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50 Anthony Bourdain Quotes About Life, Travel, Food

Last Updated: January 2, 2024 by Team

Anthony Bourdain, born on June 25, 1956, in New York City, was an American chef, author, and television personality, renowned for his profound influence on the culinary world and his explorations of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition.

Bourdain initially gained recognition with his 2000 bestselling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” which offered an insider’s view of the culinary industry. This book propelled him into the spotlight, leading to a successful career in television. He hosted various food and travel shows, most notably “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown,” where he traveled to lesser-known parts of the world exploring local culture and cuisine.

His style was unapologetically honest and insightful, often delving into the political and social aspects of the places he visited. Bourdain’s shows were more than culinary expeditions; they were a means to bridge cultures and highlight the commonalities of human experiences across the globe.

Bourdain’s work earned him numerous awards, including Peabody and Emmy Awards, and he was praised for his unique approach to food and travel journalism, which combined culinary expertise with storytelling and cultural commentary.

Tragically, Anthony Bourdain passed away on June 8, 2018. His legacy endures through his books, shows, and the profound impact he had on the way people think about food, travel, and the world around them. He is remembered as a culinary maverick and a storyteller who brought the world into the homes of many.

Here are 50 pearls of wisdom to feast on from Mr. Bourdain. Enjoy the meal.

Anthony Bourdain Quotes

“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.” – Anthony Bourdain

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

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.” – Anthony Bourdain

“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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” – Anthony Bourdain

“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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates.’” – Anthony Bourdain

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I am not afraid to look like an idiot.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I’m not afraid to look like a big, hairy, smelly, foreign devil in Tokyo, I’ll do things I’m not particularly comfortable doing if I think it’s for the good of the show.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity.” – Anthony Bourdain

“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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Life is complicated. It’s filled with nuance. It’s unsatisfying… If I believe in anything, it is doubt. The root cause of all life’s problems is looking for a simple fucking answer.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Travel changes you. 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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I wanted adventures. I wanted to go up the Nung river to the heart of darkness in Cambodia. I wanted to ride out into the desert on a camel, and run afoul of dangerous men.” – Anthony Bourdain

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be.” – Anthony Bourdain

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

“Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund.” – Anthony Bourdain

“To be treated well in places where you don’t expect to be treated well, to find things in common with people you thought previously you had very, very little in common with, that can’t be a bad thing.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.” – Anthony Bourdain

“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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I’m not going anywhere. I hope. It’s been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” – Anthony Bourdain

“If you’re twenty-two, 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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Luck is not a business model.” – Anthony Bourdain

“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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins.” – Anthony Bourdain

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

“The way you make an omelet reveals your character.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I don’t have much patience for people who feel they are somehow entitled to the best of everything for nothing.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Basic cooking skills are a virtue… The ability to feed oneself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Under ‘Reasons for Leaving Last Job,’ never give the real reason, unless it’s money or ambition.” – Anthony Bourdain

“No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I am not a fan of people who abuse service staff. How a politician treats a waiter can be more revealing than how they treat their constituents.” – Anthony Bourdain

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

“I don’t want to eat in a place that’s embraced by the gluten-free community.” – Anthony Bourdain

“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.” – Anthony Bourdain

“I’ve seen more misery and unhappiness caused by onion rings than by geopolitical events.” – Anthony Bourdain

“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?” – Anthony Bourdain

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

“The way you make an omelette reveals your character.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Too much good fortune can make you smug and unaware. Happiness should be like an oasis, the greener for the desert that surrounds it.” – Anthony Bourdain

“There is no final resting place of the mind.” – Anthony Bourdain

“What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?” – Anthony Bourdain

“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.” – Anthony Bourdain

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