Count on Anthony Bourdain to tell it like it is. The celebrity chef and travel host has recently called racism the issue that no one in the food world talks about, and goes on regular rants against Guy Fieri.
Now he’s sat down for an interview with Biography, and is candid about how his success has been very, very recent.
It wasn’t until you were in your 40s that you really enjoyed anything resembling conventional success. What was that like?
Oh, man, at the age of 44, I was standing in kitchens, not knowing what it was like to go to sleep without being in mortal terror. I was in horrible, endless, irrevocable debt. I had no health insurance. I didn’t pay my taxes. I couldn’t pay my rent. It was a nightmare, but it’s all been different for about 15 years. If it looks like my life is comfortable, well, that’s a very new thing for me.
It’s a pretty different universe for you these days, yes?
I don’t forget that, not for a second, ever. To climb a dune in the Egyptian desert and look out over the desert as the moon’s rising, surrounded by friends that I work with, a belly full of some food that no one outside that time zone ever gets to experience, that’s a “pinch me” moment for sure. It’s pretty damn awesome for a guy for whom brunch shift is a pretty recent memory.
So, if you’re in your late 20s and wondering how you can scrape together enough money this month to make rent, much less approach anything like career success, don’t be down on yourself and let Anthony Bourdain be your inspiration. The rest of the interview provides insight into how he finally found success, by overcoming drug addiction, writing a bestselling memoir, and then parlaying that into his current travel and writing gigs.