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Anthony Bourdain 5 Years on; Exploring the Life and Impact of a Wonderful Culinary Icon


Brian Kennett

Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Travelling Foodie Extraordinaire

Anthony Bourdain Food and Travel legend; what did he have to say for himself?

I had the most amazing fortune to meet Anthony Bourdain in person when he was in Singapore attending the Asia Streetfood Congress with his BFF KF Seetoh. I also have the good fortune of staying in contact with KF Seetoh since, of course, I frequent his Gluttons Bay all the time, and hopefully, one day in New York to see Urban Hawker.

Anthony Bourdain was a man of many talents, a culinary icon, travel enthusiast, writer, and TV host. Anthony Bourdain had a unique way of combining food, culture, and storytelling, making him one of the most beloved and respected figures in the culinary world. Bourdain’s life and legacy continue to inspire many people around the world, years after his untimely death. Today I want to share some of Anthony Bourdain‘s most famous statements about food, travel, and life.

In this article, we will also dive into the life and impact of Anthony Bourdain, exploring his journey, accomplishments, and the lessons he left for the world. We will also answer some common questions about Bourdain and his work.

Anthony Bourdain

From Chef to Travel Host: The Journey of Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain was born on June 25, 1956, in New York City. His love for food started at an early age, and he began working in restaurants while still in high school. Bourdain attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in various restaurants in New York City before becoming the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.

Bourdain‘s life changed in 2000 when he published his first book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” The book was a huge success and turned Bourdain into a celebrity chef literally overnight. This book, in fact, all his books are must-read including his Japanese comics.

He used his newfound fame to host various TV shows that combined food and travel, including “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown.” These are simply some of the very best food and travel shows you’ll ever watch, I kid you not. In the early seasons, he was one crazy smoking, drinking, and swearing legend. That created the legend of Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain and KF Seetoh
Anthony Bourdain and KF Seetoh, photo courtesy of Anthony Bourdain Facebook

The Impact of Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain‘s impact on the culinary world cannot be overstated. He brought a unique perspective to food and global culture, exploring the world’s lesser-known cuisines and destinations. He was a master storyteller, using food as a way to connect with people and showcase their cultures.

Bourdain‘s work also had a significant impact on the travel industry. He inspired many people to explore new destinations, try new foods, and experience different cultures. He showed that food and travel are interconnected and that the best way to experience a place is through its cuisine. He was breaking ground back then, and it was unique.

Lessons from Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain‘s work was not just about food and travel. He had a unique perspective on life, and his work was filled with valuable lessons for all of us. Here are some of the most important lessons we can learn from Bourdain:

  • Be curious: Bourdain was always curious about the world and its people. He encouraged us to explore and experience new things.

  • Embrace diversity: Bourdain celebrated diversity in all its forms. He believed that food and culture could bring people together, no matter where they came from. Watch the first of his trips to Vietnam, it is humbling to see this giant American apologizing for the atrocities his country committed in the war.

  • Be authentic: Bourdain was known for his authenticity. He encouraged us to be true to ourselves and embrace our individuality.

  • Connect with people: Bourdain believed that food was a universal language that could connect people from different cultures and backgrounds.

anthony bourdain
Anthony Bourdain ; photo courtesy of Anthony Bourdain Facebook

TWENTY-FIVE of Anthony Bourdain's most famous quotes about his travels, food experiences, culture, and life in general...

My absolute favourite from the incredible Anthony Bourdain

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”

Anthony Bourdain is a man after my own heart

“There’s something wonderful about drinking in the afternoon. A not-too-cold pint, absolutely alone at the bar – even in this fake-a** Irish pub.”

“To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.”

We share a love of Cambodia, and the disdain for the ignorance of others of the atrocities dealt to the country

“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.”

Anthony Bourdain is a GENIUS

Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

“The journey is part of the experience – an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A-train to Mecca.”

“Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”

“Look, I try not to f***places up. There have been times where we deliberately shoot [a neighbourhood bar] in such a way that you’ll never find it.”

“If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel — as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.”

“When dealing with complex transportation issues, the best thing to do is pull up with a cold beer and let somebody else figure it out.”

I love Anthony Bourdain

“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans … are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

“It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after, you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and what’s happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there – with your eyes open – and lived to see it.”

“I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.”

“I don’t see them as reliable, because you don’t know what people’s priorities are.”

“Scotch on the rocks – they can’t f*** that up.”

Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain ; photo courtesy of Anthony Bourdain Facebook

I just booked a one-way ticket to Russia

“They’re professionals at this in Russia, so no matter how many Jell-O shots or Jager shooters you might have downed at college mixers, no matter how good a drinker you might think you are, don’t forget that the Russians – any Russian – can drink you under the table.”

Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.”

“I wanted kicks – the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world – and I wanted the world to be just like the movies.”

“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico, and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? … I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”

“My brain and body and nervous system, they see a plane ride, a long plane trip, as an opportunity to sleep with nothing coming in, nothing to do. I just go offline the minute I’m on the plane.”

“Senegal was a surprise. It’s unlike any country I’ve been before. It’s a slice of Islam that I think most people haven’t seen, with a very different colonial history than a lot of people have seen.”

My mother-in-law would be proud, Anthony Bourdain‘s favourite city was Tokyo

“It’s so different than the aesthetic I grew up with, the society and culture I grew up with. I compared it to taking my first acid trip: Nothing was ever the same for me. I just wanted more of it. If I had to agree to live in one country, or even one city, for the rest of my life, never leaving it, I’d pick Tokyo in a second.”

“I’m not afraid to look like a big, hairy, smelly, foreign devil in Tokyo, though I do my best not to, I really do.”

“I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”

Frequently Asked Questions about Anthony Bourdain

  1. What was Anthony Bourdain‘s cause of death? Anthony Bourdain died by suicide in June 2018.

  2. What was Anthony Bourdain‘s most famous book? “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” is Anthony Bourdain‘s most famous book.

  3. What was Anthony Bourdain‘s most popular TV show? Anthony Bourdain‘s most popular TV show was “Parts Unknown.”

  4. What was Anthony Bourdain‘s net worth? At the time of his death, Anthony Bourdain‘s net worth was estimated to be around $16 million.

I met Anthony Bourdain here, the F1 pits at The Asia Streetfood Congress with KF Seetoh

Anthony Bourdain; in conclusion

I’ll let the great man close this blog down;

“I wanted adventures. I wanted to go up the Nung river to the heart of darkness in Cambodia. I wanted to ride out into a desert on camelback, sand and dunes in every direction, eat whole roasted lamb with my fingers. I wanted to kick snow off my boots in a Mafiya nightclub in Russia. I wanted to play with automatic weapons in Phnom Penh, recapture the past in a small oyster village in France, step into a seedy neon-lit pulqueria in rural Mexico.

I wanted to run roadblocks in the middle of the night, blowing past angry militia with a handful of hurled Marlboro packs, experience fear, excitement, and wonder. I wanted kicks – the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world – and I wanted the world to be just like the movies”

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