The chef and TV presenter talked about revolution, parenting, abuse and Trump voters in what is believed to be the last interview before his death
Anthony Bordains final interview has shed light on the chefs thoughts on travel, culture and politics. The piece, which surfaced on independent publication Popula on Sunday, includes Bourdains takes on Bill Clintons behaviour in office, Obamas performance as US president and his own daydreams about the demise of Harvey Weinstein (Bourdains partner, Asia Argento, was one of the first to accuse the former movie mogul of rape).
But Bourdain also spoke about other things, such as the joy that comes from friendship, and how to think about parenting. Here are some of the highlights:
I much prefer people who just showed up in Paris and found their own way without any particular itinerary, who left themselves open to things happening. To mistakes because thats the most important part of travel.
On talking to strangers
You go to a place like Beirut and you find yourself talking to a Muslim woman. If youre a journalist tasked with an agenda, you know, youre there to report a story, and you come right out with it. Youre going right into some very difficult areas. Whereas I have the luxury, Im there to eat! Presumably. Im there to eat, and Im asking very simple questions.
What makes you happy? What do you like to eat, where do you like to go to get a few drinks; you know? What do you miss about the place when you go away? And I find, again and again, just by spending the time, by asking very simple questions, people have said the most astonishing things to me. Often things that would be very uncomfortable for them outside of that casual context.
I know very much what wont make me happy. The perfect car will not make me happy. The perfect house will probably make me sad, and terrified
Im a renter by nature. I like the freedom to change my mind about where I want to be in six months, or a year. Because Ive also found you might have to make that decision you cant always make that decision for yourself.
My happiest moments on the road are always off-camera, generally with my crew, coming back from shooting a scene and finding ourselves in this sort of absurdly beautiful moment, you know, laying on a flatbed on those things that go on the railroad track, with a putt-putt motor, goin across like, the rice paddies in Cambodia with headphones on this is luxury, because I could never have imagined having the freedom or the ability to find myself in such a place, looking at such things.
To sit alone or with a few friends, half-drunk under a full moon, you just understand how lucky you are; its a story you cant tell. Its a story you almost by definition, cant share. Ive learned in real time to look at those things and realise: I just had a really good moment.
On cycles of abuse
You know a lot of the chefs, all of the really bastard chefs, most the really oppressive ones, the old school ones, were abused children, were abused by their parents, were abused and neglected, physically, mentally, in every possible way, and then became just like their abuser, and would perpetuate the system.
A lot of chefs never really understood, or understood only really belatedly; theyd been powerless for much of their careers. I dont know. For most of my career, chefs were creatures without power. To talk about power imbalance, is in retrospect, there was one. But I think we all saw ourselves at outcasts, as weak, except in our little bubble in the kitchen.
On Trump voters
The contempt and the ridicule which has been heaped on places like West Virginia, which is the heart, demographically, of enemy territory, as far as New York liberals like us are concerned This is something we fucked up in the sixties. We were fighting against cops and construction workers cops and construction workers were exactly who we fucking needed! They were the first to die, in Vietnam. We werent gonna!
Somebody at the White House press briefing has to sacrifice their job and say: You utter piece of shit! Do you really expect us to swallow that steaming load of horseshit? How do you live with yourself? You should be ashamed. Give me one guy to throw themselves on a fire like that, lose access, lose the gig at the White House, for that infinitely repeatable meme. Give me that. Just give me that. Someone to stand up.
On not being an artist
From the very beginning Ive always and only made the television I wanted to make, and as soon as I could I told whoever was involved to go fuck themselves, and somehow landed on my feet someplace else, with somebody who was willing to indulge me in even grander fashion. So I havent had to deal with the grim reality of well, you either do the Best Burgers in America show, or you have no work at all! I havent had to live with that. I havent had to be particularly nice to people I dont like. Ever.
We cannot choose the leaders of our revolutions, theyre all deeply flawed and they will all all revolutions will be corrupted
The minute everybody in the room agrees with you, youre in a bad place, so Im a big believer in change just for its own sake, just to show that you can change, to move forward incrementally, but aint nobody gonna make everything better. Whoever has the intestinal fortitude or the megalomaniac instincts sufficient to lead any kind of a revolution will inevitably disappoint horribly.
The best revolutionaries of course are martyrs who died before they could turn into disgusting, self-serving, corrupt pieces of shit. As they all do.
Asia [Argento] said this to me: children create themselves independently of us. All you can do is show, like in my case, my daughter feels loved. She knows shes loved. She has good self-esteem. Very important. And good martial arts skills. So she knows she can take any boy in her age group. Thats all I can do as a father I cant pick her music, her boyfriends, whatever, however shes going to turn out. I can give her these basic things.
On the imagined death of Harvey Weinstein
My theory of how he goes is uh, hes brushing his teeth in a bathroom, hes naked in his famous bathrobe, which is flapping open, hes holding his cell phone in one hand because you never know who on the Weinstein board has betrayed him recently, and hes brushing his teeth he suddenly gets a massive fucking stroke he stumbles backwards into the bathtub, where he finds himself um, with his robe open feet sticking out of the tub, and in his last moments of consciousness as he scrolls through his contacts list trying to figure out who he can call, who will actually answer the phone.
And he dies that way, knowing that no one will help him and that he is not looking his finest at time of death.Read More
As the shocking news of Anthony Bourdain’s death reverberated around the world, the world took to social media to remember the chef and TV personality, sharing memories and thoughts on the man who made such a large impact on his industry and beyond.
Bourdain rocketed to fame thanks to his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, an early excerpt of which appeared in a 1999 issue of The New Yorker. He later wrote several more books — and even a graphic novel — and his writing continued to appear in places like the New Yorker and the New York Times.
Television was also a welcome home for Bourdain, who hosted several travel food shows, most notably No Reservations and Parts Unknown, and was a frequent guest on food-related shows like Top Chef.
Through all of these works, Bourdain was, at times, brash and outspoken, the originator of the new wave of “celebrity chefs” that have dominated pop culture over the last decade-plus. But he was also authentic and vibrant, using his platform to bring a broadened sense of culinary and cultural experiences to the masses.
It was an amazing, expansive career, one that left a large imprint on millions, and the sadness of his death was felt by a wide swath of people who shared their feelings on his passing.
His girlfriend Asia Argento posted a statement on Thursday afternoon.
His partner on-screen, Eric Ripert, also shared a statement later on Friday afternoon.
Anthony was my best friend. An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous. One of the great storytellers who connected w so many. I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love & prayers are also w his family, friends and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/LbIeZK14ia
— Eric Ripert (@ericripert) June 8, 2018
And many big names were quick to share how he’d touched their lives — and them was former president Barack Obama, who shared a dinner with Bourdain in Vietnam while he was still president in 2016.
“Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him. pic.twitter.com/orEXIaEMZM
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 8, 2018
A piece of my heart is truly broken this morning. And the irony, the sad cruel irony is that the last year he’d never been happier. The rest of my heart aches for the 3 amazing women he left behind.
Tony was a symphony. I wish everyone could have seen all of him. A true friend.
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) June 8, 2018
Bourdain’s exceptional writing made this one formerly picky, fearful eater very brave and want to try everything and I’ll always be grateful for him and the worlds he opened
— 🇵🇷 Lin-Manuel Miranda 🏳️🌈 (@Lin_Manuel) June 8, 2018
Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food. Remember that help is a phone call away US:1-800-273-TALK UK: 116 123
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) June 8, 2018
I have to say I’m in total shock to hear that the amazing @Bourdain has just died 💔 he really broke the mould, pushed the culinary conversation, Rest in peace chef 👨🍳 🙏 thoughts and love to all his family and close friends xxxxxxxxxxx pic.twitter.com/HB7sV7CeRH
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) June 8, 2018
Maybe we all wanted to hang out with him. He was that cool, fun, frank, insightful. He introduced us to distant lands and to people with different traditions. And without ever preaching, he reminded us that we humans are far more alike than different. Thank you Anthony Bourdain pic.twitter.com/QMznx4JMhS
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) June 8, 2018
Just saw the sad news that Anthony Bourdain has died. I watched his show when I was in space. It made me feel more connected to the planet, its people and cultures and made my time there more palatable. He inspired me to see the world up close. #RIPAnthonyBourdain pic.twitter.com/Cb6IfmzylN
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 8, 2018
Anthony. One of my idols. Unapologetic, passionate and one of the best storytellers on the planet. Thank you for making food so exciting. And always standing up for everything right. Horrible. Why why why. Be at peace now 🙁
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) June 8, 2018
Heartbroken to hear about Tony Bourdain’s death. Unbearable for his family and girlfriend. Am going off twitter for a while
— Nigella Lawson (@Nigella_Lawson) June 8, 2018
Finally, this thread from artist Shivana Sookdeo explains why Bourdain meant so much to so many. Be sure to click through to read the entire thing.
I met Anthony Bourdain only once, while waiting in line at a food festival. Instead of hello he said “hey kid, you hungry?” and it was like I’d bumped into an old friend.
— shivana (to scale) (@toastasaurus) June 8, 2018
If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.Read More