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Anthony Bourdain Quotes

Anthony Michael Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain quotes: on death, dream jobs, downtime, travel, cooking, and more.

“The journey is part of the experience – an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent.”

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

“Luck is not a business model.”

“Recognize excellence.  Celebrate weirdness and innovation.  Oddballs should be cherished, if they can do something other people can’t do.”

“Excellence does have its rewards.”

“Without new ideas success can become stale.”

“Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, moribund.”

“Might it follow then that we shouldn’t aspire to live always by sensible choices?  That what is good for us in the short term is not always the ‘best’ way?  To live always by what’s right now in front of our faces and the imperatives of keeping things running smoothly for me and mine, good business, no problems?  So, maybe, just maybe, f*ck sensible.”

“Life is complicated.  It’s filled with nuance.  It’s unsatisfying.  If I believe in anything, it is doubt.  The root cause of all life’s problems is looking for a simple f*cking answer.”

“Under ‘Reasons for Leaving Last Job,’ never give the real reason, unless it’s money or ambition.”

“Assume the worst.  About everybody.  But don’t let this poisoned outlook affect your job performance.  Let it all roll off your back.  Ignore it.  Be amused by what you see and suspect.  Just because someone you work with is a miserable, treacherous, self-serving, capricious and corrupt asshole shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying their company, working with them or finding them entertaining.”

“There’s always this assumption that you’re going to get everything right immediately.  And any professional understands that that’s just not so.”

“We learn as professionals by repetition, by getting it wrong, getting yelled at, and doing it again.”

“I always entertain the notion that I’m wrong, or that I’ll have to revise my opinion.  Most of the time that feels good; sometimes it really hurts and is embarrassing.”

“Regret is something you’ve got to just live with, you can’t drink it away.  You can’t run away from it.  You can’t trick yourself out of it.  You’ve just got to own it.”

“Don’t lie about it.  You made a mistake.  Admit it and move on.  Just don’t do it again.”

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move.  As far as you can, as much as you can.  Across the ocean, or simply across the river.  The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody.  Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

“As you move through this life you leave marks behind, however small.  And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you.”

“In that sense, what a great way to live, if you could always do things that interest you, and do them with people who interest you.”

“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”

“I can unload my opinion on anybody at anytime.”

“One of my few virtues – I don’t have a lot of them – would be a deep sense of curiosity.  I’m interested in how other people live in other places; I’m interested in other cultures.”

“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.”

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be.  The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn.  Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity.  Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”

“I’m a big believer in winging it.  I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one.  Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.”

“But I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”

“I was an angry kid.  I was a happy dishwasher.  I jokingly say that I learned every important lesson, all the most important lessons of my life, as a dishwasher.”

“You know, from age 17 on, my paycheck was coming from cooking and working in kitchens.”

“An employer of mine back in the 80s was kind enough to take me on after a rough patch, and it made a big difference in my life that I knew I was the sort of person who showed up on time.  It’s a basic tell of character.”

“When my father passed, I was still an unsuccessful cook with a drug problem.  I was in my mid-30s, standing behind an oyster bar, cracking clams for a living when he died.  So, he never saw me complete a book or achieve anything of note.  I would have liked to have shared this with him.”

“Having been a chef for some many years, I understand what it’s like to work really, really hard to get good at something.”

“For me, the cooking life has been a long love affair, with moments both sublime and ridiculous.  But like a love affair, looking back you remember the happy times best – the things that drew you in, attracted you in the first place, the things that kept you coming back for more.”

“I go anywhere I want, do whatever I want when I get there, they let me make self-indulgent TV about that experience, and give me about as much creative freedom as anyone’s ever had in the history of television.”

“I’m a control freak.  If you’re going to slap my name on something, I would like to control it.”

“I’m not going to get off the pony as long as they let me ride it.”

“I have the best job in the world.  If I’m unhappy, it’s a failure of imagination.”

“I work with some of the finest people… to be able to go wherever I want, when I want, do what I want, and then tell stories about what I’ve experienced is an incredible privilege.  Who gets to do what I do?  And when you’re that damned lucky, how do you stop?  How do you ever get off the ride?  And why would you?”

“[On retirement] I gave up on that.  I’ve tried.  I just think I’m just too nervous, neurotic, driven.  I’m quite sure I can’t.  I’m going to pretty much die in the saddle.”

“I listen a lot to how people speak.  I’ve read a great many good books in my life.  I had some excellent English teachers.  Surely, those things were helpful.”

“I’m a pretty decent writer.  It comes easy to me.  I don’t agonize over sentences.  I write like I talk.  I try to make them good books.”

“I write quickly with a sense of urgency.  I don’t edit myself out of existence, meaning I’ll try to write 50 or 60 pages before I start rereading, revising, and editing.  That just helps with my confidence.”

“I just do the best I can and write something interesting, to tell stories in an interesting way and move forward from there.”

“If somebody crafts an interesting tweet that’ll lead me to their blog, I’m going to their blog.”

“I’ve been really fortunate in that I guess when I was hired to do A Cook’s Tour, I was already a known quantity, meaning I had written a really obnoxious book and nobody expected me to be anyone that I wasn’t already.”

“I assumed from the get-go that every minute I was on television was a freakish anomaly that would be over quickly.  It came as a sobering and confusing moment when I realized I was still on the air.  What the f*ck is going on?”

“Free time is my enemy.  I recognized early on I’m not a guy who should have a lot of time to contemplate the mysteries of the universe.  I need to stay busy.  That’s just the nature of my demons.”

“When I die, I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time.”

“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.”

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.  Enjoy the ride.”

Cory Johnson: your momma’s neighbor’s side chick’s last Uber Eats delivery guy’s third-favorite blogger. Here’s how he makes millions of dollars blogging without being bothered.