Anthony Bourdain's final episode of "Parts Unknown" aired on CNN this Sunday. The celebrity chef and world traveler died in June while filming the current season of the popular travel show.
For the episode, Bourdain visited the Lower East Side, where he spent time talking to former and current residents of the New York neighborhood about gentrification, music and art.
In the show, Bourdain invited Americans along with him on journeys that spanned from Vietnam to West Virginia. He encouraged his audience to travel widely with open hearts and open minds.
But he was always brutally honest, even with himself. In a March interview for "Wine Spectator," Bourdain reflected on how he wanted to be remembered after he was gone: "Maybe that I grew up a little. That I'm a dad, that I'm not a half-bad cook, that I can make a good coq au vin. That would be nice. And not such a bad bastard after all."
When I interviewed Bourdain in February for Money Magazine, it was his combination of practicality and poetry that stood out to me most. He stressed a simple approach to travel: Slow down and take the time learn the daily rhythms of other cultures. "Don't be afraid to just sit and watch. One of my great joys in places that I love, and have come to love, is to sit and watch daily life. You learn so much," he told me.
A controversial figure at times, Bourdain took aim at politicians and fellow chefs alike. And he was open about his past struggles with alcohol and drugs: He wrote in detail about his cocaine habit in "Kitchen Confidential," for example.
Here's a look at some of the other wisdom he shared over the years.
"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? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once."
―"Kitchen Confidential," August 2000
"My favorite restaurants are ones where they only do two or three things. A place that does three things and it looks like they've been doing those same three things for a very long time—that's a really healthy sign. If they have a menu that's all over the place, if they have a hamburger or Asian fusion and it's not in Asia, these are all worrisome to me."
—April 2018 Money Magazine interview on how Bourdain likes to find restaurants when he travels
"I am so confused. It wasn't supposed to be like this — of all the places, of all the countries, all the years of traveling, it's here, in Iran, that I am greeted most warmly by total strangers."
—"Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, Iran," November 2014
"Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund."
—"Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook," June 2010
"Here in the heart of every belief system I've ever mocked or fought against, I was welcomed with open arms by everyone. I found a place both heartbreaking, and beautiful. A place that symbolizes and contains everything wrong and everything wonderful and hopeful about America."
–"Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, West Virginia," April 2018
"In these current circumstances, one must pick a side. I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women. Not out of virtue, or integrity, or high moral outrage — as much as I'd like to say so — but because late in life, I met one extraordinary woman with a particularly awful story to tell, who introduced me to other extraordinary women with equally awful stories. I am grateful to them for their courage, and inspired by them. That doesn't make me any more enlightened than any other man who has begun listening and paying attention. It does makes me, I hope, slightly less stupid."
—December 2017 Medium post published after Bourdain's girlfriend, Asia Argento, detailed her encounters with Harvey Weinstein in the New Yorker
"[When I die] I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more along the lines of a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted and advantages squandered."
—"Kitchen Confidential," August 2000
"Money doesn't particularly excite or thrill me; the making of money gives me no particular satisfaction. To me, money is freedom from insecurity, freedom to move, time if you choose to make use of time. My investments advisor understands that I'm not looking to score big on the stock market or bonds. I have zero understanding of it and zero interest. Life is too short."
—March 2017 interview with WealthSimple
This story was originally published on June 8, 2018, and has been updated.
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