Even Anthony Bourdain Gives Props to This Celebrity Chef

You’ve heard the expression, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Apparently, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain hasn’t.

If you know who Bourdain is, you know he’s famous for saying exactly what’s on his mind. He has dissed celebrity chefs from Paula Deen to Sandra Lee to Guy Fieri to Rachel Ray — and many more in between. Love him or hate him, he’s here to stay — Bourdain is currently working on Parts Unknown, a travel and food show that debuted on CNN in 2013.

What you might not know about Bourdain is that he apparently has a soft spot or two. He actually had some nice things to say about seven fellow chefs. Read them quickly before he retracts them.

1. Andrew Zimmern

American television chef, personality, and food writer Andrew Zimmern hosts and serves as consulting producer on the Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. On his show, Zimmern travels the globe exploring culinary delights that have included animal penises, a bamboo rat, and cow placenta, according to The Daily Meal.

Bourdain must respect Zimmern because he gave him props. According to Delawareonline, Bourdain said, “He’s smart, nice, and insightful.” Bourdain couldn’t leave it at that, however. He had to work in a slight dig: “But I also resent him a little bit because my daughter worships him.”

Next: Bourdain likes Good Eats

2. Alton Brown

Goin’ over the wire. #memphis

A post shared by Alton Brown (@altonbrown) on

Alton Brown created and hosted the Food Network show Good Eats, which ran for 14 seasons. He also got a compliment from Anthony Bourdain, according to Delawareonline, which might be bigger news than his reviving the show, which he has confirmed, according to Food&Wine.

Bourdain on Brown: “I admire him. Good Eats was actually about cooking.” Bourdain just had to get a zinger in somewhere, though, and joked that the TV star must have had incriminating tapes of people to get a show that good on the air.

Next: Bourdain crushing on Ina Garten?

3. Ina Garten

In an interview with Refinery 29, Anthony Bourdain actually had something nice to say about a celebrity chef. Apparently, he really admires Ina Garten, who has been hosting the Food Network show Barefoot Contessa since 2002.

In answer to the question, “Is there anyone who gets it right?”, Bourdain paused, then came clean on his respect for Garten. “I’ll make a little fun of her now and then, it’s very perfect in Ina World, scarily so,” he said, but “what she cooks on TV is legit and instructive. If you do as Ina does, chances are you are going to get a good product … I got real respect for her,” said Bourdain.

That’s not the only time Bourdain complimented Garten: He told Atlanta magazine she is “one of the few people on Food Network who can actually cook. When Ina Garten roasts a chicken, she roasts it correct. When Ina Garten makes mashed potatoes, those are some solid mashed potatoes,” In Bourdain’s world, that’s positively gushing.

Next: Gordon Ramsey’s not all bad in Bourdain’s books.

4. Gordon Ramsey

A gorgeous night at @fortevillage tonight ! #Italy

A post shared by Gordon Ramsay (@gordongram) on

Bourdain called it “shameful pathetic” when Ramsay applied for UK trademark rights to the name “The Spotted Pig.” He majorly screwed April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, owners of New York’s West Village eatery The Spotted Pig, according to Thrillist.

Bourdain also made a big stink about how much he hated Ramsay’s show Hell’s Kitchen, saying “There’s no cooking. It’s just a bunch of dimwits — the lame, the halt and the delusional — and [Gordon Ramsay] pretending to be angry,” according to the website delish. Bourdain, however, had at least one nice thing to say about Ramsay: “Gordon’s actually a really sweet, nice guy.” OK, that might not qualify as effusive. And it might not be about Ramsay’s talent as a chef. But considering how many compliments Bourdain gives, it’s a win for Ramsay.

Next: Bourdain’s bromance with Eric Ripert

5. Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert is chef at Le Bernardin, the quintessential New York French restaurant. He is also best friends with Anthony Bourdain.

The pair often travels together and Bourdain loves dragging Michelin chef Ripert on his adventures around the world to “torture him,” according to Eater. This might be a leap of faith, but it’s likely Bourdain has lots of nice things to say about Ripert. Because that’s what best friends do — talk nicely about each other. Right?

Next: Bourdain compliments cronuts.

6. Dominique Ansel

In an episode of Raw Craft, an online film series documenting the American craft movement, Bourdain visited New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel, who created the cronut. Bourdain, who is not a “sweets guy,” according to Refinery29, gave kudos to Ansel.

“A lot of people will come and eat your freakish, Instagrammable food, but will they keep coming back? It helps when its good. Everybody wanted a picture of themselves with a cronut… but at the end of the day its actually quite delicious. The quality is there, you’ll want another one,” said Bourdain. In addition, he called Ansel’s frozen s’mores “genius.”

Next: Bourdain on Thomas Keller

7. Thomas Keller

Way back in 2006, Bourdain had something nice to say about chef Thomas Keller. In an interview with the website askmen, he said, “Some of the best haute cuisine French chefs in the world are cooking outside of France … because they’re freer to stretch and break away.”

Case in point: Thomas Keller. Keller is most notable for his restaurants The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., and Per Se in New York. Bourdain on Keller when asked if France regarded Keller as a visionary chef: “Who cares what they think? I don’t know. Certainly among chefs, that’s the case. I think without question he is the greatest chef in the world right now.”

Read more: 15 of the Worst Celebrity Chef Restaurants in America 

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