Anthony Bourdain Day


By Sharon Schweitzer


“Southeast Asia has a real grip on me. From the very first time I went there, it was a fulfillment of my childhood fantasies of the way travel should be.” -Anthony Bourdain


Anthony Bourdain-chef and writer, traveled the world with humility, humanity, curiosity, humor, and with a rare vision for storytelling that turned his memoirs into bestselling classics and his television shows into acclaimed and beloved series, watched by millions, and consistently honored by his industry.

Through food, with food, or simply over a shared meal, his shows often centered around the cuisine of each place he visited, and seemed to always present an essential point for his viewers: the particularities and ingredients of any one culture always existed side by side with a global human recipe for good food, and good company. He often helped to furnish both.

“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”

Throughout his career, Bourdain traveled the world, but there was one place he couldn’t keep from coming back to time and time again – Japan. He was so inspired by the cuisine and the culture of the east asian island that he ended up visiting the country a total of 13 times to film for his various television shows. Quite possibly, he traveled there on other occasions, not related to his work. 

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

Bourdain was a big fan of street food, and he hoped to pour that passion into creating an ambitious project called Bourdain Market, which aimed to emulate a Singaporean hawker center, or food court, that offered a variety of food and drinks. 

Somewhere amidst his busy schedule, Bourdain also found the time to write crime thriller novels. He had a passion for story-telling, and he found the crime thriller book genre to be a perfect outlet for his fantasy narratives. The first of these books that he published was back in 1995, a story called Bone in the Throat, which saw him write about a chef experiencing the shadowy underworld of Little Italy.

Additionally, since childhood, he held a special love for all things related to comic books, going so far as to actually create a few of his own. Once his career success came, he was able to pursue this interest further, and ended up releasing three comics in his lifetime: Get Jiro!, Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi, and Hungry Ghosts. In these comics, his love of Japan was on full display

Just because he specialized in expensive fine dining, it didn’t mean he was comfortable with any level of food waste. Bourdain had a real issue with a growing problem, particularly once he learned about the shocking amount of food waste happening in homes across the country. A third of all consumable food was reportedly being wasted, which Bourdain rallied against, claiming that the kitchens he worked in would never throw away such a huge amount of produce.

He knew how to relate to his audience and vice versa, how to do storytelling, how to create fascinating and gripping content and deliver lovely outcomes over a can of beer or freshly prepared food item. He was so human that he also listened and not always talked about himself. It was quite easy to relate to him. He was an unlikely global ambassador. But he was the best ambassador.

Through his medium of food, Anthony Bourdain’s message made sense to Americans. He brought us into the lives of working class people; he taught us to respect the richness of their culture; he gave us reasons to care about them. He taught us that we are different, and yet in many ways, the same – and that those differences should be treasured and embraced.

The secret to his prosperity lay in his creative intelligence. Never had Bourdain ever produced visual content that was ever witnessed before. His work was individualistic, imaginative and authentic; the key elements that pave an entrepreneur’s path to success.


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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