The Top Chef All-Stars judge is back for another season of hosting the Travel Channel’s No Reservations (Mondays, 9 p.m.). Clearly the man has an appetite for everything — well, almost everything. We asked him about the five most terrifying meals he’s ever encountered.
Rotten shark in Iceland
”It’s an old and cherished tradition in Viking culture. It was the single worst mouthful of food I’ve ever had. It’s deliberately putrefied fish that’s then pickled in lactic acid. The stench alone would stop a charging rhinoceros.”
Warthog in Namibia
”Three-day-old warthog was not so wonderful. Fur, sand, s—: It was the holy trinity of bad things. That meal was followed by a long course of antibiotics. And I’ve been sick [only] twice in all the years I’ve been making television.”
”Anybody who makes fake Italian food — I become so angry. Italian food to me is such a beautiful, simple thing that most Italian grandmothers can make at least well, and any American with a few dollars and five minutes in the supermarket can make in 20 minutes. I’m apoplectic when I see pasta or Mexican food abused.”
”It’s a classic component of Japanese cuisine. It’s basically fermented soybeans in a mucilaginous paste. When you pick it up, it leaves filament-thin strings extending into your mouth. The texture is horrifying and the flavor is horrifying.”
Dale T.’s butterscotch scallops on Top Chef season 4
”It was one of the most appalling dishes I’ve ever had in my life. He was well aware how bad it was.”
For Bourdain’s favorite foodie movies, go to ew.com/anthonybourdain.