Anthony Bourdain sees a restaurant killer in Donald Trump

Celebrity eater and former restaurateur Anthony Bourdain blasted Donald Trump last week for suggesting illegal immigrants be returned to their homelands, saying it would devastate the U.S. restaurant industry.

“If Mr. Trump deports 11 million people, every restaurant in America would close,” Bourdain said on a SiriusXM News & Issues broadcast. “Restaurant owners? They’d be up the creek. The kids coming out of culinary school, they don’t want to take [immigrants’] jobs. ‘What do you mean I have to clean squid for a year?’”



He called Mexican and Central American immigrants “the backbone of the industry” and said “these people for the most part have been paying taxes.”

Bourdain, who was a chef at a New York City restaurant before he became a media star with the publication of a tell-all book called “Kitchen Confidential,” recalled that his foodservice education actually came from immigrants, not culinary school. The longest-term veteran in a kitchen was invariably someone from Mexico or Central America, and they were fonts of knowledge.

“We’re a country of immigrants, that’s how we were formed,” Bourdain told interviewer Pete Dominick.  “There should be an easy path” to citizenship.

Trump, one of the leading contenders for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination has not responded to Bourdain’s assertions. An immigration stance at odds with the restaurant industry’s has been a cornerstone of his campaign.

Want breaking news at your fingertips?

Get today’s need-to-know restaurant industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Restaurant Business on news and insights that matter to your brand.


More from our partners