No matter where he goes or what he says, Anthony Bourdain makes headlines.
In his most recent interview with The New Yorker, Bourdain delivered some famous Bourdain-isms and revealed many interesting facts from his personal history (and the history of his show) that even the most diehard fans may not know.
The profile prominently features Bourdain’s famous meeting with Barack Obama in Vietnam. For an episode of his CNN show, filmed and aired last year, Bourdain and Obama sat down for bun cha and bia hoi in Hanoi. It’s not the easiest dish to eat, and the former president looked to Bourdain for instruction.
“Dip and stir,” Bourdain counseled. “And get ready for the awesomeness.”
Obama loves off-road travel
During their meal, Obama recounted a story of eating fish and rice outside of Jakarta when he was a child. He talked about the “serendipity of travel, where you see something and it’s off the beaten path.” But then he also talked about the growing interconnectedness of the world, saying, “I don’t know if that place will still be there when my daughters are ready to travel. But I hope it is.”
Bourdain doesn’t do retakes
“We don’t want to manufacture a scene,” he said. “I’d rather miss the shot than have a bogus shot.”
Bourdain Market is coming
Even though it may seem like his long-awaited market at New York City’s Pier 57 will never open, Bourdain is in meetings and is making it happen. He is hoping to include an old-school butcher shop and authentic street food stalls from around the world (if they’re still able to acquire visas for foreigners). The vibe of the place? “Imagine a post-apocalyptic Grand Central Terminal, if it had been invaded by China,” Bourdain said.
Bourdain and his wife got matching tattoos on their second date
Bourdain was set up with his second wife, Ottavia Bourdain (then Busia), by Eric Ripert. She was a hostess at Ripert’s restaurant at the time. On their second date, the couple got matching tattoos of a chef’s knife. In August, the couple split up, citing distance in their marriage.
Bourdain tried for years to be a writer
He began sending manuscripts for stories to an editor of a downtown NYC magazine in 1985. He signed up for a writing workshop in 1990 after kicking his oft-recorded drug habit. His first novel was published in 1995 by Random House.
If there’s one person he can’t forgive, it’s Henry Kissinger
Bourdain is famous for being able to see gray areas in other people and make nice. After famously lampooning Emeril Lagasse, the two became—if not friends—at least friendly. At one point during the New Yorker interview, Bourdain brought up Henry Kissinger, saying, “I’m a big believer in moral gray areas, but when it comes to that guy, in my view he should not be able to eat at a restaurant in New York.”
When the interviewer replied that Bourdain has a history of condemning people and then eating lunch with them, Bourdain exclaimed, “Emeril didn’t bomb Cambodia!”
The full profile is available from The New Yorker.