Bad boy chef Anthony Bourdain has a pierced ear, a penchant for black leather jackets, and a sarcastic sense of humor that occasionally gets him into hot water with fellow chefs and their fans. Now he can add the state of New Mexico to the growing list of aggrieved parties. On an episode of his travel show Parts Unknown, Bourdain gave a damning and inaccurate review of a local delicacy, the Frito pie. He described the dish as a concoction of canned Hormel chili and a “day-glow orange cheese-like substance.” Adding insult to injury, he claimed that the dish originated from Texas, not New Mexico.
Not so, rebutted Mike Collins, the general manager at Santa Fe’s Five & Dime General Store and the state’s iconic purveyor of Frito pies. Collins said that his kitchen used home-made chili made with peppers native to the state. Bourdain issued a correction on both counts, adding, “I, in fact, very much enjoyed my Frito pie in spite of its disturbing weight in the hand. It may have felt like [expletive] but was shockingly tasty,”
The review still smarts for some New Mexicans. “It always hurts to see something taken away from New Mexico and given to Texas,” says David Stout, a New Mexican who happens to sit in an adjoining cubicle to this reporter. He added over the cubicle wall, “The only thing we have at the moment is Breaking Bad, so just give us Frito pie.”