My Secret Life: Anthony Bourdain, chef and writer, 55

 

My parents were... middle class, aspirational, Mad Men-era Democrats who wanted the best for me. They were unusually adventurous about food.

The household I grew up in... A small Dutch colonial house on a tree-lined street in New Jersey. We had a nice back yard.

When I was a child I wanted to... be an underground cartoonist, like Robert Crumb. I was obsessed by the early underground cartoons like Zap – they were filthy and politically radical, and incredibly creative.

If I could change one thing about myself...I'd be able to play bass guitar like Bootsy Collins.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... locating lost Barbie shoes. Handling an AK-47. Flower arranging. Sketching still lifes. Basic first aid. Entertaining a four-year-old girl.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... dancing. Basketball. Karaoke. Remembering birthdays.

At night I dream of... Dick Cheney – in a nappy – being waterboarded.

I wish I'd never worn... a powder-blue Pierre Cardin suit in the Seventies. Other than that, I managed to make it through the decade with dignity intact.

What I see when I look in the mirror... Every fucking year of my life, written on my face. And I deserve every line and crease.

It's not fashionable but I like... cowboy boots. Always did. Always will. Also, Depeche Mode.

I drive... a BMW 5 series family car. It's my first car – of my whole life. At no point until a few years ago could I ever have afforded one. I'm giddy with ownership. And the thing's a beast on the road.

My house is... a rented apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Half seems filled with my daughter's toys, the other half with my wife's martial arts stuff.

My favourite building... The Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles.

A book that changed me... Orwell's essays. Hunter S Thompson's Fear and Loathing.

My secret crush is... Gong Li.

My greatest regret... I never did an apprenticeship in a truly great restaurant kitchen. As a result, I never got really good as a chef. I wonder what it would have been like to have apprenticed with a Michel Bras or Arzak. No serious regrets, though. Things have turned out pretty damned good.

My real-life villains... I guess Dick Cheney is about as repugnant a figure as one could conjure. But Ronald McDonald is probably worse for the world.

The person who really makes me laugh... AA Gill. Chris Rock. My wife.

The last time I cried... Shortly after the birth of my daughter. I was just watching her sleep; started bawling like a motherfucker...

My five-year plan... I plan to just keep on doing what I'm doing as long as I can get away with it; travelling, making television as creatively and as uncompromisingly as I can, writing.

My life in six words... "He wasn't such a bad bastard".

A life in brief

Anthony Bourdain was born in 1956. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. Bourdain was executive-chef at New York brasserie Les Halles, and has written numerous bestselling cookery books, crime novels, the candid memoir Kitchen Confidential and its follow-up, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. He fronts the TV shows Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. Bourdain lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?