Here's Why Anthony Bourdain Always Avoided Brunch

It wasn't the actual foods traditionally belonging to the "brunch" sphere that Anthony Bourdain hated. He once called a full Irish breakfast a "sublime wonder" in an episode of "A Cook's Tour." Years later, in one episode of "Parts Unknown," he lauded Waffle House as "Marvelous. An irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts." It was brunch as an institution that soured Bourdain's appetite, as well as the common industry practices that sometimes made brunch less than mouth-watering.

In his magnum opus "Kitchen Confidential," Bourdain advised, "Remember, brunch is only served once a week, on the weekends. Buzzword here, 'Brunch Menu'. Translation? 'Old, nasty odds and ends, and 12 dollars for two eggs with a free Bloody Mary.'" In other words, quoth Bourdain, it's a scam. Plus, chefs are scheduling their best line cooks on Friday and Saturday nights, he explained, during the most important dinner rushes of the week. Consequently, whoever's cooking your French toast probably belongs to the B Squad. 

"[B]runch is demoralizing to the serious line cook," wrote Bourdain. "Nothing makes an aspiring Escoffier feel more like an army commissary cook, or Mel from Mel's Diner, than having to slop out eggs over bacon and eggs Benedict for the Sunday brunch crowd." Indeed, according to the chef-slash-writer, many chefs intentionally schedule new hires or up-and-coming cooks during brunch shifts so they can practice. Even worse? Hollandaise sauce and seafood frittatas are infamous hotbeds for bacteria. (Hello, foodborne illness.)

Industry workers are over it

It's worth noting that "Kitchen Confidential" came out in 2000, and brunch has evolved a lot since then as it has gained popularity. Surely not all or even most restaurants utilize leftover or "un-fresh" foods in their brunch menus these days. Still, brunch as a concept has nonetheless garnered a pretty polarizing reputation. 

Whichever side you fall on, Bourdain hated brunch partially for the same reason why he named Tuesday the best day of the week to dine out. If you're showing up for Sunday brunch, then chances are you didn't work a closing shift at a bar or restaurant last night (clocking out at one or two a.m., if you're lucky). But that doesn't change the fact that your server is working just as hard first thing in the morning as they'd work during a dinner rush — maybe even harder, considering people are slamming down that bottomless coffee way faster than a dinnertime Peroni or glass of Alberino. Mugs need constant refilling. 

Utah-based Chef Paul Chamberlain agrees, telling The Salt Lake Tribune, "I used to love going to brunch, but working it is a little more arduous ... [W]hen you are doing twice the volume than dinner, it is difficult to keep up." Not to mention, on an early Sunday shift, there's a good chance folks are rolling into work Zombie-style (dehydrated, sleep-deprived, a tad hungover). Still, according to Bourdain, the worst part of the whole scene might still be the meal.