The hundreds of letters and flowers that adorn NYC’s Brasserie Les Halles is just a small indication of the impact Anthony Bourdain left on the world. The pop-up memorial where the mega-famous chef once worked is filled with messages from mourning fans, and millions more took to social media to express their grief. But just as his sudden death touched so many people, so too did his life. Here are seven things Bourdain taught us about how to live a fulfilled life.
1. Indulgence is key
Bourdain made a name for himself for his wild food adventures around the world on his hit show “Parts Unknown.” You could always count on him to find the local delicacies and indulge in them all. "To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living,” he once said.
2. Travel often
Food and travel were likely Bourdain’s two greatest loves. Fans got swept up in his adventurous tales from across the globe, and the chef often urged others to follow in his footsteps. “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel,” he said. “As far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to.”
3. Cooking is essential
Especially in New York, it can be easy to order in food or eat out at one of the thousand restaurants outside your door. While Bourdain would do the same, he also believed it was essential to know how to cook. “I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue,” he said. “That the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill.”
4. Be kind
Sure, Bourdain had over-the-top adventures that created lifelong memories for himself and his fans. But it was something much simpler that stuck with him in the long run: watching people being kind to each other. “It’s those little human moments that are the ones that stick with you forever,” he said. “The random acts of kindness.”
5. Always be learning
The TV star was undoubtedly an expert on food, but he wasn’t an expert on everything and always welcomed the opportunity to learn something new. “Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity,” he said. “Perhaps wisdom is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
6. Embrace happy accidents
Just because you have a perfectly planned trip doesn’t mean it makes for the best memories. Bourdain was a big believer in winging it when it comes to travel. He said, “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.”
7. Be honest
For Bourdain, honesty was always the best policy. "Don't lie about it,” he said. “You made a mistake. Admit it and move on.” But there was one crucial he said we should all follow after admitting any wrongdoing. “Just don't do it again,” added the beloved chef. “Ever.”