Celebrity Chefs Reignite East Coast-West Coast Rivalry

Anthony Bourdain and David Chang rip into the Bay Area food scene

Jodi Hernandez

What happens when you give two New York City celebrity chefs an audience? They insult the Bay Area.

Not since Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur were trading jabs in song has the East Coast-West Coast rivalry been so hot.

Television personality and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and popular New York City chef David Chang both used an unfiltered forum at the NYC Wine & Food Festival to tear into the Bay Area food scene.

The foul-mouthed Chang started by ripping into San Francisco's chefs and their lack of culinary innovation.

"I will call bullshit on San Francisco," Chang said. "There's only a handful of restaurants that are manipulating food ... f--cking every restaurant in San Francisco is serving figs on a plate with nothing on it."

This coming from a man who makes fun of himself for being a Korean-American who makes Japanese ramen for a living. Reports are he was joking but several San Francisco chefs don't care. There is still a movement building to ban Chang from an upcoming book signing in the City. Bourdain called the move "shameful."

But to his credit the host of the Travel Channel's "No Reservations" was a bit more tactful in his attack on Berkeley, Calif.-based chef Alice Waters and her slow food movement.

"I'm constantly having [my own internal] argument with Alice," Bourdain said. "I agree with the message, I just don't think she's the person to deliver that message."

Chang was at least polite enough to defend Waters' intentions. "She means very well," he said. "She's a sweetheart."

Biggie would never have called Tupac a sweetheart.

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