The culinary gangster highlighted how racism is an underlying issue in the food industry.
Today marks the two-year anniversary of Anthony Bourdain‘s death. He was most known for his successful show, “No Reservations,” and New York Times bestselling book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” but also as an executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles, a French restaurant in New York City. He not only left us with great insight on all types of cultures around the globe, but he also left with an everlasting footprint on what is wrong in the restaurant and food industry. In light of the BLM protests, the words from Anthony Bourdain on racism still resonate to this day.
The legendary chef spoke with Ocean Drive in 2016 and covered racial discrimination within the industries. He was asked “What’s the most important food-industry issue nobody is talking about?” and he simply replied, “Racism.” He continued to elaborate by saying, “In an industry that’s always been open to everybody, notoriously so — every refugee and fugitive, dysfunctional character in the world could always find a home in a restaurant — why aren’t there more African American chefs and African American cooks represented in the mid- to high-range restaurants?”
In 2015, the Labor Center at UC Berkeley, published an extensive report on the racial and gender discrimination in the restaurant industry. As you can see below, there is a wide disparity in the wages between white and black employees on a national level. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the report but if you want to dig deeper, here is the link.
In more recent news, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019 — out of the 9 million+ employed in the restaurants and other food services category, only 13.4% of them were black. There is a vast difference in the workforce percentage amongst the African American community.
Next time you’re looking for a new place to eat, consider supporting black-owned restaurants!
RIP Anthony Bourdain