Bourdain was never one to mince words. I mean, hell, he (jokingly, I think) once said that he’d poison both Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump if given the opportunity. You might disagree with what he had to say, but you can be damn sure that he was going to say it. Take, for example, what he had to say about Henry Kissinger in his book A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines.
“Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević.”
Can you imagine another chef saying something like that? Like close your eyes and try to picture Bobby Flay or even Gordon Ramsay saying that. He was raw, unflinching, and simply didn’t give a shit if you liked what came out of his mouth.
He traveled to war zones such as Libya in 2013 when the country was still embroiled in Civil War because he knew that was a place that had stories that needed to be told. He may have been stopped once or twice by militia groups, but that didn’t prevent him from attempting to get to know the people better. Whether it was Paris or Benghazi, Bourdain was there.
Bourdain seemed to live in the gray and in the episode of Parts Unknown where he travels to Jerusalem, he was at his very best.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seemingly always a powder keg, with someone standing over it with a match just waiting to set it off again. Rather than paint simply just to understand what both sides wanted, something that many documentaries, reports, books, etc. had already done, Bourdain simply wanted to showcase people.
He visits the homes of Israelis and Palestinians and shares meals with them, and in the case of the Palestinians, it serves as an exceptional way to shatter the visage of “the Palestinians are evil terrorists” that has been created by so many.