While sharp-tongued culinary host Anthony Bourdain was the one getting roasted Thursday night at a New York City Wine and Food Festival event, on Friday he didn’t miss a chance to take a jab at his archnemesis, butter queen Paula Deen, when he appeared on TODAY.
When asked by Savannah Guthrie whether he regretted incendiary comments he’s made about Deen in the past, Bourdain responded with an unabashed “no.”
“[Comments I’ve made were] good-natured in the case of Rachael [Ray] and Guy [Fieri], and they always handled it with grace,” the outspoken chef, author and TV personality told Guthrie. “I have less of a sense of humor about Paula, to be honest.”
Last August, Bourdain made waves in a TV Guide interview in which he called out several Food Network stars. On Rachael Ray he said, "Does she even cook anymore? I don't know why she bothers." On Guy Fieri: "I look at Guy Fieri and I just think, 'Jesus, I'm glad that's not me.' "
But he reserved his most scathing remarks for Deen, calling her "the worst, most dangerous person to America," who "revels in her unholy connections with evil corporations" and is "proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you."
Deen responded by telling the New York Post that “Anthony Bourdain needs to get a life.”
Instead, the feud only ramped up when, in January, Deen confirmed on TODAY that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years earlier and had stayed mum on it. At the same time, she announced an endorsement deal with Novo-Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that produces the diabetes medication she takes. She was widely criticized by stars from around the food world, as well as by the public, for making money off the sort of food that’s often linked with diabetes while simultaneously profiting from the drugs used to control the disease.
Bourdain continued being one of Deen’s most vocal critics.
"Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later," he tweeted after her diabetes revelation, later telling Eater, “"When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you've been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you've got type 2 diabetes... It's in bad taste if nothing else."
While Deen wasn’t present at Bourdain’s roast, which was staged to raise money for charity, Ray and Fieri were among the many who got a chance at a little revenge.
“It was like a prolonged and painful, you know, medical procedure … I had it coming, I knew I had to go through it,” Bourdain told Guthrie Friday. “I also thought there’s a certain justice, given some of the things I said about Rachael and Guy in particular over the years. I thought they deserved an opportunity to give it back.”
Even TODAY’s own Willie Geist, ever the humorist, got in the mix Thursday night.
“If his ego got any bigger, it would look like Paula Deen’s thighs,” Geist cracked at the roast.
But on Friday morning, he tempered his comments a bit on TODAY: “I will take no responsibility for that Paula Deen joke, I love Paula Deen.”
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