Yelper,” he proclaims, rather boldly. Exaggeration? Sure, but he goes on to target Yelp for grievances that actually make a little more sense.

“You know, you open a restaurant, you struggle for a year to put together the money, you work your heart out, and then 10 minutes after opening, some miserable b*tch is tweeting or Yelping, 'Worst. Dinner. Ever.'…It’s like, dude. That ain’t right,” Bourdain continues.

He concludes that people who post reviews on Yelp are “bad for chefs [and] they’re bad for restaurants.”

So he doesn’t like Yelp, we get it. But maybe there’s a lesson here? Before you post a scathing review of a restaurant where you had a bad experience, maybe remember that there are hard-working people, with dreams of their own, behind it.

Beyond thoughts on public forums where anyone can post a restaurant review, the interview contains a few other gems that further illuminate the strange world that Bourdain occupies. Take his Instagram (which he refers to, along with Twitter, as “a fully democratic bathroom wall that anyone can write on”), for instance. He speculates that if he posted a photo to his account depicting “me and the Dalai Lama and Keith Richards in a hot tub, smoking a bong,” he’d only get 5,000 likes. However, if he posted a photo of an In-N-Out burger, “I’ll get 50,000 passionate likes and comments in like 10 minutes,” a phenomenon he refers to as  “so powerful and so weird.” Why the disparity? Because, according to Bourdain, “[people] either want to share [photos] on Instagram or make other people feel bad about what they’re eating.”

Whether or not you like him, agree with him, or even watch his show, one thing is hard to deny: Bourdain—disgruntled as he might be—continues to come up new ways to skewer our current cultural moment.