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HomeStoriesAnthony Bourdain Saved an Octogenarian Olive Garden Reviewer From Internet Bullies

Anthony Bourdain Saved an Octogenarian Olive Garden Reviewer From Internet Bullies

Anthony Bourdain was known for treating overseas food with attention, but he also treated often-ignored American culinary traditions with the same regard. For example, he championed an 85-year-old Grand Forks, North Dakota restaurant critic and produced a book of her writings.

Marilyn Hagerty, a culinary writer, rose to prominence in 2012 when her enthusiastic review of a local Olive Garden tickled the internet’s inner snob. “The next thing I knew, they were telling me I was viral,” said Hagerty, 92, who has written the Eat Beat column for The Grand Forks Herald for over thirty years. “I wasn’t sure if that indicated I was sick or not.” But, before Anthony Bourdain entered the tale, the attention paid to her honest assessment of a fast-casual chain restaurant was insulting and condescending.

Bourdain invited Hagerty to coffee and asked if he could put her restaurant ratings into a book. Bourdain contributed the foreword to the book, which was published the following year.

“This is how much of America eats,” Bourdain said of his choice to publish Hagerty, according to CBS. “This body of work, these thirty years of North Dakota dining evaluations, is, in a way, a history of eating in America.”

“I think a lot of people altered their minds when Anthony Bourdain said the Eat Beat was alright,” Hagerty added. Despite only meeting Bourdain once, Hagerty told The Hollywood Reporter that she recalls him warmly. “It was just how happy I was that he was such a handsome person,” she explained. “Easy to talk to, and a pleasure to meet.”

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