Anthony Bourdain isn’t afraid to share his opinions. He’s slammed everything from famous chefs to pumpkin spice with his trademark disdain. Most recently, however, he’s turned his wrath to Harvey Weinstein and those who have protected him over the years.
Over the past few weeks, he’s been vocal on Twitter and has given interviews about sexual harassment and sexism in the restaurant industry, even reflecting on what role his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, may have played in normalising what he refers to as Meathead Culture. He tells Refinery29 in an interview that, despite some scepticism from industry insiders, the restaurant world is next up for a public reckoning.
“It’s probably too late to change the hearts, minds, and attitudes of generations of old-school male chefs,” he said to Refinery29. “But it’s definitely not too late to change their behaviour, if only out of self-interest.” He also said that others within the industry will need to ask themselves, “What was I doing when this sort of behaviour was going on around me? Was I the sort of person that people could confide in?”
He thinks it will follow the same pattern as what we've already seen with Weinstein and John Besh, a New Orleans chef who recently stepped down from his role in his restaurant group amid allegations of sexual harassment. "I think there are going to be some very ugly scandals. I think some major figures are going to go down, in much the same way that they’re looking at Weinstein, they’re going to say, 'How could this have happened for all these years?' Not only how could this have happened, 'Why didn’t anyone say anything?' I well understand why victims don’t, what about everybody else?"
Bourdain believes the result will be a workplace that will look significantly different from what many people know today. “Maybe it’s too late for our children… but I think our children’s children will grow up in a different world where instinctively they will find inexcusable the sort of workplaces that people of my generation saw as normal,” he says.
If Bourdain's predictions are correct and accusations within the restaurant industry continue to mirror what has been happening in Hollywood, we've only just seen the tip of the iceberg.