Four lessons from the original influencer Anthony Bourdain
Kieron Lang, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Friday, June 8, 2018 10:50AM EDT
Anthony Bourdain went from a hard-living New York line cook to a self-professed "jaded over-privileged foodie", propelled by the best-selling "Kitchen Confidential" memoir he wrote with the abandon of someone convinced no one would ever read.
How wrong he was.
Here's a look at four things to know about the celebrity and influence of the globetrotting storyteller's food adventures.
Chefs know restaurants
Bourdain's first book gave readers an unbridled inside look at his lifestyle working the line, and cemented his authority as an insider unafraid to tell it as it is.
Millions of restaurant-goers still swear by the dining-out advice he shared in that book: not ordering fish on a Monday, steering clear of meat cooked well-done, and thinking twice before ordering a seafood frittata.
It took sixteen years, by the way, but Bourdain ultimately said the food business had changed so much, you shouldn't be afraid to order fish on Mondays anymore.
Bourdain stood by this unappetizing advice for Westerners travelling in Asia, however: DO eat at a restaurant with a dirty bathroom.
Love for the Canucks
Closer to home, Bourdain had high praise for Canadian chefs, especially Montrealers Frederic Morin and David McMillan of Joe Beef and Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon.
Not an activist, but active
While Bourdain proclaimed that he was about the food, not politics or activism, he wasn't afraid to share his opinions, including his contempt for chefs of restaurants at Donald Trump's hotels.
And he recently became an ally to the #MeToo movement, as his girlfriend Italian actress and director Asia Argento was one of the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.
On the day the disgraced Hollywood executive appeared in a Manhattan court on rape and sex assault charges, Bourdain tweeted an image of a U.S. prison menu, telling Argento "What's on the menu for #Weinstein"
Bourdain most often shared his opinions about what he knew best: wasted food, for example. And in 2013, Bourdain waded into the controversy over seal hunting in Canada, amidst a U.S. boycott aimed at ending the commercial hunt here.
Bourdain implored well-intentioned chefs to abandon the boycott, based on what he'd seen visiting the Inuit communities that rely on seal hunting.
"I'm all for protecting seals, but a total ban dooms the indigenous people above arctic circle to death or relocation," he tweeted.
Travel changes you
Just as Bourdain's eyes were opened by his time eating and living with Inuit in Canada's North, he wanted his fans to travel and learn about themselves and the world through their love of food too.
"You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together," is one of his most-often cited quotes. And even if travellers aren't meeting new people around the dinner table, he said they should "trust the locals." If they're lining up at one food stall and ignoring the other, that's a clear endorsement you should jump on.
"I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go," he wrote in "Medium Raw."