In Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw, he dedicates an entire chapter to telling his readers why Alan Richman is a douchebag. Those familiar with Bourdain’s bold personality won’t be surprised at this; however, while Bourdain concedes that Richman is a talented food critic, he attacks him with such vitriol in this chapter that the reader may begin to wonder if there’s even more to the story than what’s being told. Bourdain is absolutely scathing in his assessment, calling out Richman for his absurd dining expectations, his pretentious “rules,” his petty attitude, and his lack of ethics. All of that aside, one of Bourdain’s biggest issues with Richman seems to stem from the fact that Richman decided to kick the city of New Orleans while it was down.
It is clear, not only from this text but from many of his other writings and television features, that Bourdain has a soft spot for the city of New Orleans and its cuisine. In “Alan Richman Is a Douchebag,” Bourdain berates Richman for several pages over his behavior toward the New Orleans citizens and their culinary scene post-Katrina. You can feel Bourdain’s fury leap off the page as he describes how Richman publicly determined that New Orleans “deserved what it got” and stated that perhaps their cuisine “sucked all along.” Bourdain quickly jumps to the defense of the city, describing the suffering and resilience of its people after the storm with a surprising amount of compassion. It is in this passage that Bourdain stumbles upon a greater truth about the link between food and community.