How To Live, According To Anthony Bourdain 

Anthony Bourdain, who died yesterday at the age of 61, gave us bold wisdom on how to make a better burger, how to find good food in airports, and why it's OK order fish on Mondays.

Photo: Mike Pont/WireImage (Getty Images)

But above all, the man taught us how to live.

Here's what we've learned from the late chef about how to navigate the world, no matter what unique and glorious nook of it we may be in.

Show up on time.

"Show up on time. I learned this from the mentor who I call Bigfoot in Kitchen Confidential. If you didn't show up 15 minutes exactly before your shift - if you were 13 minutes early - you lost the shift, you were sent home. The second time you were fired.

"It is the basis of everything. I make all my major decisions on other people based on that. Give the people you work with or deal with or have relationships with the respect to show up at the time you said you were going to. And by that I mean, every day, always and forever. Always be on time. It is a simple demonstration of discipline, good work habits, and most importantly respect for other people.

"As an employee, it was a hugely important expression of respect, and as an employer, I quickly came to understand that there are two types of people in this world: There are the type of people who are going to live up to what they said they were going to do yesterday, and then there are people who are full of shit. And that's all you really need to know.

"If you can't be bothered to show up, why should anybody show up? It's just the end of the fucking world." (Men's Journal)

Be certain of nothing.

"A few years back, I got the words, 'I am certain of nothing' tattooed on my arm. It's what makes travel what it is, an endless learning curve, the joy of being wrong, of being confused." (Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown)

Screw sensibility.

"Who, after all, wants a 'sensible' relationship? 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 - that's the kind of shopkeeper mentality that got the world into a whole lot of shit back in the day. So, maybe, just maybe, fuck sensible." (Parts Unknown, Medium)

Write like no one's reading.

"The absolute certainty that no one was ever going to care about or buy or read Kitchen Confidential was what allowed me to write it. I didn't have to think about what people expected. I didn't care. As a result, I was able to write this book quickly and without tormenting myself." (Evan Carmichael, YouTube)

Don't overlook the oddballs.

"Create an esprit de corp, and a feeling that you are an elite, that even if you have the shittiest jobs within a large organisation, you should feel proud of the fact that you're part of something.

"Recognise excellence. Celebrate weirdness, and innovation. Oddballs should be cherished, if they can do something other people can't do." (Men's Journal)

Don't fake it.

"Don't put me in a kitchen and ask me to feign enthusiasm for a Denver fucking omelette." (Entrepreneur)

Be willing to stumble.

"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."

Acknowledge your weaknesses.

"I'm a big believer in momentum. As an ex-abuser of drugs, I'm not a person who should have any pleasurable interruptions. Inactivity, time for reflection - these are not good for me.

"I work a lot, do a lot of different things, but I think in some ways I'm overcompensating for the inner, hidden knowledge that somewhere deep inside me there's a lazy hippie waiting to get out, that if I'm given the opportunity, I'd lay down on the couch, turn on Adventure Time or The Simpsons, smoke a joint, and lay there for the next six months. If I go to work, I'm going to do things. I keep at them." (Fast Company)

Move.

"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."

If depression is affecting you or someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


Comments

    If you didn't show up 15 minutes exactly before your shift - if you were 13 minutes early - you lost the shift, you were sent home. The second time you were fired.

    Bigfoot was an arsehole.

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