In honour of Bourdain Day, we remember the inimitable chef with his most inspiring words

Some people leave such an indelible impression on the world and the facet of our culture they inhabit, that even years after they leave this earth, their presence and vivacity are still felt, celebrated and mourned. Such is the case with Anthony Bourdain.

The famed chef, author and travel documentarian helped us see the world in a more inspired, colourful way through his eyes with his award-winning shows ‘No Reservation’ and ‘Parts Unknown’, and books like Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

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As CNN wrote in 2018, ‘through the simple act of sharing meals, he showcased both the extraordinary diversity of cultures and cuisines, yet how much we all have in common’.

It wasn’t only the culinary community that was rocked when Bourdain sadly took his own life at the age of 61, on the 8th of June 2018; the world grieved for a man who encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone, to be curious and open-minded, and to remember that a love of food is for everyone, no matter your background.

On the 30th of May, 2019, two of the world’s most well-known chefs — Éric Ripert and José Andrés — proclaimed a new holiday. “On June 25, we are all going to celebrate the birthday of our dear friend and beloved Anthony Bourdain,” said Ripert in an Instagram post.

“The idea was to create, on his birthday, an event that anyone can contribute to, something that is low-production,” Ripert told Washington Post at the time. “We will make sure that Anthony is being remembered on his birthday, and not when he left. We will keep this tradition year after year.”

True to their word, #BourdainDay continued in 2020 and 2021 and will continue this year. While their suggestion for celebrating the day was to pick up a beverage of your choosing and toast to Bourdain on camera (posting the moment on social media with the hashtag) you can also celebrate by watching some of your favourite episodes of one of Bourdain’s acclaimed series’, reading one of his books, or perhaps by going out and supporting one of your favourite owner-operator eateries. We’re sure it’s what he would have wanted.

To mark the occasion, we have found some of our favourite Anthony Bourdain quotes that sum up his sense of humour, thoughtfulness and grit — and oh, how they make us want to travel overseas.

“We are, after all, citizens of the world — a world filled with bacteria, some friendly, some not so friendly. 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 McDonald’s? 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.”

“Having a sous-chef with excellent cooking skills and a criminal mind is one of God’s great gifts.”

“I love showing up to a place thinking it’s going to be one way and having all sorts of stupid preconceptions… and then in even a painful and embarrassing way, being proved wrong. If you can get a little smarter about the world every day, it’s a win.”

“I like telling stories, and I tell stories that interest me. It would be boring to have to go to nothing but the best restaurants. That would be a misery to me.”

“What is love? Love is eating twenty-four ounces of raw fish at four o’clock in the morning.”

“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.”

“It was never my intention to be a reporter, a critic, an advocate… I am a storyteller. I go places, I come back. I tell you how the places made me feel…”

“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.”


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