• Anthony Bourdain: a great loss. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
"Walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food." Eat it all without fear or prejudice.
Belinda So

12 Jun 2018 - 4:15 PM  UPDATED 15 Nov 2018 - 9:52 AM

It's impossible to add to the mountain of tributes that have been penned, shared, 'grammed, tweeted and retweeted since we all learned of the death of Anthony Bourdain on Friday, so we'll let the words of the man himself do the heavy lifting in demonstrating why he meant so much to so many.

Here are some of our favourite musings from the man, the "teller of often unappetising truths".

On how his dad shaped the man that he came to be:

"He taught me early that the value of a dish is the pleasure it brings you; where you are sitting when you eat it — and who you are eating it with — are what really matter."

And the most important life lesson that his dad taught him was:

"Don't be a snob. It's something I will always at least aspire to — something that has allowed me to travel this world and eat all it has to offer without fear or prejudice. To experience joy, my father taught me, one has to leave oneself open to it."

On character:

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


On the power of food to connect with strangers:

“I don’t go in asking hard-news questions, but incredibly enough, again and again, just by sitting down with people over food and giving them a platform where I can listen to them, they say extraordinary things that can be very political in their implications.”

On the power of travel to connect with your soul:

"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. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often though, they hurt."

On walking (or swaying) in someone else's shoes to see their beauty:

"I asked the crew [filming Parts Unknown in Brazil] to shoot at hip level as much as possible, to move the cameras to convey the sense that, unique to Salvador, everybody is beautiful. Young, old, fat, thin, every hue and shade on an extraordinarily diverse color spectrum — absolutely everyone in Salvador is beautiful. Even ugly people are beautiful. Everybody seems likely to start dancing at any moment, and they often do."


On what it takes to achieve your dreams (aka cheese):

"You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.”

On believing in yourself:

“I should’ve died in my 20s. I became successful in my 40s. I became a dad in my 50s. I feel like I’ve stolen a car — a really nice car — and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But there’s been nothing yet.”

On how to do your job better, push others to do better, without being an asshole to everyone around you:

"I am brutal on directors. Not in a “Where’s my half-caff soy latte!?!” kind of a way, but in my expectations. I show up on time - all the time. I don’t need my ass kissed. I don’t throw tantrums. But I want my directors to show me something. Something new. Every time."

On how the best moments don't need to cost a fortune:

On the biggest, most important job of his life - fatherhood:

"I became a father at fifty years of age. That’s late, I know. But for me, it was just right. At no point previously had I been old enough, settled enough, or mature enough for this, the biggest and most important of jobs: the love and care of another human being.”


On teaching his daughter jiu-jitsu:

"She's been training jiu-jitsu since age 4. My soul duty as a parent and as a father, particularly raising a little girl who is going to grow up to be a young woman, is that she will never look to men for affirmation, or anyone else for affirmation or self-worth or be physically intimidated by anyone. My daughter spinning arm bars is a thing of envy - Ronda Rousy quality." 


On how to behave when faced with inhumanity:

"The world has visited many terrible things on the Palestinian people, none more shameful than robbing them of their basic humanity." Said in reference to when he was shooting an episode of Parts Unknown in the besieged Gaza Strip, learning to make the traditional Palestinian dish, maqloubeh, while spending time with Laila El-Haddad, and rocking her baby to sleep in the middle of filming.

On standing with the #MeToo movement:

"Right now, nothing else matters but women’s stories of what it’s like in the industry I have loved and celebrated for nearly 30 years — and our willingness, as human beings, citizens, men and women alike, to hear them out, fully, and in a way that other women can feel secure enough, and have faith enough that they, too, can tell their stories. We are clearly at a long overdue moment in history where everyone, good-hearted or not, will HAVE to look at themselves, the part they played in the past, the things they’ve seen, ignored, accepted as normal, or simply missed — and consider what side of history they want to be on in the future."

On being honest about screwing up and owning it:

"To the extent which my work in Kitchen Confidential celebrated or prolonged a culture that allowed the kind of grotesque behaviors we’re hearing about [Harvey Weinstein] all too frequently is something I think about daily, with real remorse." 

“Why was I not the sort of person, or why was I not seen as the sort of person, that these women could feel comfortable confiding in? I see this as a personal failing.”

On the transformative power of receiving love:

"You made me forget myself."


On having no regrets:

"Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world."


We'll miss you terribly, Anthony.


We hope you will tune in as Food Network pays tribute to the great chef and pioneer of food TV this Saturday  16 June and Sunday 17 June from 12pm.

If this article has raised issues for you or someone you know is in need of support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 467.

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You can watch Bourdain's charisma and rapscallion charm in No Reservations, now streaming via SBS On Demand: