Host of the TV show Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain was a best-selling author, renowned chef, entrepreneur, and world traveler before committing suicide at age 61. Here are fifteen of his famous quotes.
- “Luck is not a business model.”
As a freelance writer, I know that luck will not get methe readers I need to succeed. Like everything else, I need a well-thought-out business plan.
2. “Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.”
Adventure lies in my bones. Cultural differences intrigued me. And traveling to new places far away from home feeds my soul! All because of this gorgeous feeling of the unknown.
3. “As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly; you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”
As a well-seasoned traveler, this quote resonates with me. And I have the scars-both the beautiful and the painful ones — to show for it.
4. “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.”
Food is a basic need. And no celebration is complete without food. It’s a vehicle through which we connect.
One of my most memorable meals was participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. I was blown by the symbolism and technique of the entire process. It is more of a meditational activity than a gastronomic experience.
But I learned more about the people who had invited me to the ceremony even though we barely spoke during the entire event.
5. “I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find a perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what many 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.”
If you reflect on moments of sheer joy in your life, I am almost sure that those moments were spontaneous. You can’t plan for pleasure. You have to nurture your life with gratitude and awe and remain open to how happiness will appear in the most unexpected ways.
6. “Don’t lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don’t do it again. Ever.”
Admitting your mistakes is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. So, get over yourself and accept it. It permits othersto do the same.
7. “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; iteven breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
8. “The way you make an omelet reveals your character.”
I tend towards simplicity, even in the way I make an omelet. This aspect of my character is consistent with my preference for minimalism. On the other hand, my partner likes experimenting by adding unusual ingredients to an omelet. She is also somewhat rebellious.
9. “Assume the worst — about everybody. But don’t let this poisoned outlook affect your job performance. Let it all roll off your back. Ignore it. Be amused by what you see and suspect. Just because someone you work with is a miserable, treacherous, self-serving, capricious, and corrupt asshole shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying their company, working with them, or finding them entertaining.”
I find this quote particularly amusing. Just because we can’t trust someone does not mean we cannot enjoy their company.
10. “[When I die], I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more like a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted, and advantages squandered.”
Anthony Boudain exemplified the You-Only-Live Once philosophy. Life is never about smooth sailing, and it can get messy. It’s unavoidable, no matter how you approach it.
11. “Cream rises. Excellence does have its rewards.”
There is something to be said about the pursuit of excellence in this world that appears addicted to mediocrity. Strive for excellence. It’s the best way to avoid a life of regrets.
12. “I’m very type-A, and many things in my life are about control and domination, but eating should be a submissive experience, where you let down your guard and enjoy the ride.”
As a fellow type-A person, this quote resonates deeply with me. We type A’s like controlling our outcomes. But eating can be a rewarding experience when there is no other outcome than mere pleasure.
12. “I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”
It’s great to plan part of your vacation but don’t forget to balance that with moments of spontaneity.
13. “I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”
This quote struck me with its relevance in today’s highly polarized society, where people speak freely, but respect is sadly lacking.
14. “Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman — not an artist. There’s nothing wrong with that: The great cathedrals of Europe were built by craftsmen — though not designed by them. Practicing your craft in expert fashion is noble, honorable, and satisfying.”
I rarely hear the words honorable and noble to describe our approach to work. But whatever the nature of your work, it is first and foremost your craft.
15. “To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.”
Anthony Bourdain certainly was passionate about his craft. If you want to know your passions, think about what you can’t live without.