Anthony Bourdain is one of the most familiar faces in the food world these days, both on television on CNN’s Parts Unknown (and before that, Travel Channel’s No Reservations and The Layover), and in print and online as someone who’s never afraid to voice his opinion on any range of topics. But we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about this legendary chef and personality.
Bourdain’s struggles with drugs and alcohol have been well-documented; in Kitchen Confidential he revealed that he once regularly used drugs including LSD, cocaine, and heroin. He also described how he once resorted to selling his record collection in order to purchase drugs.
Bourdain and his crew were in Beirut filming an episode of No Reservations in 2006 when the Israel-Lebanon conflict broke out. The episode turned into a first-hand account of him and the crew trying to escape the conflict, and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2007.
While in Spain on a book tour, Bourdain met renowned elBulli chef Ferran Adria, who invited him to film an episode of A Cook’s Tour in his kitchen, granting him unprecedented access to witness his creative process. Food Network demurred, preferring instead that Bourdain stick to domestic topics. Bourdain and his production team made the episode anyway, and sold it to Travel Channel; it became the pilot episode of No Reservations.
Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins, gave Bourdain his own line of books in 2011. Books that he’s published so far include titles from notable culinary figures including Kogi’s Roy Choi, barbecue aficionado Daniel Vaughn, and newspaper columnist Marilyn Hagerty.
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There were a few music acts that nobody dared play in Bourdain’s kitchen because they knew that it was a fireable offense. Those included Billy Joel…
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…And The Grateful Dead.
Bourdain has been outspoken about his belief that vegetarian lifestyles are rude to those who live in developing countries and may not have much in the way of choice about what they eat. He considers it a “first world luxury,” but does acknowledge that Americans eat too much meat.
Take a guess…
He also told the Boston Herald that he’s “more of a cat person that a dog person.”
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…and Miami Ink.
They both practice it almost daily. When Bourdain is on the road he always tracks down a local instructor. His wife, Ottavia, has competed in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Open.
…and Nurses’ Shoes.